How to Build Web Apps Faster

Developing a web application can be a significant undertaking in time, especially if it’s intended to be a core part of the business – but there are ways to speed up the process. Here we discuss the latest technological solutions to building a custom web or cloud application more quickly using an accelerated environment.

How to Build Web Apps Faster Blueberry Consultants

There’s no standard for web application development. Because of this, developers often have to start from scratch, partly because the technologies used to build web applications change so quickly – making it harder for implementation toolkits to be developed – and partly because of the sheer complexity of modern apps. This also means some portion of the code has to be written again each time to add functionality that’s common to all apps.

The result is that building a web application takes time and has a level of uncertainty due to the hundreds of choices to make – which JS framework, which GUI toolkit, which CI system, and so on.

If anything, as modern software applications have become more complex due to market and security demands, so the amount of time taken to develop them has increased.

To address this, some companies have created products to cut the time to market by optimising for speed of development, ease of use and configurability. These products range from low code solutions to Rapid Application Development (RAD) frameworks. Provided the app requirement is straightforward, these products work relatively well and can be successful in reducing development time.

On the other hand, such tools are less successful if you need a complex business app with a high level of sophistication, or if you’re developing an app that you intend to sell (low code is proprietary, for example, usually owned by the platform vendor, which makes it harder). This is where it usually makes more sense to build the app from the ground up in a completely bespoke manner to get exactly the product that’s been specified.

However, there’s a solution for this scenario too – and that’s to use a base solution as the starting point from which to build the app. For development teams, starting from a base solution can be the ideal answer to saving time.

Base Solutions

Building on top of a platform that already contains most of the core functionality can make a huge difference to the speed of delivery, since the main requirements for most standard web solutions are similar and would already be in place.

In addition, some developers use their own base solutions – an in-house dev toolbox or platform, for example – to save time when building new systems.

In-house toolkits generally consist of three main components – a project template, a scaffolding engine, and common libraries. By utilising these pre-built components, it’s possible for development houses to deliver powerful bespoke web apps much more quickly than if the developer had to completely start from scratch.

In this blog post, we’re focusing on the platform we know works best for developing complex business web applications – Blueberry Web Template (BBWT); a mature platform which has been proven over many years to accelerate bespoke software development.

Unpacking BBWT

BBWT is a highly flexible development platform for building custom web and cloud applications in an accelerated time-frame, using powerful, well-supported, open-source core technologies: .NET Core, PrimeNG, Angular and a choice of SQL Server/Windows or MySQL/Linux.

In essence, BBWT is a collection of standard solutions to common problems faced by developers when building business web applications.

The core functionality of BBWT is well-designed and includes many advanced features that typically get added to major web projects when they are well down the line – rarely are these built into a brand-new app, because typically there’s not the time or resources. For example, user management, 2FA, SSO, file management, CSV Import and so on, are already coded in – if you need them.

The result is a modern approach to rapid application development, saving up to 30% in time since there’s no need to write code from scratch or waste time looking for possible miscalculations or bugs in the pre-built code.

If you think of building a web application as if you were building a house, then BBWT provides the initial foundations, plus quite a large chunk of the plumbing.

Importantly, there’s reduced risk of obsolescence, because BBWT is based on widely available programming languages and components to avoid the risk of lock-in, including Angular 9+, PrimeNG, Microsoft OData and MySQL.

These universal building blocks mean that any good developer, anywhere, can continue development work without risk of having to start over again.

BBWT Toolset

Modern web-applications are normally built on top of a stack of other technologies – such as “LAMP” (Linux-Apache-MySQL-PHP). BBWT is based on a set of popular, well-supported, open-source core technologies, which provides security confidence and scalability. These include:

Angular – for blazingly fast applications
For years, web systems have relied on the server to generate the HTML pages. The trend is to change this, so more of the application lives on the browser. Google Angular is a technology that makes this happen. The result is very fast and responsive applications.

PrimeNG – powerful GUI controls
To make powerful systems, we need powerful UI controls. PrimeNG provides a strong set of grids and menus which we’ve extended with additional features – such as advanced flexible searching.

MS Sync Framework for mobile forms
To be effective, modern web applications need to support offline use – which is very hard to do with standard development environments. Blueberry has integrated Microsoft’s Mobile sync framework into BBWT to support this requirement.

MySQL vs. MSSQL
Both MySQL and Microsoft SQL Server are widely used enterprise database systems. MySQL is an open-source relational database management system (RDBMS), while MSSQL Server is a Microsoft-developed RDBMS. As we’re using open-source Google technologies on the client, we mostly use MySQL to store your data.

Benefits of using BBWT

  • Developing a web application with BBWT is much faster – in some cases a matter of weeks – since a big chunk of the code that’s needed (basically the core of the app) is provided straight out of the box. The system allows the developer to combine these pre-written sections of code with new code for the app.
  • The end-user sees a usable, smooth, and intuitive application that lets them get things done quickly. Consistency and security are improved; quality is higher. The business gets what it actually asked for in its original requirements document.
  • BBWT is completely open, so developers can never hit a point where they cannot do what they need to do. Development is still completely bespoke; it aligns more closely with business objectives since developers have the freedom to innovate. Yet the learning curve is far shallower than it would be with proprietary systems and platforms, since most developers already know what they need to know to use it.
  • Developers can be hired based on their coding skills, according to the technology that underpins BBWT; they don’t need to know anything about BBWT itself, so the talent pool is potentially vast.
  • Once an application is deployed, BBWT captures a full audit history, so you can see changes to all records, by any user, time stamped with details of the actions they have taken. Your developers can pull this data through into the application or produce reports.

Real World Solutions

  • BBWT is ideal for creating a Minimal Viable Product quickly. For clients and investors who want to go from concept to a Minimal Viable Product as quickly as possible, BBWT is a ready-made answer to Rapid Application Development, with full ownership.
  • BBWT eliminates the uncertainty around which technologies to use to build the web application. There’s no need to make choices about the right JS framework, GUI toolkit, or CI system to use – BBWT makes considered choices for you, and then gives you pre-built solutions for 20+ of the biggest problems you’ll face. In this way, it resolves the inherent uncertainty in modern dev technology.
  • BBWT uses a set of popular, well-supported, open-source core technologies, which provides security confidence and scalability. This means no lock-in. Using tried and tested open-source tools throughout means BBWT is future-proof and can be handled by any dev who knows his stuff.
  • BBWT includes advanced features, so you can create powerful and intuitive web applications quickly, potentially taking months off your build schedule.

Summary

BBWT is an accelerated development platform which removes around a third of the code that needs to be written, saving several months in development time. This translates into lower up-front costs and quicker completion, ensuring delivery times are met and budgets remain on track.

Without BBWT, developers can waste a lot of time reinventing solutions that already exist, though rarely in any easily accessible way.

It also eliminates discussion over the best ways to design the application, since BBWT makes intuitive choices for you on the right technologies to use.

For clients and investors who want to go from concept to a Minimal Viable Product as quickly as possible, BBWT is a ready-made answer to accelerated application development.

You can find out more about BBWT Below.

Blueberry Web Template

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