Choosing the Right Platform (Part 1)

PublisherSol Minion Developmenthttps:https://assets.solminion.co/logo.svg?mtime=20200915165531&focal=nonePublishedcustom developmentweb appproject managementweb design

When it comes to technology, many clients ask me about the advantages of one platform over another. Often, they're focused on one platform or they read somewhere that one platform is better than the other. I'm here to dispel some of the myths and offer some advice on how to pick the best technologies to launch your next idea.

1. START SMALL, THINK BIG

I've mentioned it before, but you need to know where your customers are. As a general rule, Apple's iOS is the dominant mobile platform in most Western countries, but especially the United States. Android's dominance is indisputable when you examine global statistics. So, it's important to know who your target market is and what devices they prefer. Then make your initial release on the opposite platform. It seems counter-intuitive, but launching your next big idea on a platform with a smaller percentage of your customers lets you work out the kinks in your application before putting it in front of a wider audience.

2. OPEN SOURCE VS PROPRIETARY

Open Source has a lot of advantages, but it really should come down to your expert. If the expert you hire is better creating Web apps using Microsoft's .NET platform, then you should trust him or her. If you don't trust him or her to do it right, it might be time to rethink your choice of expert. Both proprietary and open source options have libraries available that will help speed up development, however it could end up costing a great deal more to obtain the library due to licensing fees if it's not open source (there are free licenses for proprietary platforms, too, but they are less common).

3. WEB SITE VS WEB APPLICATION

Believe it or not, there is a difference. A Web site is something that is generally static and probably runs a content management system, such as Joomla or Magento. The functionality is limited and the extensions (or plugins, if you're looking at a WordPress dashboard) available aren't always as versatile as you need them to be. A Web site is suited for the specific purpose of publishing content related to your company or discipline. If you're looking to provide a new service to customers, you're better off with a custom Web application that isn't limited by the narrowly defined features in a content management system and associated extensions. A Web application can grow as your business grows and offer a completely customized set of features unique to your business. If your challenge is with marketing, you don't need to spend the money on a custom Web application, an updated design and publishing compelling, unique content regularly is enough.

The short answer to the question "what's the best technology?" is that it comes down to your budget tolerance, your team's expertise, and what challenge you want to overcome. If you don't have a team yet, you should determine what your challenge is and talk to a few with different expertise (try to get specifics on the technology and platforms they use). They aren't experts in every technology, so they may not be aware of the extent of the capabilities of those they don't use. A good Web team will know their limits and when they aren't the right choice for your project.

In my next article, we'll talk about some different content management system choices available and advantages of each.