- Chapters from Starting & Sustaining
- Discounts from Starting & Sustaining
- Resources & Links
- Products, Services, & Tools
- Related Topics
Chapters from Starting & Sustaining
Use tools that speed you up
When you’re getting started, one of the best ways to save time is by using the tools you know. It’s important to maintain a modern tool set, but the latest shiny tools are no substitute for the ability to iterate and ship quickly.
Plan for icebergs
As you get started, you’re going to run into problems and challenges you either didn’t anticipate or severely underestimated. With SaaS, there’s a handful of seemingly simple things that might catch you off guard.
Focus on purposeful quality
With software, quality is priceless. If a specific feature is worth building, it’s worth building right. Cautiously consider every new feature, but once you commit, go all the way and build it right.
Design for iteration
As a small business, agility is a key strength. Your ability to quickly gather and act on customer feedback is a central advantage. Investing in tools and processes to help you iterate quickly and safely is always a good investment.
Consider the big picture of development
If you’ve never been responsible for the full stack of a web application development process, it can be overwhelming. Be sure to spend some time becoming familiar with all phases of the development and release management process.
Right-size your architecture
Premature optimization can often be a waste of time and money, but underinvesting in infrastructure can be just as costly. Find the right balance between making progress and unnecessarily holding back growth.
Make security a priority
Security is an ongoing and ever-changing challenge. There are experts who dedicate their lives to security, so how can you possibly keep your app secure? Use tools and automation as your first line of defense, and enlist experts once you can afford them.
Establish working backups
Backups aren’t a big deal until you need them. Unfortunately, by the time you need them, you may not have them. Whatever you do, don’t skip out on backups. Set them up and ensure they’re tested regularly so your business doesn’t become another example of what not to do.
Be strategic about integrations and APIs
No app is an island. Integrations will become a central piece of your development strategy, but it’s difficult to build them all. At first, it’s best to focus on only a few key integrations, and spend the majority of your integration time building an API and webhooks.
Launch day is really just the beginning of your journey, and once you launch, nothing is more important than getting back to work. Talk to customers, get feedback, and continue improving.
Make changes with confidence and empathy
Every time you make a change, it won’t be universally embraced by your customers. You’re rocking the boat, and it’s worth spending a little extra time to make the transition as seamless as possible.
Strategically maximize automation
Automation will be your friend, but only if it’s deployed strategically. Automating everything as soon as it’s annoying will be a distraction and prevent you from doing the work that matters. Make a plan for progressive automation and improve iteratively.
Make time for maintenance
You’re going to be overwhelmed with new work to do, but ignoring maintenance will take you to a bad place. Security updates, bug fixes, and recurring support requests will drown you in wasted time if you let them slide for too long.
Refactor first, rebuild as a last resort
If you let code quality slide, you’ll eventually face a decision between refactoring and rebuilding a portion of your application. Treat rebuilding as a last resort, and make sure you have good, measurable reasons for taking that route.
Discounts from Starting & Sustaining
These products and services include discounts when you purchase the full package of Starting & Sustaining.
dnsimple: $5 credit
Buy, connect, and operate your domains like a pro.
Honeybadger: Free for 3 months
Exception, uptime, and check-in monitoring for your application.
HTML Email: 30% off your order
Responsive HTML email templates for your application.
Linode: $20 of free credit
High performance SSD Linux servers for all of your infrastructure needs.
Postmark: $50 of free credit
Fast and reliable transactional email delivery
Sifter: 40% off for 12 months
Simple and approachable issue tracking.
Skylight: $50 credit
Performance profiling for Ruby and Rails applications.
Resources & Links
Software Quality Academy
I meticulously researched and documented the practices that help teams ship the highest quality software possible. If you’re ever unsure that quality is worth the investment, this should help.
No more yes. It’s either HELL YEAH! or no.
Derek Sivers provides a great framework within which to decide what to do and not to do. It’s just as relevant when deciding what to work on within your application.
Bootstrapped Startup Saves Over $100K By Dropping IE
Tyler Rooney of Format discusses how dropping support for Internet Explorer enabled his team to focus on delivering a superior experience.
Automate your development environment
The team at Thoughtbot has a wonderfully thorough playbook that includes a script to help setup a macOS laptop for web and mobile development.
Post-Deploy Smoke Tests
Nathaniel Talbott of Spreedly provides a simple example of post-deploy smoke tests and related notifications.
Products, Services, & Tools
Tired of missing or delayed emails? Postmark delivers your transactional email to cusotmers on time, every time.
Zero-instrumentation, 360 degree coverage of errors, outages and service degradation. Deploy with confidence and be your team’s devops hero.
All-in-one visual review platform. The new way to design, develop, and deliver software with confidence.
CircleCI allows teams to rapidly build quality projects, at scale. Its mission is to give people everywhere the power to build and deliver software at the speed of imagination. Automate your development process quickly, safely, and at scale.
Powerful image processing, simple API. Imgix transforms, optimizes, and intelligently caches your entire image library for fast websites and apps using simple and robust URL parameters.
Simple, efficient background processing for Ruby.
Let’s Encrypt is a free, automated, and open Certificate Authority.
Get automated code review for test coverage, complexity, duplication, security, style, and more.
Hound automatically comments on code quality and style issues, allowing you and your team to better review and maintain a clean codebase.
QuantifiedCode is a free, open-source platform for code analysis & automation.
Automated Testing Made Easy. Catch website bugs and regressions before they cost you.
Codeship is a fast and secure hosted Continuous Integration service that scales with your needs. It supports GitHub, Bitbucket, and Gitlab projects.
Postman Simplifies API Development. Get easy, API-First solutions with the industry’s only complete API Development Environment.
Apiary provides the leading API-First platform designed specifically to help companies accelerate and control the design, development and documentation.
GitHub is a development platform inspired by the way you work. From open source to business, you can host and review code, manage projects, and build software alongside 31 million developers.
GitLab is a single application for the entire software development lifecycle. From project planning and source code management to CI/CD, monitoring and security.
Bitbucket is more than just Git code management. Bitbucket gives teams one place to plan projects, collaborate on code, test, and deploy.
Daux.io is a documentation generator that uses a simple folder structure and Markdown files to create custom documentation on the fly.
Swagger open source and pro tools have helped millions of API developers, teams, and organizations deliver great APIs.
A fake SMTP server to test, view and share emails sent from the development and staging environments without spamming real customers.
Fast, highly available IP Geolocation API with reliable performance.
With IPinfo, you can pinpoint your users’ locations, customize their experiences, prevent fraud, ensure compliance, and so much more.
How should you choose vendors? How should you prioritize your work? What tools do you need?
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