Innovative Technology Blog
A collection of articles for enterprises & startups to keep innovative technologies, trends & tips under the radar.
How Much Does It Cost to Customize a Car Interior Using WebGL like Renault?
WebGL is a technology that opens a doorway for web browsing and navigation based on virtual 3D reality experiences. This blog will focus on the practical aspects of using WebGL in the automotive industry. Specifically, for 3D model interior design and customization.
Prospects of Modern 3D Web Applications
The world wide web is ever-changing. It has made its way from a repository of static content to an interactive environment providing realistic experiences. 3D software has been playing a key role in this process.
Using WebGL, the set of technologies for displaying 3D graphics in a browser, 3D web apps are the main driving force behind Web 3.0. These technologies also power WebXR, a unified standard for extended and virtual reality on the web.
Learn all about Web 3.0 and how it can benefit your brand
Soon, these technologies will help us create web environments where users can communicate using VR headsets and AR devices, as well as create, customize and share immersive experiences. Using WebGL, the 3D virtual space will enable customers to talk, play, study and shop in an entirely new way.
Developing 3D Applications with WebGL
If we had to come up with a brief definition of WebGL it would be “using a programming language to draw objects in a browser”. The technology uses the rendering capacities of the clients’ GPU to generate graphics.
There are a variety of libraries and frameworks available for building WebGL 3D apps. WebGL tools offer ready-made elements to speed up the development process, eliminate errors, and ensure fast time-to-market.
Industries like e-learning, healthcare, entertainment, gaming, design, and others that require complex visualizations use WebGL 3D. The next section explores the benefits that WebGL animations and real-time 3D visualization bring to the automotive sector.
The Benefits of 3D Graphics for the Automotive Industry
A while ago, 3D designs were used mainly to create sleek and attractive models of car exteriors. Recently, though, the applications of 3D product modeling have extended to include:
- Design of automotive components, including custom car accessories which are conceptualized before production;
- Car interior design, enabling users to customize any car online;
- General prototyping, allowing manufacturers to conceptualize complete 3D vehicle design before launching it into production.
The conceptualization helps manufacturers in several ways:
- Minimizing expenses
Visualizing a car part, an interior, or a complete prototype in advance helps avoid inaccuracies and errors. Therefore, allowing car manufacturers to reduce expenses.
- Accelerating prototyping and design
Using 3D vehicle design tools you can reduce the number of iterations at the design stage. This allows you to come up with the final prototype faster than competitors.
- Facilitating creativity and innovation
The capability to customize any car online enables teams to quickly visualize new design ideas and test them for viability before investing in manufacturing.
All that looks good on paper. So, let’s take a close look at how renowned car manufacturers are using 3D product modeling to design car interiors.
Top Immersive Examples of Using WebGL to Showcase Car Interiors
These days, car manufacturers use the WebGL technology to provide clients with a customizable 3D car interior view before the car goes into production
In 2020, the French car manufacturer Renault announced the launch of its brand new Renault Morphoz 3D. The electric vehicle is capable of shifting its shape to fit the customers’ needs, preferences, and tastes.
The model has won instant recognition for its advanced customization capabilities and unconventional interior design. The design work was 95% digital, carried out with a 3D car configurator and VR technology.
Recently, Renault has gone even further and unveiled its digital Renault configurator – a web-based software tool that allows users to fully customize Renault cars to their unique preferences.
The Japanese automotive giant has launched a WebGL interactive 3D configurator as an addition to its brand new Mazda 3 model. The 3D configurations include engine, livery, furnishing, and special equipment.
The 3D car viewer also includes a 380-degree view of the interior and enables customers to customize the seat covers and stitchings. The suite enables clients to fully customize the car, including the tiniest details, and see how the price will change depending on the options they select.
Another Japanese car manufacturer, Nissan, also offers a 3D car customizer available online. The tool enables customers to configure a range of Nissan models, such as Micra, Juke, Leaf, and Qashqai.
After choosing a model, users get to select the type of the vehicle, colors, interior upholstery, and wheel types.
The customers may then save all their choices in their Personal Showroom for further examination and view the complete WebGL models that they have assembled at any time.
The Chevrolet 2020 Corvette Stingray model comes with an online 3D car configurator available at chevrolet.com. The interactive tool enables customers to paint the 3D models in different colors, and choose seats, wheels as well as other interior and exterior settings. Customers can also access a full 380-degree view of their custom 3D model, and share their design on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter.
If you’re impressed and inspired by the examples above, and want to create an immersive car interior, the tips below should help you decide on your further course of action.
3 Steps Towards Creating an Immersive 3D Car Interior Experience
Just like any project, building a state-of-the-art WebGL demo, which enables users to customize car interiors while recreating car modeling software experiences, is done in three logical stages:
#1. Brainstorming a concept
First, stakeholders together with the technical partner, define the specifications for the project. This step requires in-depth competitor analysis and an outline of each step of the customer journey. Ultimately, you should have your product specifications and requirements meticulously laid out.
#2. Deciding on a technology stack
The project specifications, in its turn, will dictate the budget and the choice of technologies. Your team’s skillset will also play an important part in choosing the technologies for creating an immersive car interior. The best 3D design software as well as the existing car modeling software will not necessarily be the best fit for the project in question.
#3. Designing and implementing the end product
After you design the product prototype, it should undergo testing for user acceptance, the collection of feedback, and the final integration of changes. Ideally, you should integrate testing into every stage of the product development process. At Visartech, we are ready to help you with full-stack product development and render product support services after your solution is complete.
5 Key Features of a WebGL-Powered Car Interior
Without a doubt, your real-time 3D visualization of a car interior should stand out. However, there are some golden standard characteristics of a WebGL website that features an interactive customizable car interior.
#1. 360° View Using a Gyroscope
A gyroscope is a sensor for capturing objects in angular motion. The gyroscope support will enable customers to get a more realistic feel of their experience during a speak-peak inside the car.
To enable a gyroscope sensor, your website should have an SSL security certificate and start with https://. Users should also be able to disable a gyroscope mode.
#2. Switching the Camera Position to Different Seats
This option will enable customers to experience what it feels like to be inside a car from a different passenger’s view. It also accounts for the creation of a more precise and realistic presence effect.
#3. Changing the Seat and Dashboard Trim Textures
This feature enables customers to choose different upholstery and trims for the car interior, helping users customize it to their preferences.
#4. Interactive Elements
Interactivity is, essentially, the responsiveness of software to users’ actions. A dashboard showing car price fluctuations depending on a user’s choice of engine, wheels, or upholstery type is an example of an interactive element.
#5. Transparent and Native UI
Enabling users to switch between native and transparent UI is essential given the growing number of customers using WebGL applications from mobile devices. Transparent, yet fully functional UI will allow them to get a better view of the car interior.
The Core WebGL Libraries Allowing to Create 3D Web Solutions
The growing interest in WebGL resulted in a wide range of libraries and WebGL frameworks. These tools help developers speed up the creation of WebGL applications and websites. Some work as comprehensive solutions while others simplify specific operations.
PlayCanvas and Unity are two examples of powerful tools, as these aren’t just libraries but full-blown engines. Both are excellent for building immersive experiences. However, PlayCanvas takes the spotlight. It is a web-first engine, which ensures fast load times and incredible performance on mobile devices. Finally, PlayCanvas is considered to be the most advanced WebGL authoring environment available.
Check the full list and detailed description of WebGL libraries
Visartech works with a vast variety of WebGL technologies, including PlayCanvas, Unity, A-Frame, Three.js, Babylon.js, etc. Make sure to check out WebGL examples in our portfolio.
How Much Does It Cost to Create a WebGL-Based Car Interior Like Renault?
The cost of a WebGL car interior depends on several factors. First and most important is the concept which, in its turn, defines the scope of tasks and project timeline. To put this into perspective, let’s imagine that one needs a custom model that gives users an experience of the real feel of the car interior. The solution must be web-based and adaptive to mobile devices and built from scratch.
The scope of tasks and time estimate to complete each task looks something like this:
|Task||Pessimistic Time Estimate, hours||Optimistic Time Estimate, hours|
|Phase 1: Create a normal map|
|Create a model with normal maps||56||80|
|Phase 2: Set up assets|
|Implement and set up assets||8||16|
|Prepare scene and setup light||8||12|
|Set up colors for assets||16||24|
|Phase 3: Build the 3D configurator|
|Develop a module to rotate the 3D model||16||24|
|Develop a color-changing feature||8||12|
Phases one and two are executed by a Tech Artist Team to create a 3D model, and phase three requires a WebGL Dev Team to create a web module in which this model will be embedded.
So, building a 3D interactive car interior from scratch can take 3-5 weeks. How much will it cost then? Here’s a list of the hourly rate ranges for software development across regions:
- North America: $80-150
- Australia: $80-120
- Western Europe: $70-130
- Eastern Europe: $35-65
- Asia: $20-55
However, the average rates can differ from the actual price, here’s why:
- The rates depend on the location. For instance, in the US, hourly rates differ from state to state and can vary from $80-150.
- The price depends on the level of experience you’re expecting from the team. Naturally, teams that have a majority of middle and senior experts charge higher rates.
Let’s take the minimum rate of $80 per hour in North America. The approximate budget you need to build a 3D constructor and an immersive car interior varies from $8,960 (optimistic) to $13,440 (pessimistic).
As you can see, car companies are actively using WebGL to present customizable 3D car models to their customers and not only. Car purchasing trends have undergone massive shifts since 2020. According to a 2021 CDK Global survey, almost 70% of shoppers were willing to start buying cars online. Presenting customizable 3D car models through a web browser is an excellent way to drive sales.
Other than that, using WebGL to let customers choose and visualize the car interior online can help your automotive business keep up with the trends and gain a competitive edge....
What Is Metaverse and How Businesses Can Benefit From It
Widely-discussed, metaverse capacities are encouraging more and more businesses to embrace virtual world solutions. Digital products along with virtual brands’ presence seem to be really appealing and worthwhile since the world is just willing to experience a groundbreaking era with 3D environments.
So what exactly is the metaverse? Let’s take a closer look and explore how it can take business products and services to the next level.
What Does Metaverse Mean?
Metaverse is a virtual space that merges physical and digital worlds where users interact through 3D avatars. It’s a virtual platform supplemented by a number of interactive & 3D technologies that provide users with completely immersive experiences.
However, is it really a business opportunity? Let’s define the metaverse by studying its vivid examples.
One of the most known examples of metaverse creation was in September 2021, the former Facebook named Meta and thus announced adopting its own metaverse and extending social media to a brand new level. Meta itself defines this as “the next evolution of social connection”. The purpose of name changing was to adapt to the shift in further Digital World development, as well as to boost social interaction or future.
In very simple words, for ex-Facebook, the own metaverse is to be built and gathered up with the help of Virtual reality (VR), Augmented Reality (AR), and numerous smart devices, such as Google Glasses. So to enter the metaverse, one would need some bulky virtual glasses. This is just one of the most notable examples of how globe-known companies create their own metaverse for their businesses.
World-famous entrepreneurs define the metaverse as follows:
Mark Zuckerberg stated that this transformation will define the new internet itself. The World Economic Forum, however, extends further and defines the metaverse as a three-dimensional structural notion in terms of place, moment, and product (service), which is more relevant to the world economy. The place can be understood as a metaverse network that allows people to interact globally. The service/product reflects the meaning of interconnectability, whereas the moment is about the time people spent in digital world.
It is important to understand that the notion of metaverse relates not only to social media as with an example of Meta but much further. In our turn, we suggest defining every aspect of this brand new notion of virtual world-building in a bit more detail and having metaverse explained further.
Metaverse and Its Core Features
The main features of the virtual reality metaverse are all about digital ownership, extended digital presence, state-of-the-art technologies, and just endless ways of providing business products and services in 3D space.
Naturally, the metaverse is tightly connected with technological opportunities. Therefore by having metaverse, previously futuristic things such as teleporting or avatars are no longer something distant.
So the main features of metaverse include:
With regard to the metaverse, real-time persistency is about virtual reality and having new, extended metaverse experiences there. For example, by playing games, watching films, or getting in touch with other people. Thus, one of the core features of the newly emerged metaverse is to allow those experiences to be met in real-time. Yet, digitally on a higher level than ever before.
It is more about an environment rather than sole characteristics. Interoperability of metaverse is the capacity to move away from the simple virtual ecosystem towards a more cohesive environment. And when we mention the environment, we mean technical capacities and technical infrastructure, e.g., hardware and software, which is used for digital assets transfer.
The aim of Interoperability is to blur the line between the physical and metaverse world. It serves the purpose of integrating all the aspects related to it. Interoperability enables the continuation of multiple metaverses, as well as economies and assets therein, or multiple activities, for example developing businesses and trade. Thus, this feature helps to create interconnected projects, metaverses, and assets that can be moved elsewhere, so that the newly created metaverse system would run smoothly. One of the most useful examples is blockchain technology, which we will refer to hereunder.
Digital Metaverse Avatars
For representing themselves there, people can widely apply customized digital avatars. They have been in use as of 80’ by representing the users on the computer screens. So, this is not something brand new. It’s just nowadays, in the metaverse, avatars are enhanced with the help of virtual reality. They may be as customized or realistic as the technology only allows. To be more precise, 3D metaverse avatars may provide users with a digital presence at events and gatherings. Generally, they provide a 3D participation in anything, just digitally within the metaverse space.
Metaverse Home Space
Home space is another core feature. It is about a metaverse property, perhaps even a possibility to create a dream home there. However, the difference with the notion of property we used to have is in the inner decorations. In this case, they are virtually designed and chosen from the Non-Fungible Tokens (NFT) that confirm their ownership of 3D items.
With metaverse home space, we will be able to plan and design virtual goods, gather digital assets, and invite guests. As a feature, it is also about spaces for working, gaming, and entertainment.
Unbelievably, but can it even be possible? As the ambitious next big tech thing of the nearest future, it aims to deliver teleporting into real use. In this case, this feature is driven by augmented reality in addition to having about-to-be real experiences. For example, with the help of teleporting, one can visit real-world locations, like a museum or exhibition.
How exactly can one be teleported into the metaverse? As simple as that, metaverse suggests we do it with teleporting tools and devices, as well as a 360 camera. In this case, teleporting is carried out with the help of digital gateways that lead us to various locations and provide us with a 3D experience to visit any location. Aren’t these metaverse experiences wonderful? Especially for those users, who have faced some strict social restrictions during pandemics, or any other circumstances. It’s a truly precious business opportunity to help customers keep on discovering the world and visit its most prominent places.
Privacy and Safety
Data sharing and privacy are some of the most topical discussions, especially when we are still in the pre-metaverse state. To connect lives in the metaverse, a set of structured privacy rules is required.
In the meantime, the metaverse is aimed at giving people and users the whole control and responsibility for their data and privacy. The most distinctive feature of the metaverse and its positive impact is that users will have complete data protection.
Virtual Goods and Markets
Within our increasing metaverse world, there will be naturally virtual goods. It is transforming how we interact, live, buy and sell. Thanks to immersive metaverse technologies businesses can deliver digital items or create their virtual shops, banks, galleries, malls, etc. Thus companies could provide services and keep their business community in 3D space.
Natural interfaces’ main goal is to enhance the most convenient and natural interaction. For instance, it refers to voice recognition and the ability to use objects with hands. It is expected that natural interfaces will immensely influence UX/UI for their more extensive usage in the metaverse. The key is to enable interaction on a level never seen before and to do it not only for visual objects/assets but for actual virtual touching in the same way or even better than ever.
Metaverse vs. Web 3.0
Web 3.0 is a three-dimensional world that enhances the immersive experiences of the metaverse. As an example of Web 2.0 (or what we have now), we can name the world-known game Roblox (metaverse game) or Warcraft (persistent online role-playing worlds). Whereas the new generation of Web 3.0 games are decentralized and crypto-fuelled, using the approach of play-to-earn.
Nowadays the dimension of the Internet is completely democratized and decentralized. Metaverse is enhancing it by the type of content we produce digitally. In its turn, the emerging Web 3.0 will contribute to the metaverse’s openness and interconnectability.
Being decentralized and powered by blockchain, Web 3.0 is to be accessible everywhere. That means everyone can use it at any place with full control over privacy and their data.
4 Technologies Powering Metaverse
Businesses are to use innovative technologies to boost their metaverse development. Technologies for metaverse are the unique combinations of virtual assets, devices, and improved security. That results in the unique mechanisms of human interaction.
The very metaverse technologies consist of:
Augmented and virtual reality is inevitable tech tools of metaverse. These technologies are aimed at creating an environment that brings virtual interaction and collaboration to a higher level.
They assist in creating and building real-life experiences. Thus AR enables users to have embedded virtual objects in the real physical world. Meanwhile, VR provides immersive experiences with enhanced 3D graphics.
Read more: Interactive 2D/3D Graphics for Web Projects
Discover WebGL capabilities your business can benefit from
#2. 3D Modeling
This feature can improve the actual design of objects and assets, as well as create an atmosphere and realistic experiences. This way physical objects might be able to have an extension in the metaverse world.
Probably, 3D modeling will be the next generation of digital twins – a smart technology, which is currently on the rise. However, in the case of 3D modeling, it will not be just a replication, it will be more about the actual ability to create something new and unique within the metaverse.
With regard to NFT, it is also one of the components of the metaverse. Non-fungible tokens are so-called certificates that verify ownership of digital assets that exist on the blockchain. These assets can be even in the capacity of real estate, for example, or boost the marketing of any digital products and represent them there.
NFT will keep digital avatars and any digital objects as unique digital assets. Ownership can be transferred or sold within the metaverse.
Basically, the virtual world environment is fuelled and running with the help of blockchain. Decentralized technology provides digital verification of ownership, value transfer, governance, accessibility, and interoperability. It also assists in securing ownership of the virtual real estate and digital assets through NFTs.
The metaverse ecosystems powered by blockchain will be safer and more transparent delivering the best conditions for investment and growth.
How Can Businesses Benefit From Metaverse?
Metaverse comes across as the next evolutionary step. It is supposed to positively contribute to the way business evolves and interacts with customers. Moreover, lots of companies are already seeking the best ways to enter the virtual world. Meanwhile, others have created the first metaverse solutions in their industries. Such a fast-moving pace of the metaverse market can exceed all expectations and rise to 678.8 billion U.S. dollars by 2030.
Because metaverse is boosted with Web 3.0, it is going to be opened and decentralized. It will improve access to the markets globally, thus, increasing the opportunities for business to successfully shape their future. This time, the business will indeed become cross-border and global. As a result, they will be growing by providing unique solutions and having better access to the markets.
Overall, we can define the following metaverse advantages businesses can benefit from:
- Great opportunity to make an investment and profits
- Enormous pool for business ideas implementation
- Riding on the top of the evolution wave and being able to shape the future
- Reaching a global market to a new level
- Improved and enhanced working conditions as never before
- Getting technological advancement, as well as improved interaction with customers or audience
How to Develop Your Own Metaverse?
There are few metaverse platforms to create metaverse rooms or spaces for interaction. Namely, Roblox, Decentraland, The Sandbox, etc. They serve to help us participate in virtual communities, metaverse events, or games.
However, we are not able to get more of that and create something of our own. For instance, virtual e-learning marketplaces, networking platforms, shops, galleries, etc.
Let’s find out what are the steps to create your own metaverse!
- Define the Concept
The idea behind is to understand all the conceptual aspects of own metaverse creation and its usage. For example, a virtual marketplace, or an interactive platform for remote collaboration. It’s limited to your imagination only, as well as achieving your business goals. Perhaps, you might like to create a game with its own metaverse and NFTs.
- Choose a Software Development Partner
In order to get the technical part done, one would need to choose a software development partner. There’s a necessity when a coding solution has to be developed to define a Minimum Viable Product (MVP), UX/UI solution, as well as beta testing. A professional team with proven virtual world development experience is required.
- Create an MVP
MVP refers to a Minimum Viable Product. Essentially it means that it is a product or service with minimum functionality (not to be mixed with ‘simple’) but is valuable for users to be attractive to them. It is normally used to collect opinions and test them to develop further. This feature is useful for startups and those businesses that use agile production and project development, as it saves time and effort. For that, there are several substeps to be done:
- develop a business need or idea, which refers to the market research to find out a value for customers
- defining a vision of the product or service, gathering resources for that
- design and core features
- creation and testing
The capacity of metaverse provides an enormous business opportunity to deliver products and services. Defining MVP is essential to embrace that potential.
- Work on UX / UI Design
UX/UI Design is serving as an extension to the interface interaction we would normally use now. In the case of developing metaverse, there has to be a special user interface developed in its upgraded version. The work on UX/UI is an integral part of the metaverse, it is aimed at making enhanced and improved designs. Later on, UX/UI can be applied to the end product.
- Develop Your Metaverse Solution
The coding stage is a step necessary to develop and apply back-end and front-end solutions to the metaverse. For example, it can be integrated with other metaverse projects. The process of code creation and writing is done in blocks.
Check out the comprehensive guide on app development cost
- Make Beta Testing
This step is done by Quality Assurance specialists. Their task is to be sure that everything created under the metaverse project corresponds to the announced functionality, usability, and other necessary requirements.
- Deploy and Release
Once everything is tested properly, the virtual world or digital metaverse services are ready to be released. Then end-users can dive into the immersive 3D world.
- Analyze & Upgrade
Normally, any product or service requires an after-sales update after deployment. The same goes with metaverse. New versions are being developed according to the reviews or anything that might come up while using it, especially if it is a customized metaverse solution.
How Much Does It Cost to Create Your Own Metaverse?
As virtual metaverse platforms have skyrocketed lately, the question regarding their development cost is arising. The metaverse price entirely depends on a number of aspects, including your business goals.
To determine the cost of your virtual world project, the following metaverse development factors influencing its cost should be considered:
- the development team structure and expertise;
- chosen tech stack for creating a metaverse world;
- the type of selected platform (mobile or standalone);
- the geographic location of the development team.
Generally, any app development cost is influenced by the number of hours that the team spends for the particular platform development multiplied by the hourly rate of their specialists. The professional expertise rate might vary from $50 to $120 per hour.
To get a comprehensive picture of metaverse cost, let’s consider the main development stages and features of 3D environment platforms in detail.
Basically, the development of a metaverse MVP involves the following:
Consequently, the development of MVP metaverse features might take from 698 to 1044 hours. If you take the average rates of $50-120 per hour, the development cost of such a metaverse platform will be from $48,350 to $116,040.
The virtual world can be complemented by other metaverse features such as a presentation board, admin analytics, and event management. That also affects the final metaverse development cost.
What is the structure of an app development team that can create a metaverse platform?
Optimally, the engineering staff that assists in developing metaverse is led by the Project Manager. To get the virtual world platform as close to flawless as possible QA Engineers are to test the metaverse solution, and check its performance, security, and usability. The rest is grouped under several development teams.
RD and Doc Team:
- Business Analyst
- Web Designer
- Level Designer
- React Lead
- React Developer
Unity Dev Team:
- Unity Tech Artist
Surely, every metaverse project is unique therefore the number of key roles required might be different. Still, this estimation provides a general understanding of metaverse development cost along with the app development team needed.
Metaverse is an outstanding way for businesses to provide services and interact with customers. Virtual worlds assist in crafting engaging experiences and digital items. Thus businesses keep their presence in both real and 3D worlds.
The metaverse opportunities are endless because virtual world solutions can be implemented in different industries. Moreover, there’s a great variety of things companies can create there. From a line of digital items to a metaverse platform with a range of different services.... More
How Workflow Management Software Can Power Up Business
There is no doubt, workflow automation moves business further. Workflow management software makes it possible by allowing to monitor each process to the tiniest details, boost productivity and eliminate errors. Each process becomes transparent and easy to analyze.
Are you looking for the best project management software or wish to understand it deeply? Don’t worry, we’ve done the hard work for you.
In this article, we’ve allocated the list of the most popular project management tools, analyzed which features define them and what technologies can make them even more powerful, unopposed, and indispensable.
Top 5 Project Management Tools
Depending on the project needs, each business may choose this or another project management tool. It can be a lightweight application or a complex workflow management ecosystem that, basically, includes all sides of the usual business process functioning.
Let’s find out what the best project management tools are distinctive for!
Jira Software is created by Atlassian and represents a whole ecosystem for various needs. More specifically, Jira is recognized as the number one project management tool for software development.
The application provides various features like scrum boards, Kanban boards, roadmaps, agile reporting, etc.
Users define the following Jira benefits:
- One-of-a-kind backlog management via kanban board
- Intuitive and easy-to-use customization of the basic feature set
- An all-in-one solution with a large community and multiple integrations
However, even a solid project management solution like Jira has its cons:
- A confusing collection of products that makes it hard to understand
- Too strict with limited graphics visualization
- No idea management for tracking new hypothesis
The groundbreaking technologies under the Jira platform are Java, Node.js, React, AWS, jQuery, etc.
Asana is a dynamic project management tool that can help to manage various product delivery, marketing campaigns, diverse events, and any other business objectives.
Among the distinctive feature, Asana has is to offer an intuitive user interface, a visual project timeline via the Gantt charts able to show tasks on an XY plane and an extremely wide range of possible integration with literally any software.
Based on functionality, Asana is beneficial because of:
- Distinctive project timelines
- Diverse third-party integrations
- Convenient drag-and-drop functionality
But Asana is also limited by:
- A narrow range of functions within a free version
- Pretty hard for the team collaboration
- Can not handle complex project management
Monday.com is an online project management platform that can be used for managing projects in various industries like software engineering, marketing, event planning, HR, creative and design, etc.
Monday.com is distinctive for its third-party collaboration feature that allows adding as many third-party participants to the project as is required. The communication flow within the app is pretty easy and well-organized – users can comment on the project specifics or share over certain social media. Besides, the platform is open for custom integrations.
Therefore, the Monday.com benefits are:
- Custom integrations due to open API architecture
- Enhanced reporting with clear details
- Easy addition of third-parties
On the other side, there are Monday.com flaws:
- Unable to cope with complex projects
- Only a 14-day trial with concurrent paid plans
- Unable to jump between views in the same project
The Monday.com tech stack includes React, Node.js, Next.js, etc.
The ClickUp project management tool can brag with a big variety of features. It has a mixture of project views like agile project management for software development teams and another 9 different views. The same as Asana it has Gantt charts for project tracking. Besides, it allows assigning custom statuses and creating custom dashboards.
Overall, the list of the most prominent ClickUp benefits is as follows:
- Saving layouts from custom views
- A wide range of third-party integrations
- Resources allocation with Workflow View
Like any other project management tool, ClickUp has certain limitations:
- Hard learning curve
- Overloaded customization
- Mobile app with the Table View
The ClickUp’s tech stack includes PHP, AWS, Alpine.js, etc.
Trello is a lightweight version of the Jira software, created by Atlassian. Compared to other such tools it is indeed a simple version of the others, however, it is widely used and can not be underestimated.
The distinctive features correspond to the simplicity of the app itself: it is easy to understand and allows adding tags for tasks, the easy drag-and-drop functionality, and certain power-ups that enhance the functionality.
The distinctive benefits of Trello are:
- Easy-to-use and simple user interface
- Simple scheduling and task management
- Additional enhancements for features
Being a simplified version of other project management tools, it has the respective flaws:
- Only Kanban views
- Absent reporting feature
- Just simple projects to manage
The tech stack of Trello includes Node.js, Backbone.js, Demandbase, etc.
Learn how to select the best tech stack for your web application
Top Features of Project Management Software
As you know from the previous chapter, each project management tool has a list of distinctive and shared features.
We won’t list here the trivial ones, but the ones that actually define the project management category.
#1. Task Management
Probably, the most important target-specific functionality of this kind of workflow automation software is task management. Any project has a list of tasks to do for its successful completion.
The task management feature allows to monitor the project execution, see the progress every step of the way, report automatically on the work done, and tighten team collaboration while moving forward to the common goal.
Most of the well-known project management tools allow users to see the project in multiple ways – from a simple task list to a specialized Kanban board or a calendar view. To implement this solution, developers often use some frontend technology like React or additionally include the 2D/3D WebGL for enhanced visualization.
#2. Planning and Scheduling
Not all tasks should be implemented right away and some of them should never be completed. To be flexible in this changing world when an urgent problem can arise at any time, it is crucial to have the ability to prioritize tasks. Good planning software with scheduled time slots allows to easily reschedule the whole project.
This feature required a touch of interactivity when everything may be changed instantly.
#3. Team Collaboration
It goes without saying that an innovative cloud-based solution allows accessing important data for everyone from any place. Moreover, it can enhance the team spirit and move faster towards the launch of a new product. A set of shared functionalities like a calendar, various user roles when each one supports the other team members and team dashboards with KPI allows bringing transparency to the process.
This is where app gamification can be a distinctive advantage that can boost user experience and the popularity of the project management tool itself.
#4. Report & Analysis
Convenient, automated, and easily compiled custom reports help to analyze the whole project progress based on the previously gathered data. It includes tracking time, budget, resources, completed tasks, and team performance.
The best solution here can be a project dashboard with diverse KPI reports that keep updated in real-time. This is actually a complex feature that may be reconsidered over time and based on the business objectives. Quite often such features require implementation of scalable software architecture, excellent graphics, and trunk based development approach.
#5. Third-Party Integrations
Project management software covers so many aspects that at some point it’s much easier to integrate an existing solution on the market than create a custom one. Besides, the 3rd party integration allows managing the project in one place without the need to log into some other specialized software.
The most common integrations include messengers, email, calendar, accounting, content management platforms, etc. It all depends on your project needs.
Besides the mentioned features, there is much more to add. Innovative technologies uncover huge possibilities for growth for all the market players. For example, the platform can enhance the user experience by creating 2D animated flipping of task cards. WebGL technology can make a contribution to this purpose. Moreover, it can make the reporting charts more interactive and graphics-rich.
The Key Ways to Elevate Project Management Software
Project management software is a complex ecosystem that is supposed to provide end-users with both common and unique features. This goes far beyond a certain industry domain or some predefined project development path. There’s always something specific going on.
However, certain technologies are already at the disposal of such platforms to elevate the end-user experience and overall competitive edge.
Trunk Based Development
This app development approach is getting more and more applause from giant tech companies like Google, Meta, etc. Why, you ask?
Trunk-based development allows making the app development process flexible, delivering new app updates faster, and switching to the necessary feature set using the feature flags.
Just for the record, such an approach in app development allowed our engineering team to make up to 10 updates per day for a certain project – metaverse for remote collaboration. Each update takes no more than 25 minutes and doesn’t require terminating the work of the application. The update is conducted in real-time and users just see the results instantly.
Project management tools can no longer be tedious. The WebGL technology allows the implementation of 2D and 3D graphics with pixel-perfect visualization and great performance. Even if a user flips a board card or creates a complex reporting chart, the results can be overwhelming.
Such technologies as Unity, PlayCanvas, Babylon.js, A-Frame, and three.js help to make stunning 3D graphics for any common or distinctive functionality of a project management software. Likewise, Pixi.js and Phaser technologies help to create beautiful digital content through 2D WebGL rendering and graphics optimization.
React & Node.js Combo
These technologies form a perfect combination for a web-based project management tool. React is responsible for building interactive user interfaces. The code written with React is easy to use, update and handle. The web interfaces become user-friendly and pleasant to surf through.
Node.js allows the creation of a solid brain of the web application. It connects all the parts of the application, enables the whole application to function, generates dynamic page content, collects and modifies data in a database.
These are two parts of a single whole – the frontend and backend sides of a web application. The project management software development using React and Node.js provides the web app scalability, flexibility, ability to withstand heavy loads, and ensures a great user experience.
Workflow management tools have never been as popular as these days. Each project be it a high-tech product development or a humanitarian initiative requires proper management. Project management tools add transparency, flexibility, and fast progress to any activity.
To attract a wider audience to any existing or a brand new workflow automation app, it should have distinctive specifics that single out the solution among competitors and anticipate the bravest user expectations.
Interactive gamified solutions delivered to the target audience without interruptions in real-time will definitely hit the strike.
Wanna test the hypothesis? Let’s discuss your options in the project management market!
How the Emerging Web 3.0 Transforms the Existing Business Models
The advent of Web 3.0 (Web3) is bringing massive challenges and revolutionizing the ways organizations are doing business. In this article, we will take a closer look at the main features powering Web 3.0, explore the most vivid Web3 examples and technologies that businesses may leverage to harness Internet 3.0 potential.
The Evolution From Web 1.0 to 3.0
With technologies developing at a head-spinning pace, it seems it only took one blink of an eye for the Internet to grow into what it is now.
Yet, from the 1990s forward the transformation of the world wide web has gone through several distinct stages.
Web 1.0: During the phase that lasted from the 1990s to the 2000s, the internet mainly featured static pages with users granted zero options to voice their feedback or opinion.
Web 2.0: This version of the web started in the 2000s and continues even now – the so-called social web, with users playing a key role in information exchange. This is the era of Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube when most of the content posted or shared relies on users’ contributions.
Finally, Web 3.0 is shaping up right in front of our eyes. This is the era when computers can understand and interpret information, deliver personalized content, and the web itself is built around decentralized technologies.
In the next section, we will learn more about Web3 and its characteristics.
Main Features Powering Web3
Compared to its predecessors, Web 3.0 is more powerful and user-centric. Undoubtedly, it is more technologically advanced.
The feature that the internet 3.0 relies on include:
Powered by artificial intelligence, Web 3.0 contains tools and technologies allowing computers to understand and interpret information similarly to humans. One of the core concepts of the Semantic Web is metadata. These are attributes and descriptors added to existing information and content, helping machines to process it and pull meaningful insights.
Artificial Intelligence (AI)
Infused into every app, technology, or process, AI is one of the key components of Web3. Enabling computers to mimic how humans perceive and process data, AI is widely used in modern web-based apps and services.
3D Interactive Web
In the brand-new web world, 3D graphics and immersive experiences are entwined into browsing experiences. In fact, technologies like WebGL are cornerstones for modern digital web design. Users are allowed to turn, spin, zoom in, and otherwise manipulate graphics, which takes activities like gaming, studying, and internet shopping to an entirely new level.
Web 3.0 is ubiquitous, meaning you can access it from anywhere. Internet access relies on laptop and smartphone connectivity as well as on web-connected IoT sensors.
The Social Web
Inherited from Web 2.0, this feature refers to a user-centric network, which urges users to share and generate content. It also provides an option to leave feedback.
Finally, Web 3.0 is characterized by the use of decentralized technology requiring no controlling nodes to operate. It’s way more sophisticated than the old-school web page development. The building blocks of decentralized technology include:
- Blockchain. A distributed ledger that uses numerous nodes so that the information cannot be deleted.
- Smart contracts. Contracts are executed automatically upon fulfillment of certain conditions.
- NFTs. Non-fungible tokens are digital representations of assets containing information about ownership rights.
If we had to characterize Web3 in three words, that would be decentralization, personalization, and omnipresence. In the next section, we are going to discuss the benefits of Web 3.0 for businesses.
Why Should Businesses Embrace Web 3.0?
Keeping abreast of the rising trends is beneficial for every company. However, the advantages of doing business on the web using Web 3.0 technologies deserve a detailed description.
Below are the most impactful innovations that Web3 brings to the table:
- Data ownership and control
Web 3.0 technology will eventually enable users to take full control of their data. From a business perspective, this will rid businesses of the need to adhere to burdensome regulatory requirements, since users will have full data ownership. It will also be up to clients to decide which part of personal data they are ready to share.
This spells good news to anyone familiar with web application development. Web 3.0 tools will run on all devices or platforms, so cross-platform availability will no longer be an issue.
- Permissionless blockchain
With no central authority, there is no bias and discrimination, so anyone can join the network and be its participant. For businesses, this may quickly and painlessly transfer digital assets across borders reliably and securely.
Since users will have full control over their data, the monopoly of tech giants will be broken. That, in turn, will create a more transparent market based on fair principles.
However, the adoption of Web 3.0 will require companies to rethink their business models and adapt to generating revenue in an absolutely different way.
Replacing Web 2.0 Business Models by Web 3.0 Ones
From 2010 forward, the main business model of Web 2.0 has revolved mostly around the collection and monetization of users’ data. Big market players are aggregating users around their apps and services and profiting from showing them targeted ads.
Other popular business models of Web2 world are:
- Software-as-a-Service (SaaS)
Create a web app and sell annual or monthly subscriptions to its services – this is how the SaaS model works in a nutshell. Consider creating a web application available on a freemium basis. Meaning basic functionality will come free of charge while accessing more advanced features will require regular payment.
Web 2.0 is an era of marketplaces – web-based platforms connecting clients to companies/individuals selling products or rendering services. For example, the best-known eLearning marketplaces are Udemy and Coursera. Another example is Upwork – a freelancing marketplace connecting companies and workers.
Apart from the ones mentioned above, there’re many more Web 2.0 business models such as:
- Sharing economy. A nontraditional way of e-commerce business entails shifting to more collaborative sharing resources.
- Referrals. Attracting new customers through recommendations and word of mouth.
- Subscription content. Aimed at selling products or services using a recurring payment system.
- Pay per click. The online advertising model, where an advertiser pays for each clicked link in the ad.
By contrast, the online business models of the new web world will include:
- Revenue sharing
Splitting earnings between all the participants of a business venture, in order to encourage them to further innovate and build new products.
- Percentage fees
A marketplace, for example, may charge a small fee for every transaction performed on the platform.
- Income sharing
Within the income sharing model, revenue is distributed between all the value chain participants.
The term ICO stands for initial coin offerings. A company may sell its own coin or currency to raise funds.
- Continuous funding
Web 3.0 companies also leverage a continuous funding revenue model. Rather than selling tokens all at once, this model presupposes selling them continuously over time.
- Curved bonding
This model distributes the price of tokens across the value growth of an asset. When the value increases, so do the token price. This model gives people an incentive to invest in advance before the token really gets expensive.
Describing all of the possible Web 3.0 business models falls far beyond the scope of this article. Online businesses of the not-so-distant future will be leveraging the decentralized autonomous organizational model (DAO) which involves collective responsibility and leadership.
Let’s now move on to explore how this new evolving web works.
Real-Life Web 3.0 Examples Across Industries
The shift towards Web3 is already underway. It is marked by the increasing proliferation of distributed apps and services (dApps) running on blockchain networks instead of centralized servers.
Below are some of the most vivid examples of decentralized Web 3.0 services running on distributed networks.
One can hardly imagine a worldwide web without social networks. Internet Web 3.0 is no exception. Unlike its web 2.0 counterparts with censorship, limitations, surveillance, and misuse of data, the social networks of Web 3.0 are built on the principles of privacy, transparency, and users’ participation in rewards and revenues.
These web-based application examples are totally attention-worthy:
- Sapien. A social news network, similar to Facebook and running on the Ethereum blockchain. The network rewards the creators of content and gives users an NFT passport enabling them to navigate the Sapient metaverse.
- Steemit. A decentralized community of contributors helping people create and monetize their content. Steemit runs on a Steem blockchain.
- Mastodon. A lot like Twitter, except that the platform is owned by a community of individuals and is completely ad-free.
Decentralized exchanges have many advantages over traditional ones: they are less prone to hacks and offer cheaper transactions. On top of that, they work with hardware wallets and enable users to take control of their funds.
The most vivid examples of Web 3.0 apps providing exchange services are:
- IDEX. One of the best-known centralized exchanges on the web built for trading cryptocurrencies. Boasts a convenient UI and is open to anyone who has an Ethereum wallet.
- Bitfinex. Another Web3 crypto exchange for trading digital assets with a set of trading instruments for buyers and sellers.
Free from government surveillance, decentralized messaging services are by far more private than traditional ones. They ensure faster transfer of messages and transactions.
The greatest examples of Web 3.0 messaging apps go as follows:
- Status. A decentralized messenger, crypto wallet, and a digital Web 3.0 browser combined. An app allows users to transfer cryptocurrencies as well.
- Secretum. Another app combining messaging and trading with only an e-wallet that is required to sign-up. The dApp enables users to transfer crypto assets, including currencies and NFTs.
- ySign. Built using blockchain technology, it features a message exchange, a voice chat app, a crypto wallet, and a cryptocurrency transfer platform all in one place.
Secure data storage is of vital importance, especially for business websites with millions of users. Since there is no central server for storing data on the dApps’ world and the data is split into chunks and transmitted through encrypted peer-to-peer connection, there’s no possibility for data theft and hijacking.
No third party can access or control users’ data, which gives distributed storage services an indisputable advantage over traditional cloud storage. High speed and top-notch interoperability are other advantages.
Top examples of Web 3.0 storage applications include:
- Sia. A decentralized storage service that splits the file into many small chunks and gives users full ownership over encryption keys and information.
- Filecoin. A distributed file storage network is perfect for storing large data sets. It offers higher performance and better interoperability for just a fraction of traditional cloud storage costs.
Insurance and Banking
The use of Web 3.0 tools and technologies accounts for better security, transparency, and compliance in the banking and insurance sector. A decentralized approach prevents fraud in the meantime smart contracts eliminate paperwork and automate routine processes.
The notable examples of Web 3.0 applications delivering insurance and banking services are:
- Cashaa. A global banking platform for managing crypto and traditional currencies. It serves corporate clients and individuals. An app provides crypto loans, investment, and NTF trading.
- Everledger. A globally distributed registry that bankers and insurers may use to prevent fraud. It aims to deliver transparency in global supply chains by providing participants with verified information about their organizations and products.
Read more: Loan Application Development Guidelines
Find out how to create an excellent loantech solution
As far as streaming music and video services are concerned, Web 3.0 platforms eliminate copyright issues. Furthermore, web applications ensure fair conditions for all streamers, performers, and content creators so that they can promote their products.
The vivid examples of streaming Web 3.0 apps go as follows:
- Livepeer. A distributed and open-source video streaming network that is built on the Ethereum blockchain. It aims to provide a stack and an infrastructure for Web3 video streaming.
- LBRY. A free web-based library for all types of digital content that users may watch, read and listen to. It’s also one of the oldest distributed services out there.
- UjoMusic. It enables musicians to upload their works on the web. The application also eliminates copyright issues.
A freelancing marketplace can grow to be a robust web business, as history proves. Remote job platforms can benefit from Web3 technology in many ways: charge minimal fees, have no centralized management and enable cryptocurrency exchange between parties.
The greatest examples of remote job Web 3.0 applications include:
- Ethlance. A freelancing marketplace enabling workers to get hired and paid in Ether currency.
- Atlas. Work is a remote job platform powered by smart contracts and connecting employers and workers. The rates are fixed at $2 per job.
- CryptoTask. A place where firms can find freelancers to work on blockchain projects. You need to make a business website for a moderate budget. For freelancers, the platform is free of charge.
It’s no secret, traditional browsers are by no means safe: they collect, store, and may potentially reveal too much of the users’ sensitive data. Decentralized browsers, on the other hand, are more private and less prone to breaches. While web 2.0 browsers are inadvertently collecting data, the users of decentralized browsers can decide to stay anonymous or to sell their data to third parties, if they choose to.
The examples of decentralized Web 3.0 browser applications are:
- Brave. A blockchain-powered browser, which is 3x faster than Chrome and offers enhanced security and privacy. Additionally, it has protection from intrusive ads. It features a built-in crypto wallet.
- Beaker Browser. A private and secure peer-to-peer browser with website hosting and building capabilities. You may use both browsers to find a website made with conventional technologies as well.
Surely, the web software examples based on the Web 3.0 principles extend far beyond these business websites and apps. As you can see, Web3 decentralized technologies are immensely impactful, as they contribute to transparency, promote fairness, equality, and freedom of choice.
If your business wants to attract clients who share these values, below is a list of web development technologies utilized for building online 3.0 solutions and tools.
Learn how to select the best tech stack for your web application
Web 3.0 Blockchain Technology Stack
Looking for the key elements Web3 technology stack consists of? Let’s see all the layers included.
The best web development tools for building Web 3.0 software are as follows:
- Application layer
To enable users to interact with distributed apps, it’s necessary to have Web 3.0 browsers like Brave, crypto wallets, dApp aggregators (for example, DappRadar for general discovery), and accounts on Twitter, Discord, or Reddit.
- Services & optional layer
Users will also need interfaces allowing them to access different Web3 services. Namely, Illuvium for gaming, Rally and Mirror for content sharing, Opensea or Mintbase for issuing NFTs, and Uniswap or Matcha for financial services.
- Protocol layer
This layer comprises smart contract apps such as Ethereum, Avalanche, Solana, and Cosmos. Some of these services have additional protocols built on top of them. For example, the Lightning network and Stacks on top of Bitcoin.
- Network layer
The function of the network layer is to ensure seamless transportation of data between the blockchain nodes. You will need RLPx for building the network and protocol layer, Roll your Own for creating your custom protocols, and Trusted Execution Environment (TEE) to ensure scalability and security.
- Infrastructure layer
At the lowermost level, there are building blocks for your distributed web application development, called category primitives. These are, primarily, the tools for carrying out specific tasks. For decentralized web design, development teams may use Filecoin for data storage, Spruce for identification, and Curve or Uniswap for online transactions.
Now that we’ve listed the key web development software tools for Web 3.0. Let’s take a look at how you can use them to power your business.
The Best Practices In Web 3.0 Implementation for Business
So how could businesses harness the potential of Web 3.0 to build lasting success? At Visartech, we will recommend taking a step-by-step approach to put Web3 principles into practice.
1. Identify your project idea
Choose the use case for applying decentralized Web 3.0 tools and applications that will make business sense. Compile technical specifications, indicating the main set of requirements for your product development.
2. Decide on the type of solution you want to build.
At Visartech we focus on:
- dApps development: we provide custom website application development services, and make sure that the distributed software we create is in perfect sync with your enterprise ecosystem;
- DeFi application development: we create decentralized finance apps that perform financial operations with no third parties involved;
- NFT marketplaces Development: we build marketplaces for selling or exchanging digital assets;
- Smart Contracts development: our team can create algorithms for the automatic execution of smart contracts.
We also build complex distributed infrastructures to power your Web 3.0 projects.
3. Find a reliable partner
The general rule of thumb is to start off with a pilot project and test your idea for viability. Running a pilot project is also the best way to check how a web application development company you work with understands the unique needs of your business. Also, your tech partner will help you decide on optimal web-based technologies for building Web3.
At Visartech we offer you blockchain technology consulting services to help identify how Web 3.0 could empower your company.
Below are examples of the successful Web 3.0 projects that we have implemented:
- Metaverse For Remote Collaboration
A Silicon Valley startup funded by an investment company that allows onboarding new employees simplifies recruiting and team-building processes. The platform is already used by Google, Microsoft, and other giant famous enterprises starting from the second month after the product launch.
- Sports Social Network and Analytics Platform
The next-gen platform for sports betting. The app is targeted at gamers who can socialize and chat there. The platform integrates with ESPN and Yahoo-like services and is built using Node.js and Firebase.
- Gamified App for Business
- VR 1-st Person Shooter Game
This VR game incorporates innovative web technology and was built using Unity. The game became top first Google Daydream game in 2017.
The future of web development lies in the further evolution of Web 3.0. Ultimately, Web3 spells improved security, transparency, faster transactions, decreased data storage costs, and a better user experience.
Since the new-gen web is still in its infancy, most companies lack internal expertise in internet 3.0 web technologies. Therefore it makes perfect sense to look for a reputable web development company proficient in website application development and building distributed apps.
At Visartech, we know all about web development and the technologies that power the evolution of the web.... More
How eLearning Marketplaces Can Discover New Opportunities For Business Growth
The e-learning market is booming – in less than 3 years it has expanded by 200%. However, as the competition gets tougher, organizations specializing in e-learning platform development, are looking for new opportunities for business growth.
In this blog post, we are going to uncover all the details about e-learning marketplaces for those who are looking to create new e-learning solutions and the ones interested in advancing the existing educational platforms to thrive in the e-learning market.
What Makes eLearning Marketplaces Look For the “Blue Ocean”
eLearning solutions development is now a broad concept covering creating LMS, e-learning app development, and building corporate online learning platforms. In general, organizations tend to compete on a relatively narrow range of factors such as:
- the credibility and reputation of authors or featured speakers.
This sparks desperate competition with every company trying to bite off their market share, acting like sharks in turbulent waters, and creating a “red ocean”, filled with blood. Needless to say, such waters are neither friendly nor welcoming.
The “blue ocean” strategy, described in the iconic bestseller by W. Chan Kim and Renée A. Mauborgne, offers an alternative approach. Organizations adhering to this strategy seek to differentiate their products from competitors to the point when the difference creates unique market value and renders competition irrelevant.
The e-learning market may feel like a red ocean, with companies selling universal products like knowledge and skills. However, this is only true for organizations that lack a well-formulated blue-ocean growth strategy.
In the next sections, we will make a brief overview of the current e-learning industry landscape, list its key players and top features of e-learning marketplaces. We will also offer actionable strategies for taking your e-learning marketplace to the next level by leveraging modern leading-edge tech.
How B2B And B2C Markets Benefit From eLearning Solutions
They say an average shelf-life of a particular skill rarely extends beyond 2 years in a post-industrial era. Lifelong education is no longer an option, it is a necessity, dictated by the ongoing technological advancements. In this regard, learning technology tools have already become an invaluable asset for learners in both the corporate sector and academia.
Benefits of E-learning Adoption in Academia
The adoption of e-learning solutions has gradually been taking place in academia, but the covid-19 pandemic has given it an unexpected boost. Despite the numerous obstacles and issues with connectivity, schools were forced to adapt to the new normal and embrace online and hybrid learning.
The obvious benefits of e-learning solutions:
- safety training procedures;
- gamification to increase engagement levels;
- the ability to cover all groups of learners, including physically impaired students who cannot attend;
- better knowledge and skills assessment;
- programs tailored to learners’ needs;
- progress assessment and reporting;
- the option to track students’ behavior patterns.
An end-to-end LMS, for example, may also help educators handle administrative tasks and help with managing staff, assets, and budgeting.
E-Learning in the Corporate Segment
The corporate segment is adopting e-learning for employee training to boost skills. Companies are highly interested in developing knowledge bases, building in-house expertise, and increasing employee motivation and retention. The demand for e-learning is especially high in industries like healthcare, IT, telecommunications, retail, and finance.
The advantages of e-learning for businesses include:
- reducing corporate education expenses;
- boosting engagement levels;
- using various content formats;
- generating revenue by selling courses to external parties;
- using online training platforms for fostering and expanding proficiency and expertise.
In recent years, educational marketplaces like Coursera, Udemy, and Edx have gained immense popularity both with casual learners enrolling in courses for personal development and working professionals willing to acquire new job skills. E-learning offers them advantages like:
- the comfort of following their own learning speed;
- privacy of students’ progress;
- a wide array of content formats they can adjust to their needs.
In the B2C market, educators can create a nearly unlimited outreach and target audiences in all geographic locations using digital e-learning solutions. Needless to say, it is a lucrative business niche that many aspiring entrepreneurs want to use to their advantage.
Eight Online Learning Platform Types
There are several distinct online learning platforms types that you should know about if you’re thinking of e-learning app development or LMS development. Below is a list of the most widespread types of e-learning platforms.
#1. Learning Management Systems (LMS)
Most of the learning management systems are web-based and have all the features necessary for creating online courses, as well as knowledge assessment tools. LMS acts as a corporate e-learning solution, or an online learning platform for schools and colleges.
#2. Social Learning Platforms
Humans learn best in social situations where they can mingle and talk. A social learning platform is, essentially, LMS with social network features encouraging people to interact and share what they’ve learned. Such an interactive application with courses boasts higher completion and satisfaction rates because people are enjoying peer feedback and group dynamics.
#3. Online Training Platforms for Business
E-learning platforms for businesses usually focus on evaluating the knowledge and skills of job prospects and company workers. These platforms help organizations ensure that the skills and expertise of workers are on the proper level. The programs may be adjusted to the needs and pace of each learner.
#4. Massive Open Online Courses
MOOCs are e-learning websites containing courses that may be available on a free and paid basis. The price will be dictated by the type of certificate learners will receive after they complete the course. Normally, there are no time restrictions, so users can combine courses with their day jobs.
#5. Destination Site for Learning
Big online course repositories, containing classes on various subjects from different providers and using a wide array of payment and access models, like Coursera and Udemy. These websites usually offer course authoring tools, helping instructors build and manage their own courses. Learners get to access course content in different formats and participate in forums and discussion groups.
#6. Learning Experience Systems (LXS)
LXS focuses on personalized immersive education. Built to eliminate the shortcomings of traditional LMS, which are designed to address the needs of an academic program or business owners, these systems deliver user-focused, intuitive learning and interactive experience. LXS features a variety of formats, authoring tools, and has social learning features.
#7. Custom-Built Online Education Platform
Designed to meet the unique needs of a particular business or an educational establishment, such platforms require custom software development. App development cost of such an e-learning solution might be more expensive than using online course authoring tools. However, you get exactly what you want, and have full control over what you want people to learn via your platform.
Learn how to select the best tech stack for your web application
#8. Learning Apps
The speed of life is accelerating, and microlearning, enabling people to learn in small chunks whenever they have time, is gaining momentum. Interactive educational software like Duolingo, or more specific game genres like learn-to-read gamified apps or word game apps help people learn much faster and with greater quality. Essentially, learning through educational games and quests may be a perfect idea if you’re considering e-learning app development.
What Makes E-Learning Platforms so Popular?
The digital education segment is rapidly expanding and its value is anticipated to reach $33.2 billion by 2026. To a large extent, the staggering growth rate may be attributed to quarantine limitations.
Yet, there are many advantages of e-learning platforms for learners:
- the courses are usually available from any location, so geographical limitations are no longer an issue;
- users can easily enroll in programs after they register on a platform;
- best online training platforms offer a choice of course formats;
- the course is usually available in a variety of content formats: audio, video, text, or printable pdf;
- e-learning gamification makes courses fun and engaging;
- users may take tests from any location;
- tracking one’s progress is easy using AI tools and big data;
- online courses are usually cheaper than individual learning.
The benefits of online learning platforms for educators and trainers are as follows:
- a set of handy tools makes course creation easy as a breeze;
- it’s easy to upload, store and manage content;
- broad outreach and built-in interactivity make teaching feel more rewarding;
- increased efficiency: trainers can reach thousands of people at the same time;
- analytic tools bring insights into learners’ knowledge gaps, progress, and behavior.
As you can see, e-learning marketplaces have a lot to offer in terms of features and user experience. This also implies that the popularity of educational platforms will continue to increase in years to come, along with the customers’ demands and expectations. The solution lies not only in adding new features but also in revolutionizing existing business models.
In the next section, we will explore the must-have features of e-learning marketplaces.
The Top Features of E-Learning Marketplaces
A successful learning management platform offers learners and educators unique value. Yet, there are some mandatory features that users now expect from learning marketplaces.
Best online training platforms have easy registration and account access. The fastest way to enable it is by using their social media accounts such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
- User profiles
Platform users should be able to set up their profiles. Depending on their roles (student, teacher, trainer) the platform should request different personal information and user details.
The marketplace should enable users to search for different courses based on the topic, duration, authorship, testimonials, and difficulty level.
- Course pages
Each course should have a proprietary page containing the basic information about the course program, schedule, duration, price, instructors, and their qualifications. Course authors should also be able to add introductory videos, and students should be able to submit their feedback about the course.
- Course creation capabilities
How to create an e-learning course should not be a problem for educators you partner with. The platforms should automatically enable instructors to create a course structure, add tests for knowledge assessment as well as text and multimedia content.
- Integrations with payment systems
Learners should be able to pay for tuition in a variety of ways including credit cards and online payment systems. Obviously, all the payment providers you partner with should use secure payment verification methods.
- Built-in analytics modules
Data analytics modules are powerful tools enabling trainers to assess the progress of students and their participation and involvement rates, gain useful insights about how they can improve their programs. Enhanced data visualization tools and instant access to analytics increase teachers’ satisfaction with their experience on the platform.
- Notifications, and update alerts
Users should be able to receive news about the new courses or the updates added to existing ones. Updates and alerts should be available via e-mails, social media messages, SMS and be easily accessible via smartphones.
- Multilanguage support
Access anytime from anywhere is what users love most about online learning platforms. If you want to build a successful e-learning platform, make sure to offer courses in different languages for learners across the world.
- Admin panel
An admin panel should offer an administrator a holistic view of the platform, including user profiles. The administrator should be able to verify courses, add and remove users, switch their subscription plans, and eliminate issues if they arise.
Users also expect an educational platform to have non-functional characteristics like:
- excellent usability and UI;
- compatibility with various operating systems, devices, and platforms;
- non-disruptive performance that ensures quick and seamless access.
Top Ten E-Learning Courses Marketplaces
Finally, let’s make a brief overview of the top e-learning marketplaces, their pros, cons, and tech stacks.
Udemy courses have been leveraged by over 40 million users. This e-learning marketplace has the best credentials for creating, launching, and marketing your first course. The platform will virtually guide teachers through all the aspects of course creation, to the point when they can submit videos for reviews and get advice on how to hone them to perfection.
From the learner’s standpoint, Udemy has affordable prices and a wide range of topics. However, the platform’s certificates are not accredited, which means learners can’t put them on their resumes to impress talent recruiters.
Udemy generates income from charging instructors a percentage from every course they sell, as well as from user subscriptions.
The core web development tech stack of Udemy includes Node.js, MySQL, NGINX, Python, and Django. The platform is built using AWS cloud services such as AWS Lambda, Amazon S3, and Amazon EC2.
Speaking of educational platforms examples, we can’t help but mention Coursera. With the number of users reaching 73 million and over 3800 courses available on a platform, this marketplace is one of the top destinations for online learning.
One of Coursera’s advantages is its partnerships with educational institutions, which allow students to attend online classes at renowned colleges and universities. Coursera also offers certified courses from leading companies like IBM, Cisco, and Intel.
The courses are affordable, however, getting a degree will require significantly higher costs. The platform’s business model involves selling courses and tuition to learners. Learners pay fees to enroll in learning activities and get certified by Coursera.
Coursera’s main programming languages are Scala and Python. Its core tech stack includes MySQL and Backbone.js for the frontend.
Udacity has about 16 million users and is the best e-learning platform for learning hands-on business and technology skills. Its self-proclaimed specialty is upskilling and acquiring practical knowledge. A typical Udacity course is tailored to working professionals who have little time for learning outside their day jobs.
Practical orientation as well as the collaboration with major tech firms and international organizations is one of the platform’s main advantages. On the downside, Udacity courses are notoriously expensive (about $399 per month), additionally, the platform doesn’t offer any official degree or accreditation.
Still, it offers excellent tech and business courses for learners who want to advance their careers. Some of the courses are entry-level. Udacity makes money by selling courses to individuals and enterprises.
For learners, who need official, accredited e-learning programs from major educational institutions, then EdX is the way to go. EdX is a credible platform with over 34 million users, partnered with 160 universities and colleges, and featuring over 3000 courses and 300 education programs.
One of the most compelling features of EdX is that users can take most of the classes free of charge. They can’t complete assignments and get certified, but they get an almost complete preview of the course content. On the downside, some users say EdX classes lack variety and are only suitable for those who have enough time for in-depth learning.
The platform makes money by charging educational institutions 30% of the course revenue they get using EdX.
EdX’s core tech stack consists of Node.js, React, PHP, Django, and Backbone.js for the frontend.
The characteristic feature of the Masterclass platform that sets it apart from others are courses from celebrity authors and instructors. Masterclass is obviously the best choice for people who want to learn by positive examples of role models like Alicia Keys, Bobby Brown, and Gordon Ramsey. The platform’s videos are engaging and fun to watch.
Masterclass earns revenue by charging students monthly subscription fees for access to all of its classes. Alternatively, students may buy access to one of its classes for a smaller fee. The prices are very affordable, and learners may demand a refund in 30 days after they enroll in a course. On the downside, websites like Masterclass are surely not suitable for people looking for serious accredited education but are true treasure troves for casual learners.
Masterclass core tech stack includes React, Angular.js, and Rails.
#6. LinkedIn Learning
Created as a result of the LinkedIn merger with Lynda.com, LinkedIn Learning boasts an impressive amount of 700 million users. The courses focus on Business, Technology, and Creative professions, and are available on a monthly or yearly subscription basis. Users can learn at their own pace and rewatch the course anytime they feel like it.
LinkedIn Learning makes money by charging course fees. On the downside, there are no refunds, and the LinkedIn Learning courses aren’t accredited, so learners can’t put them on their resumes. However, they can share the certificate of completion with their LinkedIn network.
LinkedIn Learning’s core tech stack includes Amazon CloudFront, Apache Hadoop, Apache Kafka, Backbone.js, Couchbase, DigiCert, Jenkins, and Jetty.
SkillShare is one of the top e-learning destinations for entrepreneurs and creative professionals. It’s also believed to be one of the best platforms for freelancers and small businesses. The platform features over 36,000 courses and has 5 million users. Skillshare has very affordable pricing, offers refunds, and, notably, scholarships for talented students. It also has plans for enterprises and teams.
The platform generates revenue using a combination of a freemium business model and advertising. Subscribed users enjoy unlimited access to content, including access from mobile devices and download capabilities.
Skillshare’s core tech stack includes React, Node.js, PHP, jQuery, NGINX, Cloudflare, Backbone.js.
This platform for e-learning specializes exclusively in data science and analytics. Its courses are self-paced, and a lot of them are suitable for beginners. All in all, DataCamp is the best platform for people, planning a career change. The courses are built around microlearning principles and are practical and concise.
Data Camp focuses on niche-specific learning content and offers several subscription plans for individuals and enterprises.
Mindvalley is another e-learning platform that stands out by covering users’ unique learning needs focusing on “what they don’t study in schools” – personal learning and development. The platform features courses on entrepreneurship, parenting, wellness, mindfulness, meditation, overcoming anxiety and stress.
Mindvalley offers courses for individuals and enterprises, and reaps revenue from subscriptions, live events, selling books and merchandise. It encourages learners to spread the word and invite more users to join their platform.
The platform’s core tech stack includes PHP, jQuery, NGINX, Slick, and Ubuntu.
Just like EdX, Ed2Go brings learners certified courses from renowned colleges and universities. This e-learning marketplace targets students, working professionals, and aspiring entrepreneurs. Ed2Go features a plethora of courses on business, finance, design, and technology.
The platform makes money directly from selling its courses to customers. At the beginning of 2022, its reputed revenue has reached $21 million.
Ed2Go’s core tech stack includes React, jQuery, Ruxit, Impact Radius, and Salesforce Web-to-Lead.
These marketplaces have already become household names, and include offerings for enterprises. As you can see, most of the marketplaces are trying to differentiate themselves from competitors by user groups, e-learning models, trainers, speakers, accreditation, conditions, and pricing.
In the next section, we will show you how the application of emerging technologies can give e-learning platforms a competitive edge.
6 Efficient Ways To Take Your eLearning Marketplace To The Next Level
As convenient as e-learning may be, there is still room for improvement. An online education website can stand out by offering users better learning experiences. Below is a list of technologies that you may use to make e-learning interactive and enjoyable.
Most importantly, even the top educational websites mentioned in the previous section could leverage new tech to add value to their services.
As the name suggests, gamification in learning involves using basic gameplay mechanics and dynamics in non-game settings. The concept has been known since 2010 but has fully evolved in recent years, finding wider application in domains like education, training, healthcare, finance, human resources, and social services.
The techniques may be as simple as giving out badges to successful learners that they can showcase on their social media, keeping scores of the top learners in their area, offering virtual gifts as an incentive to complete more assignments, and more. Encouraging competition, for example, can motivate learners to show better results.
At Visartech, we have built an e-learning app with gamification elements. The e-learning solution is aimed at maximizing internal staff engagement using bonuses that employees could get for their activities. The same approaches apply in e-learning, for example, in educational games.
#2. WebGL 3D Graphics
WebGL is a technology that applies programming methods to draw 3D graphics on a user’s computer screen. It is a fast and efficient way to visualize complex concepts and can be successfully applied in learning science, technology, and creative subjects.
WebGL is notably different from web graphics in the traditional sense: it uses code to create vivid and spectacular 3D experiences on the web. It also runs on users’ GPUs, which means smoother performance, lower latency, cross-platform availability, enhanced security, and, consequently, greater customer satisfaction.
Read more: Interactive 2D/3D Graphics for Web Projects
Discover WebGL capabilities your business can benefit from
At Visartech, we have used WebGL to build a virtual physics lab, helping students in American Universities undertake experiments that were previously possible only in real-life. However, the WebGL technology is also a perfect fit for web-based games, virtual tours, and any other fields requiring advanced visualizations.
#3. VR Collaboration Rooms
So far, the main disadvantage of e-learning is the lack of face-to-face interactions. People learn best when engaging in communication, and e-learning often falls short of a “human touch”. Yet, as VR technology becomes widely used in different industries, and the broadband Internet gets more accessible, immersive learning starts to become mainstream.
In recent years, we have witnessed the emergence of VR social networks, such as VR Chat and Rec Room. Facebook has recently unveiled its Horizon platform, where people can create “worlds” and interact in virtual environments. Spatial, the platform for VR conferencing, reported a stunning increase in use during the pandemic period. Clearly, the trend for extended reality technologies will see further development in the near future.
Virtual reality in e-learning is a true enabler of collaboration and group discussions. At Visartech we have built a collaborative platform allowing companies to hold meetings in virtual environments. Similar solutions are applicable in both corporate and academic e-learning. Thus the Visartech development team also created an e-learning platform for schools that enables students to take courses via VR classrooms.
Find out how to create engaging virtual reality business meetings
#4. AR Experiences
The specifics of e-learning for business is the need to translate abstract concepts into practical usages in real work environments. In this regard, augmented reality can be an invaluable asset. The use of AR technology enables learners to receive instructions in real-time and instantly apply them at work.
Augmented reality is used to prepare learners for complex tasks by simulating real-life situations and environments. In sales, for example, AR can simulate difficult interactions with customers to train salespeople how to handle them.
Apart from efficient workplace training, the benefits of augmented reality in immersive education include accessibility of learning materials, the ability to learn in real-time, and maximized learners’ engagement.
At Visartech, we have built a geolocation app for gamified travel, which uses augmented reality as its core characteristic feature. The same principles can be applied in building e-learning games, apps, and services.
#5. Internal Social Network
Social learning is gaining momentum, and developing interactive education websites involves building a community of learners and educators. Forming a dedicated community around a particular brand always turns out to be a helpful tool to make its customers feel engaged and supported. Launching an internal social network could add an edge to your platform and act as an additional incentive for users to enroll in courses and share what they have learned.
A sports analytics application that we have built at Visartech, features an internal social platform where users can discuss their activity and share experiences.
#6. Learning Assistance Through Chatbots
The lack of face-to-face interactions often makes students feel confused about whom they can turn to if they have issues and problems. An interactive chatbot may help them find answers to their pressing questions and get help when they need assistance.
On top of that, chatbots are perfectly suitable for knowledge assessment, since they can check learner knowledge directly, in a conversational manner, and proceed with lectures tailored to fill knowledge gaps. Chatbots are also capable of providing learning content in a number of formats: videos, images, text, and audio files, and helping students handle tasks and assignments.
So far, the use of chatbots in education has been proved to lower churn rates and boost student satisfaction levels. Some chatbots are trained in helping students overcome emotional problems, for example, during onboarding on campus.
Efficient e-learning solutions prove to be truly sought after these days. However, to keep an e-learning platform successful and competitive, the key things should be always observed: constant updates, engaging content, interactive design, and a great tech foundation.
The trend toward e-learning is likely to persist in years to come, and education platforms are going to get increasingly more diverse and industry-specific. As the competition gets fierce, leveraging technologies to build interactive education websites with an entirely new level of user experience could truly make your platform unique. At Visartech we have all it takes to create a solution that will really stand out. With extensive expertise and the high-quality app development approach which implies continuous delivery of the product, we ensure the success of the production efforts.... More
Use Trunk Based Development for Product Agility and Continuous Delivery
The call for product agility requires development teams to ensure continuous delivery of products to customers and end-users. In this regard, the app development approach may have a decisive impact on the success of your production efforts and the choice of your team in general.
Trunk based development (TBD) offers exactly what you need for the development synchronization, ensure effective version control and sustain the CI/CD pipeline. Favored by tech giants like Google and Meta, TBD is totally worth consideration when choosing the methodology for building applications.
In this blog, we are going to explore the intricacies of trunk based development and discuss whether or not you should apply it to your project.
The Benefits of Being In Real-Time Sync
First off, what is trunk based development? Essentially, TBD is one of the existing ways to execute version control (a process used to synchronize code and monitor the current and the historical condition of the development environments). The use of TBD accounts for better code audits and disaster recovery.
Let’s get through the main benefits that businesses can gain from trunk based development.
From a business standpoint, the main advantages of the TBD system are as follows:
- Workflow optimization
The use of TBD accounts for the seamless and non-disruptive workflow since most of the integration issues are eliminated.
As the app development team works together, they gradually develop a unified programming style. The code is more consistent and an application has fewer performance issues.
- Shared expertise
The development team members learn from each other and hone their programming skills in real-time mode. Thus, each one complements the project with their unique expertise and creates more advanced and sophisticated solutions.
- Accelerated time-to-market
TBD allows you to achieve faster time-to-market. It’s also a perfect solution for building an MVP. The code is always ready for production, since features, which are still under construction, are easily turned off.
- Instant updates
As your product gets feedback from users and stakeholders, TBD enables you to act on it instantly and introduce product updates on the go.
- Lower costs of development
Trunk based development allows you to quickly reach excellent results with smaller teams and reduce the costs of development.
Learn how to select the best tech stack for your web application
In the next sections, we will explore TBD in more detail and compare it with the GitHub branching strategy.
Trunk Based Development vs GitFlow – What’s Better?
Trunk development is frequently compared to GitFlow, so it may be difficult to choose which VCS is best for your app development project. Many sources define GitFlow as a legacy development method, which gets gradually replaced by TBD. Some practitioners, however, do not view the two methods as mutually exclusive and use GitFlow in combination with TBD for different purposes. In short, trunk based development vs GitFlow is a topic of ongoing debate.
To help you decide which model would suit you best, below is a brief description of a GitFlow method and how it compares to trunk development.
Feature Branching (GitFlow) vs TBD
As version control systems (VCS) become more sophisticated, they tend to become more capable of tracking the history of the projects and changes introduced by different people. These systems also allow distributed teams to work on the same product simultaneously. This speeds up product delivery and facilitates QA testing eliminating potential vulnerabilities.
A popular method of version control is feature branching. A single branch is separated from the mainline (or trunk) and is used by software developers to build a specific feature. Basically, a feature branch is a small trunk that developers work on in order to add a particular functionality. The process may take up to several weeks. When the task is complete, the updates are pushed back into the mainline.
Trunk based development (TBD) is grounded on other principles. Instead of applying code branching, app developers work on small portions of code and push it back into the trunk in little chunks, on a daily basis. They do not trail off from the mainline and commit features instantly, the moment they are developed. The branch life is limited, and branches normally last several hours before they are committed.
Trunk based development release branch is the only branch with a long life span. Release branches are isolated and never merged back into the mainline.
Below is a graphic description of the TBD process and the attributes of trunk based development:
GitFlow is a VCS for Git that is based on feature branching. As mentioned above, git feature branches are, substantially, chunks of code built independently from a trunk branch, also known as the mainline or master. After a particular feature has been created, the updates are integrated back into the master.
The below GitFlow diagram illustrates how it works:
In essence, GitFlow doesn’t add anything new to the feature branching method. It makes branches more manageable, though, by assigning them different roles and interaction capabilities. Isolated branches may also be used for preparing, recording, and maintaining releases.
The problem associated with the use of a git flow method is that long-lasting feature branches are notoriously difficult to merge. Integrating them into the code mainline may involve serious conflicts.
By comparison, when the developers apply the trunk-based development method, they work directly on a master branch. Updates are committed instantaneously, and it’s easier to eliminate bugs and maintain the consistency of code.
Trunk-based development is perfect if you want to quickly build an MVP, test it for a proof of concept and return it back to users as soon as possible with an excellent-functioning product. It’s also a great fit if you want to introduce fast updates into an already functioning software without disrupting its performance.
How Does Trunk Based Development Improve the SDLC?
TBD is also beneficial from the development perspective.
More specifically, below are examples of how TBD improves the SDLC.
- Feedback quality
If the code gets delivered in real-time, so does the feedback. When feedback comes early, it enables software development teams to introduce changes as fast as possible. It’s also given by word of mouth and can be more nuanced.
- Overcoming difficulties
If any member of the development team needs help, it’s easy to detect in real-time and overcome difficulties on the spot, which accounts for a seamless production process.
- Collective code ownership
Trunk based development promotes ownership mentality – the understanding that all the members of the team are working towards a common goal.
The code is consistent and it’s easier to establish a unified code style. TBD also facilitates code reviews, since the original commit history is preserved.
- Easier refactorings
One of the advantages of TBD is that large refactorings are easier to handle since there are no merge conflicts.
- Continuous deployment
TBD is believed by some experts to be a facilitator of continuous deployment and a signature of a team’s health. If a team knows how to work without breaking the mainline into branches, they have probably mastered effective methods of working together.
TBD offers software development teams more freedom with their projects, eliminates micromanagement, and accelerates the production process. By using the TBD approach, the developers are capable of speeding up the development and introducing changes instantly, with no unnecessary bureaucracy interfering with their tasks. If you’re looking for ways to optimize your team’s throughput and gain a competitive edge by minimizing time-to-market, this development approach is the way to go.
Now that we’ve explored the advantages of trunk based development vs feature branch methods, let’s talk about the type of projects that it suits most.
Does TBD Fit All Product Development Projects?
Given the obvious benefits of trunk based development, should you discard other methods altogether? Well, it depends. In fact, the tried-and-true GitFlow method may be more justified in some cases.
Using GitFlow is best when:
- your product is an open-source project with different contributors, so the responsible senior app developer should be able to review every line of code;
- your product is already functioning and you can afford to make gradual changes;
- you work with junior developers and need to keep an eye on the development process.
By contrast, TBD is best when:
- you are creating an MVP for a proof-of-concept;
- you need to make fast changes to your project to meet user expectations;
- you’re working with a development team of skilled professionals who demonstrate excellent collaboration and are confident with pushing code straight into the trunking software.
Learn about tech consulting benefits, implementation & costs
In a modern world, when companies are pressured to deliver value fast, live up to severe competition, and continuously improve customer experience, the trunk-based approach offers them all it takes to ensure maximum efficiency. Indeed, TBD is associated with high performance, team maturity, fast time-to-value, and excellent software quality.
Best Practices of Trunk Based Development
So how do you make TBD work for your project?
Below is the list of the best practices and attributes of trunk based development that makes it so effective.
Feature Branches vs Single Branch Strategies
Unlike setting up the feature branch, and then merging it with the code trunk, TBD uses a single branch strategy. This speeds up the software production and helps avoid the co-called merge hell” during feature branch integration.
To leverage the full potential of TBD, software engineers need to learn how to work in small batches, implement synchronized reviews and automated unit testing.
Modern Architecture for Deployment in Isolation
By this, we mean microservice architecture, the cloud-based development approach under which an application is assembled from many small isolated components, i.e. services. TBD presupposes continuous testing and builds, and is perfect for microservice architecture since it simplifies workflows and ensures continuous delivery.
Feature toggling is absolutely necessary for successful TBD and involves the use of feature flags. To understand what feature flags are, think of them as controls, which help to turn off the manifestation of incomplete application features during production so that the software developers can work on them until they are tested and complete.
Feature toggles or flags are usually stored in a configuration of the specification file. Controlling them, however, may not be easy, so you can use the feature flag software for more feature toggle control.
Continuous Development Patterns
CD is one of the main concepts within the Agile product management paradigm. Instead of delivering a complete product in one batch, the software development teams work on updates continuously, introducing improvements to customers as soon as they are tested and ready. After they collect customer feedback, the developers make improvements based on it.
The process is iterative and includes continuous integration (CI), continuous deployment, and delivery (CD). If you’re wondering “what is continuous integration?” or “what is continuous integration in DevOps?” and “how does continuous integration work?”, this manual will set you on the right track.
The question of how continuous integration works falls beyond the scope of this article. If you need continuous integration explained, visualize a process when coders push their updates into master within several hours and run automated tests prior to and following the integration. Setting up the continuous integration environment requires using automation whenever you can, plus robust and secure development infrastructure.
TBD facilitates continuous integration. Some experts claim that if you’re not leveraging TBD, you’re probably not doing CI at all.
Risks and Pitfalls Your Development Team Has to Overcome
Trunk development isn’t for everyone. The fact you’re using it is an indicator of your developers’ expertise and the maturity of your team.
However, some pitfalls may hamper your success. Below is a list of possible TBD risks and advice on overcoming them.
Maintain a Stable Mainline
How to build a trunk and avoid merge hell may become your team’s major challenge. TBD involves working on small portions of updates and pushing them straight into master. The development team should commit updates regularly. Preferably, several times per day. In the case of feature branches, app developers have to check whether they are short-lived and practice daily merges into the code trunk. It’s better for the development team to run regular tests and reviews.
To maintain a stable mainline, some teams use pair programming. This practice ensures higher code quality, provides code reviews in real-time and promotes knowledge sharing between team members.
Properly Manage Toggles
As said above, feature toggle management can be a tricky task. Their number may reach hundreds depending on your project size, so it may be easy to lose track of them.
Specific software may be used to manage toggles or create customized tools. Specifically made feature toggles may even be preferable since the development team can later introduce other toggles for operations and release control.
Also, the toggles have to be cleaned up, once the project is completed. Feature toggles may mess up the code in case they are not temporary.
Scaling Problems With Branches
A lot of teams use Git for version control. The problem with Git is that this open-source system wasn’t meant for large enterprise projects and doesn’t scale easily. To overcome the Git scaling challenges you need to:
- keep your processes unified and standardized;
- run regular audits to detect bugs and vulnerabilities in the code;
- store the code and assets in a single repository;
- stick to the TBD standards and make sure that branches have a short life span to eliminate merge problems.
Control the Overall Architecture
Architecture plays an important part in ensuring continuous delivery. Because of architectural constraints, many companies fail to achieve product agility goals. Clearly, there’s a connection between product architecture and the communication style of a team. The architecture of products often reflects the current evolutionary stage of your organization.
Hence, new features or services may be extremely difficult to introduce. In this case, we would recommend implementing an evolutionary architecture approach for introducing gradual incremental changes.
Which Companies Use Trunk Based Development?
If you look at the examples of companies that leverage trunk based development you’re likely to be impressed. TBD for version control is reported to be leveraged by giants like Facebook, Google, and Amazon. According to the State of DevOps Report, TBD is applied by high performers. In fact, it is gaining more traction and is increasingly adopted by companies committed to Agile principles.
Companies that need ongoing product updates to their projects are leveraging TBD to stay flexible and implement fast changes to their projects. At the same time, TBD is mostly applied by skilled development teams, with high levels of collaboration and teamwork.
How Visartech Enables Trunk Based Delivery in Action
At Visartech we work with a diversity of companies from various industries satisfying a wide range of their requests. In particular, we help them both create new digital products from scratch and update the already existing software solutions. We use innovative collaboration techniques and a trunk based development to infuse interactivity into products, which are already live and have a community of loyal users. As the enabler of CI and CD, TBD helps us to continuously add features to already existing apps without disrupting their performance.
At Visartech we deliver different types of software solutions: interactive 3D graphics apps, cloud software, data visualization services. We also specialize in collaboration software. VR chat is the very product we developed to organize immersive meetings with real collaboration over a VR whiteboard.
TBD allows us to develop applications in real-time mode. We happened to work on a huge project in the field of virtual collaboration software. The solution we delivered is aimed at facilitating communication and virtual interaction between co-workers and entrepreneurs through virtual tools. Due to the trunk based development approach, we managed to keep the app constantly updated and avoid the merge hell.
Trunk based development comes across as a perfect solution. If you aim to strike a delicate balance between the need to instantly adapt to customer expectations, and the demand for non-disruptive application performance.
However, to utilize a TBD method, you need an experienced software development team of seasoned developers that are comfortable with pushing updates straight into master, and capable of maintaining continuous delivery and integration.
Our developers at Visartech know how to apply trunk based development, and have all the necessary hard and soft skills.... More