Blog Post

A Template for Building Modern Web Apps


Raspal Chima -

Building a web app can be time-consuming, especially if it's a core business function. But there are ways to accelerate the process. Here we discuss our own template for building modern web apps.

Software development has always been hard work: the effort of getting the UI to behave just as the user wants can often seems quite unreasonable. Developers – who are problem-solvers at heart – have tried umpteen times to fix this.

Many developers turn to creating new programming languages – which is interesting but surprisingly ineffective (I don’t know of a programming language that makes creating programs 4x faster, for example!). In any case, modern development is more about UI construction than pure algorithmic coding and the language matters less when you’ve got 50 forms to build!


More effective are programming systems - or frameworks - which bring a large set of pre-written code to make things easier. But there are issues here too:  quite a few of the best frameworks use relatively obscure programming languages, which makes programmer recruitment difficult – there simply aren’t enough Ruby or Elixir programmers to go around. It’s very hard for a CTO to make a bet on these systems.

Another challenge is that some very good frameworks – such as Django and Laravel – are incompatible with one of the biggest trends in web development: Single Page Applications. To build an SPA web system with Django / Laravel, you need to add another whole framework – React or Angular – which replaces all the UI. Frankly this is a bit like buying a car and switching the engine out – it’s just daft.

Blueberry Web Template

Blueberry’s solution to this problem is Blueberry Web Template (BBWT) – it’s literally a template web-application with large useful parts pre-developed. BBWT is unique in several ways:

  • It’s aimed specifically at solving the problems faced by business applications, such as managing user permissions and supporting SSO. Most other frameworks work at a lower level, so they contribute less to the final system.
  • It includes both the back end and the front end (UI) code in one package. Other popular systems either need a new SPA front end, or deliberately only do one side – leaving the other side to be coded.  
  • It’s been designed in conjunction with developers. A recent new hire was really taken aback by how quickly he could create forms in BBWT3 (our latest iteration of BBWT).

But what I think is most interesting about BBWT is this: it’s boring, and this is good.

When a customer asks us to get their vital new business system online in three months, we can’t sit around carefully perfecting the details. We rely on the dedicated BBWT team who have literally spent years getting the details right. Making sure that you can’t break the app by logging in twice in the same browser. Delivering reasonable responsiveness out of the box. Implementing quality-enhancing features like user impersonation – so a support user can impersonate a customer to help them.

I think we don’t really need rock-star developers creating yet another programming language. We need an army of dedicated developers doing yet more boring work to keep things simple!

The bottom line is that BBWT can save a lot of time and effort, especially for startups and small businesses needing a Minimal Viable Product (MVP) quickly.

If you’re interested in a web app for your business, contact us today.

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