Sometimes having a lot of choices is not so good. The number of web development platforms has actually made things just a bit harder! With so many high-quality platforms available today, how do we decide on one? What makes one platform better or more suitable than others?
For small businesses, this criteria is important. Unlike a big business with substantial funds, a small business can ill afford to make wrong choices. Most small businesses today run on a very strict budget, which limits the scope to learn from mistakes. A website or app with its reach and potential is too important to ignore and this is what makes the choice of web development platform so important.
Sure, you can write your own code from scratch, but this is a time-consuming process and one error can set you back. A framework gives you the basics in place. At least some of your must-haves — such as authentication, session management — are already covered.
But that brings us back to our original problem. How do we decide on the framework for our web development platform? You can’t really just run a survey of who’s using which one because each developer and business has its own requirement and to each his own. So what’s good for X may not really suit Y. Instead, you start with the basics — doing your own research. Here are the factors that can help you decide:
Decide if you need a framework
Yes, we’ve said this before. You can start from scratch. But there are other criteria as well. If you just need a URL that sounds good but does not really need the handy features, if you need it yesterday or if all you are looking for is one specific feature, you can avoid the decision on a framework. But if you need anything a bit more nuanced and do not have the hours of coding, authentication or sessions it will require, go for a framework!
Ease of installation:
Here’s where complications can really screw up your day (and your hard work). There are frameworks that seem to work great with loads of features, but need a hundred rounds at installation. Even when it’s ready and tested, deployment can get messy. Which brings us to the frameworks that can make your life easy with an easy instalment, as easy as getting your configuration file right! When manpower is limited and time is short, the choice is a no-brainer.
Ease of use:
With limited resources, you need a framework that is easy for you to use. Every framework has its own structure and rules. Some may be based on the common conventional methods, while some may have their own unique structure. Some may give you a lot of leeways, while some have a rigid structure. You must choose the framework you are more comfortable with. A new framework will mean some learning. So, minimizing this step can only help you. While you are doing that, keep the language in mind as well. You don’t want to choose a framework for its easy structure only to decide you have to learn a new language as well.
Core library and documentation:
Most people make a choice based on the library. After all, this is why you are going for a framework in the first place. But not everyone is looking for the same things. Some people may need a specific feature, while some may want a feature-laden library. Another option here is to go for a framework that gives some flexibility in libraries. But it is not just the features you are looking for. You also need some good documentation to go with it, particularly, a user manual and code snippets. This will help you out when you get stuck.
Some java application development platforms allow commercial usage, while some need licensing. Given a limited budget, this could be the deciding factor. Do not forget to check licensing for plug-ins as well.
Compatibility with mobile OS:
Mobile is the future. Even today mobile users trump desktop or tabs by thousands. This comparatively cheaper medium is also a critical platform for small business for their reach and ease of use. So, it’s important that the framework you choose is compatible with the most commonly used OS, the Android, Windows and iOS. It should also be the latest version, easy to update.
Don’t let the template limit you:
No one denies the convenience of a template. It’s a readymade structure which you know will work. But take it as a springboard for you to work in all the elements you need. So, it’s also important that you choose a platform with flexibility in templates.
This is the most important aspect. No matter how full of cool features it is, your website/app will be of no use if it needs a manual to use. Any platform that cannot give you that must be binned!