Innovative Technology Blog
A collection of articles for enterprises & startups to keep innovative technologies, trends & tips under the radar.
A Guide to WebGL: Interactive 2D/3D Graphics for Web Projects
There’s an obvious shortage of WebGL-related info on the web, although its importance for modern frontend, game, and web development is difficult to overlook.
In this guide, we aim to answer most of the questions related to WebGL. First off, let’s start with the WebGL definition.
What is WebGL?
It allows you to run GPU-accelerated graphics directly inside an HTML canvas with no external plugins.
In other words, WebGL is a set of functions for drawing vector elements generated on the browser screen using the client’s graphics processing unit (GPU). What sets it apart from other tools is the quality and the complexity of visual elements that it can render. In fact, no HTML and CSS methods are capable of reaching quite the same impact.
Created by KhronosGroup, the WebGL technology is a direct descendant of OpenGL ES, used for 3D visualizations in games and VR. This innovative technology is currently utilized in 3D web design, interactive games, physics simulations, data visualization, and artwork.
Now, let’s get to its basics.
Contrary to a common misconception, WebGL is not a graphic suite. Instead, it leverages code to draw geometric objects and a client’s GPU engine to rasterize graphic objects on an HTML canvas.
In order to understand WebGL basics, it helps to get a grasp of the basic 3D graphics theory and the rendering workflow. In a 3D scene, every point is a vertex identified by its x,y,z coordinates. The vertices are then connected to form a group of triangular shapes, known as primitives. The light source is applied to create the appearance of shadows and depth. The primitives are then rasterized to create a 3D vector graphic into a projection of a 2D pixel, which tricks the brain into seeing a 3D object on a 2D computer screen.
There are two types of functions in a WebGL code:
- vertex shaders,
- fragment shaders.
A vertex shader calculates the coordinates of vertices, and the fragment shader is responsible for computing the pixel colors. The shading process requires the computer to perform tons of calculations to render images smoothly. It is often too much workload for the CPU to process. For this reason, WebGL leverages GPUs to distribute the calculations more efficiently.
In essence, WebGL API is all about customizing shader states to control what is being drawn on the client’s screens.
Fortunately, there’s no need to create programs manually to start adding 3D graphics to your website. You can use resources like three.js, PlayCanvas, or Unity WebGL build option to quickly design 3D experiences without much underlying knowledge of WebGL.
WebGL Key Concepts
Wrapping up what was mentioned above: a set of shaders tells a GPU how to turn lines of code into graphics. The shaders, in turn, can receive the data in a number of ways. Below, is a brief description of the four existing means of programming shaders, which, ultimately, constitute the key concepts of WebGL.
Attributes and Buffers
Buffers are data sets that can contain just about any of the parameters that you want to convey: colors, texture coordinates, vertex positions, etc. Attributes describe the process of how data is extracted from the buffers.
These are the global variables that you have to define before the shader functions are played out.
Textures are the data you can openly access in both shader types. As a rule, textures contain color and image data, but can actually contain any other data types.
Varyings are the methods of transferring data from between shaders. The values set in the varying will be applied as the shaders are executed.
Ultimately, WebGL is a sophisticated tool that uses complicated math and programming to generate graphics on users’ screens. Now, let’s talk about its advantages and its downsides.
WebGL Pros and Cons
When selecting the optimal tech stack for your purposes, it surely makes sense to know the pros and cons of the technologies you are going to apply.
The most essential pros of WebGL are as follows:
- It is native and free in most of the common desktop and mobile browsers
- The technology is relatively fast and blends easily with HTML
- No need to install anything on your device to run WebGL API
- You can leverage external libraries to make outstanding 3D web experiences
Alternatively, the cons of WebGL are as such:
- It is in many respects slower than its predecessor, OpenGL
- The learning curve is quite steep for native WebGL programming
- Has security vulnerabilities, although the vendors claim to be handling them
- Can be responsible for browser crashes due to plugins incompatibility, etc.
Yet, if you’re looking for cross-platform and cross-browser compatibility, integration with HTML, and seamless interaction with all of its elements, WebGL is, surely, the way to go.
Advantages For Business
Apart from the purely technical characteristics, WebGL has a lot of other tangible advantages:
- Spectacular graphics and great user experience
WebGL makes 3D graphics come alive on users’ browser screens, and if you think that’s no big deal, think again. This API delivers the experience of real 3D and virtual reality via programming means, which is what makes this technology so impactful.
- Fewer performance issues
WebGL uses the client-side hardware, therefore, it runs more smoothly on users’ screens and normally has low playback latency.
- Cross-platform availability
WebGL will run on most of the common browsers, devices, and operating systems, which makes it available to all kinds of user groups.
- More secure than other solutions
Before the advent of WebGL, the display of 3D graphics and animations in the browser required specific plugins that often crashed and caused many security vulnerabilities. Although WebGL is not completely free from security issues, it’s still more secure than any other similar technology so far.
- Opening doorways to browser-based gaming
Browser-based gaming has always been in high demand, yet the only way to deliver it before WebGL was via the use of plugins, which involved lots of issues. WebGL will enable you to easily create web-based games and enter this promising market segment.
WebGL vs OpenGL: Similarities and Differences
WebGL is often compared to OpenGL. Also created by the Kronos Group back in 1992, OpenGL is an API for 3D and 2D graphics. Sounds like there’s hardly any difference, however, there are a number of substantial nuances that we shouldn’t overlook.
WebGL originated from OpenGL ES2 which is a simplified version of OpenGL. OpenGL, on the other hand, is more complex and has a plethora of capabilities.
When it comes to features, OpenGL has a wider scope: apart from the fragment and vertex shaders, it includes a greater variety of shader types.
While WebGL operates in browsers on desktop and mobile devices, OpenGL requires drives and needs installation.
- Programming language
- Learning curve
The learning curve for OpenGL is steeper since it is substantially more complex. However, it gets easier to learn, once you master WebGL.
- Use cases
OpenGL is applied extensively in gaming technology, to build video games. WebGL powers web services and apps (below, we will explore the examples of WebGL use in more detail).
Additional Libraries for WebGL
There is a great variety of WebGL frameworks and libraries that web developers can use to build web products. Instead of reinventing the wheel, applying prewritten elements can substantially boost the speed of web development. Let’s now make a quick overview of some of the popular additional libraries used for developing applications with WebGL.
Currently, Unity WebGL content is supported by most major desktop browsers. However, it doesn’t provide support for mobile devices yet.
You can find its open-source repository on Github.
Another open-source library available on Github, Babylon.js often described as an engine for displaying 3D graphics in a browser. Its original language is Typescript, but its code is natively interpreted by all browsers supporting WebGL and HTML5. Babylon.js has an extensive range of applications, including gaming, crime data visualization, fashion, healthcare education, and military training.
Dedicated specifically to gaming, PlayCanvas is a 3D engine backed by a proprietary cloud-based development platform, which allows web development teams to edit web projects from multiple computers in real-time. The features include 3D animation, rigid-body physics simulations, and sound design. Open-sourced in 2014, the engine also has a free repository on Github.
This framework is meant for XR development (AR/VR and mixed reality experiences), and for displaying 3D and VR elements in a browser. AFrame is, essentially, a VR plugin, which features a range of components like animations, geometries, cursors, controls, etc.
The code generated by AFrame can run on most of the popular VR headsets, and can also display graphics on desktop and mobile devices. This makes AFrame a perfect library for making browser games capable of running on any device. The free repository is also available on Github.
Used mainly for the visualizations of geospatial data, Deck.gl is perfect for processing large data sets with WebGL and creating complex visualizations based on the analytics data. It integrates well with React and delivers excellent results when used in combination with MapboxGL, creating compelling 2D or 3D graphics overlay on top of the Mapbox maps. You can use the Deck.gl Github repository to create WebGL geospatial visualizations.
The total number of additional WebGL libraries exceeds 80, and describing all of them falls beyond the scope of this article. However, you can use an extensive list of libraries featured on Openbase to find the one that would perfectly suit your business purposes.
WebGL Best Practices
For WebGL to fully live up to its potential, experts have developed a range of recommendations to help achieve optimal performance. Some of the WebGL best practices are as follows:
- Eliminating errors
getError and eliminate them before the code gets too difficult to fix.
- Understanding browser limitations
The extensions you apply may not be supported by the client’s browser. If you use extensions, think about the alternative ways to deliver the same experiences. Some extensions, however, offer cross-browser operability, so it makes sense to focus on them, as you build your product.
- Understand system limitations
The system the WebGL code runs on may have limitations, and its capacity can be substantially different than that of your system. Hence, your project may have different playback speeds, performances, etc. Yet, WebGL code is usually not so resource-intensive, and many functions will be universally supported.
- Clean your code whenever necessary
Delete objects clear WebGL contexts when you no longer need the rendering results. Cleaning up and deleting the unnecessary elements will help to accelerate code execution.
If you’re familiar with software development, you may also want to check out these pieces of advice, to help you achieve optimal performance of your WebGL apps.
5 Vivid Examples of WebGL Technology
What is WebGL used for?
Let’s now explore what WebGL can do, using these vivid examples. Some of the visual experiences below are truly captivating and successfully demonstrate just what WebGL is capable of.
1. Virtual physics laboratory
In the education segment, WebGL helps create simulations that previously were only possible in a real lab environment. At Visartech, we have built a virtual physics lab, helping students in American Universities to hone their academic skills.
2. Digital jellyfish
These 3D jellyfish look completely real, however, they have been created using WebGL. Note, that you can control such jellyfish parameters as size, speed, count, and water turbulence.
3. ChemDoodle components
4. Anatomic visualizations
A prominent WebGL example, this project by BioDigital visualizes all of the systems in the human body. Provides comprehensive visualization of treatments and diseases, and serves healthcare, scientific and educational purposes.
5. Rome music video
3 Dreams of Black is a music video by Rome made with WebGL. Created by Mirada in collaboration with director Chris Milk this video is quite spectacular and packed with gaming references. A must-see.
Apart from these spectacular examples, a whole software development segment is dedicated to WebGL games. Some of the best browser games powered with WebGL include Shell Shockers, Derby Crash 4, and Bullet Force. Also, consider looking at the Google Experiments showcase of projects made using machine learning and WebGL.
How Much Does It Cost To Build a WebGL Product?
If you aim to leverage interactive 3D graphics for your web project, it’s only logical that you would be wondering about the costs of WebGL development services. The answer to this question will depend on your project’s scope, the type of solution you want to build, the full technology stack, the collaboration model you choose, and many other factors.
Generally speaking, the more complex your project is, the more time it will take to implement it. On average, the salaries of WebGL developers in the US range from $45 to $65 per hour, depending on your WebGL providers’ state of residence. The full cost of your WebGL project is usually calculated upon the completion of the product discovery phase after all the product tech specifications and requirements are carefully laid out.
Do bear in mind, though, that the hourly rates normally don’t include taxes, as well as other perks and benefits that in-house web developers normally request. Hiring an in-house team for a short-term WebGL project could blow your expenses completely out of proportion.
In this regard, hiring an external web development team may prove more justified from a financial standpoint. Besides that, usually, web development companies have a proven track of already implemented web solutions that can clearly show their expertise and add to your tech efforts.
Depending on their location, tech expertise, and some other factors, the hourly rates of web development companies may range from $50 to $120 where you receive the whole package of services – from project management to web development and quality assurance.
Despite the great number of product development agencies offering software product development services, solid WebGL expertise is quite rare. Web developers with relevant knowledge and skills are in high demand. All in all, it always makes sense to look for reputable product development companies with track records of successful web projects and proven expertise in creating 3D canvas graphics for the web.
At Visartech we leverage WebGL as one of the leading edge technologies for game development and extended reality solutions. Apart from tech expertise, we offer technology consulting and full-cycle support of your software products....
Fintech Innovations Revolutionizing the Finance Industry
Every day people spend a whooping figure of around 13 billion US dollars worldwide on online shopping. Generally, it creates a huge market of e-commerce sales estimated at roughly 5 trillion USD per year. And that figure only mounts up. Namely, fintech software makes this revolution happen. And that’s just the beginning!
A Story of a Fintech Startup Path From $0 to $36+ Billion in a Decade
Back in 2010, online shopping was already on the rise. However, the single hardest thing in setting up an online business was hidden under the payments integration. It was really difficult to accept fees on the web. The two Collison brothers started thinking about how to deal with the issue globally. They believed that it all could function a lot easier.
The initial idea was to focus on a technology solution for app developers who can merely integrate it into the e-commerce website or web app instantly. After that, the online retailer could simply accept and pay money. Within just two weeks the brothers have spent on creating an MVP, then performed their first transaction, and within a few years have built a fintech services ecosystem. That’s how Stripe was founded.
The developers’ community has appreciated the efforts in building a fintech product for them. There was almost no competition in the online payments niche. Paypal was the biggest competitor, however, it was more focused on building a product for consumers, rather than developers. Integrating payment API for business use cases into apps, websites, marketplaces at scale was the winning decision of the Collison brothers.
With a focus on developers, Stripe has substituted a lengthy enterprise sales cycle into a fast customer adoption. Amazon, Uber, Shopify, Postmates – all of these giants use Stripe to process payments. Actually, there’s a good chance you have already made a purchase via Stripe, even if you are not aware of it.
Success for the two young startup founders is far from a godsent. The secret souse is in a blend of vision, business acumen, and a little charisma. It all helped them to raise millions of dollars in seeds funding. Within just 4 years the Stripe’s valuation rises above billions. And after a decade, the fintech company is evaluated at US $36 billion.
So, How on Earth Did They Do It?
Let’s see their route to success step-by-step. And possibly replicate it…
Step 1. Solve a Real Problem
While every side of starting an online business became simpler, payments processing has been far from an easy task. That’s how the Stripe idea was born.
With a focus on developers, instant setup opportunities, and flexible scalability, it has won the hearts of even the biggest tech companies like Facebook, Microsoft, Google, and so on.
Step 2. Focus on User Experience
They have been obsessed with customer satisfaction. The fintech product should be easy to use – just copypaste several lines of code and go ahead to enjoy smooth payments processing.
The tech documentation was clear as day that allowed e-commerce brands to integrate payment systems within a couple of hours.
Step 3. Evolve Continuously
Even if you are a trailblazer and a leading fintech company, the competition never sleeps. So to keep the top positions on the market, you should always continue innovating.
Stripe strengthens its leadership by special price offers, a worldwide presence, and custom software solutions built for specific business areas.
These are three simple steps that helped Stripe grew into a huge fintech ecosystem with Forbes 50 enterprises among its clients. Amazing, isn’t it?
So why not replicate this kind of success in the fintech arena? Especially since the market continues to grow and is in such a burning demand for fintech apps able to revitalize the financial sector.
Read also: How Much Does It Cost To Create an App?
Check the popular apps cost & factors influencing the app cost: app type, tech stack, key features, development stages, dev team
Let’s see where the fintech software potential lies and how you can hit the gold mine!
FinTech Market Overview
Adoption and investment in the global fintech niche have literally exploded over the past years. Actually, there are a lot of arguments to make in order to realize how beneficial it may be to use a fintech business model. When it comes to business, the numbers are always among the top priorities.
- The global fintech market is expected to grow at nearly 20% each year and its value should reach US $305 billion by 2025 (GlobeNewswire).
- 60% of credit unions and 49% of banks in the U.S. seriously value fintech partnerships (FinancesOnline).
- 25% of the fintech market holds digital payments processing (McKinsey).
- There are around 12,000 ongoing fintech startups worldwide.
- 46% of global fintech companies believe that artificial intelligence technology is worth investing in.
- 77% of financial institutions are going to keep focussing on operations modernization to increase customer retention (PWC).
- 46% of consumers prefer using only digital channels for personal banking (Singularity University).
- 93% of worldwide companies utilize at least one cloud-based service. (Spice Works)
All these data point to one major fact – technologies are already changing the financial sector and the speed of their adoption is only growing.
Let’s just think about the way modern society manages personal finances. Nowadays consumers increasingly turn to digital-only banks that form a sort of a threat to traditional banking institutions.
Let’s name a few of such fintech giants:
- Monzo: 251 – 500 employees, US $356 million total funding
- Starling Bank: 501 – 1,000 employees, US $354 million total funding
- Robinhood: 501 – 1,000 employees, US $1.2 billion total funding
- Coinbase: 251 – 500 employees, US $547.3 million total funding
- SoFi: 1,001 – 5,000 employees, US $2.5 billion total funding
Seems like the digital banking market is booming. It might be interesting for those looking to invest the capital into some serious and promising venture.
Key Fintech Software Types
Actually, there are many business models available in the fintech arena. Mostly, they have affected the following fields:
- Personal finance
- Electronic payments
- Venture capital
- Wealth management
Let’s see what fintech software you can develop for these financial categories.
Online Banking Software
Digital banking allows consumers to perform transactions online fast and easily, manage accounts, view transaction history and do many other financial things.
Digital banking software utilizes such technologies as AI, chatbots, face and voice biometrics.
Benefits of online banking software:
- 24/7 operating period.
- Increased customers satisfaction due to fast transactions processing.
- Reduced time to market compared to a traditional banking institution.
- Extended customer audience due to bigger accessibility from mobile and desktop devices.
- Easier rebranding.
Key features of online banking software:
- Remittances provide cross-currency funds transfers.
- Chat allows to securely exchange documents and private information.
- Notifications provide users with real-time updates about their banking activities.
- Reports give all data about user spendings and income divided into groups by various factors.
Insurance CRM Software
Such insurance software gives insurers the necessary information about customers and the ability to perform the usual activities on insurance operations management. It includes creating reports, generating documents, and tracking work efficiency.
InsurTech companies use IoT, mobility software, data science, etc. All these technologies allow insurance agents to increase customer satisfaction through personalized offers, control risks, and raise revenue.
Benefits of insurance CRM software:
- Time and cost-efficiency due to operations automatization.
- Boost operational effectiveness when agents are focused on sales rather than paperwork.
- Tighter interactions with customers via digital marketing tools.
Key features of insurance CRM software:
- Task management automates staff management.
- Document generation fills the predefined information automatically.
- Commission tracking provides data about employees’ efficiency.
Loan Management Software
People no longer need to contact banks or credit unions when seeking a loan. Financial technology companies provide lending services in a much more flexible way.
Benefits of loan management software:
- Better performance due to no repeated data entry.
- Improved sales with detailed data about each client.
- Wider cross-selling opportunities.
Key features of loan management software:
- Risk management helps lending companies to evaluate clients before the deal.
- Collections and provisioning help to monitor the situation with delinquent accounts.
Payment Processing Software
Such financial software simplifies payment processing both for companies and individuals. It makes the experience of payment processing much more convenient.
Benefits of payment processing software:
- Boosted efficiency due to operations automation.
- Less staff is necessary for performing the same operations.
- More clients can be attracted due to better customer experience.
Key features of payment processing software:
- Account management gives personal accounts to users with the ability to control the payment flow.
- Instant payments reduce the need to repeatedly enter user’s payment data.
- Dispute management helps to conduct chargebacks if necessary.
- Fraud protection makes sure the user’s money is secured from suspicious actions.
- Analytics helps to control the payment processing activity.
Personal Finance Software
Such fintech solutions allow people to track their financial spendings and develop a personal savings plan.
Benefits of personal finance software:
- Wider customer base due to better user experience.
- Boosted efficiency due to automated operations.
- 24/7 functioning.
- Faster time to market compared to traditional personal bank accounts.
Key features of personal finance software:
- Automatic payments processing via online banking.
- Reminders point out the recurring transactions.
- Reports allow users to control spending.
- Currency conversion lets users exchange currency and make international payments.
Financial Risk Management Software
The regulation and compliance management industry combined with technologies proposes the emergence of the RegTech definition.
Among RegTech software solutions, you can notice financial risk management software. It is responsible for risk-based capital budgeting. This RegTech software can detect and analyze potential risks beforehand. It helps to make the needed actions to minimize or reduce such risks.
Benefits of financial risk management software:
- Legal entities management around the world.
- Uninterrupted business proceedings.
- Platform availability at any place or moment.
- Minimized human error due to processes automation.
Key features of financial risk management software:
- Risk management gathers and analyzes data to minimize risks.
- Automated email notifications are sent upon the configured settings.
- Analytics helps to track professional metrics.
- A security system helps to protect data.
- Compliance task management allows controlling tasks flow.
Top 5 Most Used Technologies in Fintech Development
Looking for the right technology stack for your fintech project? You should consider choosing the one that can become its foundation, meet the project criteria and correspond to the project’s goal. Each programming language is the best choice for a particular purpose.
Among the most popular programming languages for fintech development, the following technologies lead the global fintech market:
Java is probably the most used programming language by financial institutions. However, fintech software needs definite features that Python can manage much better compared to Java or any other programming language.
Major Strategies for FinTech Data Protection
The financial sphere unlike any other requires enhanced data protection as the outcome may be reflected in the money loss. This is like a magnet for cybercriminals.
However, despite the growing number of cyberattacks globally, any company can perform actions to minimize cyber threats. A proactive rather than reactive approach to security eliminates the risks for both the financial company and its customers.
Fintech Security Challenges
The fintech industry holds so huge amounts of sensitive information like bank accounts, passwords, and personal data.
First, let’s consider the existing security challenges in the fintech industry.
- Data ownership
It is important to control the rights delegated to particular people.
- Compliance with security protocols
Fintech companies should strictly follow the regulations and norms of the country where they operate. Otherwise, it may lead to bad consequences.
- Management of third-party components
To provide extended opportunities for customers and not fail with security flows, financial institutions should strictly control each third-party API.
How to Protect Data in Fintech
No worries, any risk can be mitigated by the proper preparation. Let’s check the modern approaches to deal with the above-mentioned challenges.
- Encrypt sensitive data
Data encryption allows encoding data through complex mathematical algorithms. Only specific keys can decode this data.
- Create secure code and architecture
The quality of your application’s architecture and code can not be underestimated. Buggy or messy code is easy to hack. The best way to prevent such flows is to conduct code reviews. Additionally, you can make use of the technology consulting services from a chosen vendor.
- Secure authentication
Most cyber-attacks are conducted via lost or compromised authentication data. Secure and precise identification and authentication are vital for fintech software. There are many techniques developed to secure this data like two-step authentication or SMS verification, etc.
- Code obfuscation
Code obfuscation is an effective way to trick hackers and protect fintech software from cloning.
Top 5 FinTech Companies Revolutionizing The Industry
There are thousands of companies already implementing technologies in the financial sector. Here is a list of top fintech companies transforming the fintech space.
This global payments platform operates in terms of always providing value. Users can easily transfer various items via secure links over any social media or messengers. They can send cash, airtime, coupons, pictures, etc.
What’s more important is that everything is conducted within a single platform. It is a brilliant example of how a simple idea can impact society.
This trendsetting online banking helps users to plan their finances. Simple charts and graphs make the process easy. It is created with a thought about its client.
It sometimes happens that when you lose a card, you need to freeze it. But once you find it, it is a big issue. This fintech solution allows you to turn on and off the card when you need it with a simple touch.
The fintech software provider doesn’t have physical branches, however, it is easily accessible through a global bank.
The fintech startup pushes Point of Sale (POS) systems much further than they are now. It provides free POS software and inexpensive hardware. It is reflected in tiny white squares connected to tablets and mobile devices.
This way small businesses like farmers’ markets or any other tiny stores move to this fintech software. It brings more security to financial operations. Enabling more users to utilize their services, the company is already evaluated at the US $6 billion.
Affirm is a fintech company that provides installment loans to consumers. They cooperate with such giant retailers as Walmart and e-commerce companies as Shopify. This fact hugely influences the wide customers base. Which in turn reflects in a big revenue of around US $600 million.
This fintech project acts as a peer-peer mobile payment platform. It is still a private company that has raised US $135 million of investments. At some point, the fintech company has created an Ethereum coin backed by the USD.
This fintech mobile platform allows exchanging currencies in real-time. It is a distinctive advantage of this company among the competitors.
The Key Ingredients For Success
There are many more top players in the fintech industry who were not afraid of conquering the challenges. Here are some things we can learn from them:
- Search for a market opportunity.
- Offer cost benefits for your consumers.
- Create convenience for users.
- Aim at future growth.
These are the benchmarks of top fintech software companies’ success. Now let’s move on to the trends that you can follow in order to be among the top fintech industry players yourself.
Top 5 FinTech Trends to Watch in 2021
Fintech developments undergo fast so those entrepreneurs, who wish to follow the innovations, will want to keep up. Here are the top trends that will change financial services in the upcoming year.
Big technology companies like Amazon, Microsoft, and Google are already creating the digital infrastructure necessary for wealth management proceedings. Almost 75% of global top entrepreneurs claim they would use these services from the big giants.
The financial advisory services with the artificial intelligence touch have become really popular. It is expected to grow even more – to the US $830 billion by 2024.
There are still too many operations performed manually. It is expected that regulation technology systems will be adopted in a much bigger volume. It is beneficial in both streamlining processes and saving costs.
Learn how to select the best tech stack for your web application
Co-Development And Joint Ventures
Fintech solutions continue replacing the outdated legacy systems on the market. Co-development and joint ventures are expected to appear in places filled with inefficiencies. Fintech software can reduce the sales costs in the back office of traditional financial institutions.
Even non-tech companies are looking for new ways to monetize their services and grow their customer base. Other fintech software companies continue expanding their services and enter other fintech niches like lending, etc.
The bottom line? Fintech is officially a major direction that will transform financial services for good. It is a serious player in the global economy that is rapidly growing and, for sure, here to stay.
Looking at the prospects fintech software can provide and the already functioning top fintech companies, there is a place for deep thought here. What can you learn from their strategies? The most obvious answer is to add a competitive value to your fintech product. That is exactly what made them succeeded in the first place.
However, you can find your own competitive edge – as the market is booming, there is always a certain spot for creativity.
Even if you are not representing the financial industry. As the latest trends state, there is room for everyone willing to monetize their businesses.... More
How To Build A Cloud-Based SaaS Application: An Ultimate Guide
The SaaS market is expanding and is predicted to amount to the staggering US $307.3 billion in 2026. There is no exaggeration – cloud-based SaaS has grown to be a dominant model for software development.
Below, we will uncover the following points:
- SaaS definition, meaning what stands for SaaS products,
- benefits of web-based software as a service,
- existing SaaS app types including the variety of apps in the niche,
- key functionality under software as a service model,
- difficulties that stand in the way of creating SaaS solutions,
- draft a comprehensive strategy for building SaaS services,
- what tech stack and the volume of app development costs involved.
First off though, let’s define software as a service more specifically.
What is SaaS?
SaaS meaning stands for “software as a service”. Put simply:
Software as a service represents cloud-hosted applications accessible via a smartphone or web interface.
The first SaaS apps started getting developed around the beginning of the 21st century. The software tools we use daily, such as Dropbox, Canva, Slack, and Google Docs are, in essence, SaaS platforms.
To see what sets SaaS product apart from conventional software, consider some of these distinct specifics:
There is no necessity to purchase a license to use an application on a software-as-a-service basis. Instead, app vendors charge you a regular fee for a full set of its features.
As the name implies, cloud-based apps are deployed in cloud infrastructure and may be accessed via a web interface or a mobile device.
Users don’t need to buy a new SaaS application version every time the product development team introduces updates. The dev team works on app development continuously, with zero impact on user experience.
Why SaaS Product Is So Popular: Market Overview
The adoption of the SaaS model, is, indeed, increasing across industries. Consider these impressive SaaS business stats:
- Global spendings on SaaS R&D equal almost 20% of all corporate R&D in the US.
- The Asia Pacific and North America are leaders in SaaS adoption.
- Salesforce, the leading SaaS company, with market capital currently exceeding US $210 billion.
- The overall number of players in the global SaaS providers market has reached 15,529 in 2020.
- The market for web-based solutions has been estimated to grow at an 11.7% CAGR during 2020-2026.
Organizations’ efforts to keep abreast of digital transformation are the main reasons for embracing SaaS product development. Companies are also finding it highly beneficial for their businesses.
Advantages of Cloud-Based Model
Cloud-based SaaS solutions are confidently replacing conventional apps installed on local infrastructures.
Let’s take a closer look at what companies find beneficial about SaaS products.
Ease of Setup
SaaS apps are web-based, so no complex setup is necessary. Neither do companies have to acquire infrastructure resources in order to run these cloud-based apps.
If their business expands, companies can easily scale their SaaS solutions. It allows to handle increasing workloads and accommodate more users. With traditional software running on top of an op-prem infrastructure, scalability often becomes an issue.
Convenient Billing Model
SaaS fees are included in the monthly operational expenses, which is easier for most companies to pay than a costly application license. If the SaaS application scales, the fees increase, but there’s no need to invest in additional infrastructure capacities.
Users get to benefit from SaaS software upgrades as soon as they get deployed. With traditional software, to access improved features and added functionality organizations need to purchase and install a new app version.
Companies can use any SaaS application literally whenever they need and from any location, as long as there’s the Internet. With the work-from-home model likely here to stay, accessibility is becoming a must-have.
SaaS products allow users to try them before they actually commit. Rather than investing in an application that may not fully live up to expectations, users can test-drive the app features and see if they meet their needs.
Types of SaaS Apps
Numerous kinds of applications are developed as SaaS solutions. The retail and eCommerce sectors are eager adopters of SaaS products. Wix and Shopify platforms are setting the standards for SaaS product management in the eCommerce industry.
The SaaS offerings, however, are not limited by these categories. Below is an overview of the existing app types on the SaaS product market.
SaaS products for managing interactions with customers help companies keep track of all the customers’ data, automate marketing efforts, provide insights and analytics, forecast future sales, etc. Salesforce, for example, is a leading cloud-based CRM software vendor, but there are numerous other players offering tools for similar purposes.
Project Management Tools
Most companies no longer invest in buying licensed PM software packages. Instead, they use SaaS products like Jira and Monday to manage workflows, assign tasks and track their completion.
For example, such a SaaS product as Slack or Trello combines project management capabilities with collaboration features. The coronavirus lockdown has led to the emergence of web-based video conferencing platforms, such as Zoom, used extensively for both personal and business communication.
Apart from traditional collaboration tools, the new immersive solutions unmistakably stand out. With headsets and access to the Internet, apps like VR сhat or a collaborative platform for business enable users to run in-person meetings in a virtual environment.
Today’s cloud computing services also include SaaS products for billing and financial transactions. Cloud-based billing services like Stripe combine merchant accounts with payment gateways and subscription management capabilities.
At Visartech, we have expertise in SaaS application development which includes building finance management web platforms for families. A loan management system helps customers securely transfer money to their loved ones.
Businesses also use web platforms to create, launch and evaluate promotion campaigns. This is also one of the most densely populated SaaS market segments with platforms like Microsoft Dynamics 365 Marketing among global leaders. Interestingly, while back in 2007 the number of marketing tools hardly reached several hundred, today more than 8 500 apps are assisting in businesses consolidating their marketing efforts.
A trend towards boosting productivity via gamification is now gaining momentum. For businesses, looking to maximize their staff engagement, here at Visartech we helped to build a mobile app for increasing productivity. A gamification app for business accounts for 33% growth in employee productivity. This SaaS application comes both in Android and iOS versions.
Web-based solutions are also replacing conventional enterprise applications. Robust ERP platforms like SAP feature dashboards and data analytics enabling businesses to gain insights into their operations.
Coupled with extended reality technologies, cloud-based sports simulation platforms, such as SkyTrak are prominent examples of how SaaS development can benefit sports enthusiasts. This SaaS software enables users to hone their golf skills and play real-time games in a virtual environment.
- Vertical SaaS Segment
These SaaS product types are specific to a particular business segment. There are web services, targeting construction, HORECA, insurance, manufacturing, or other industries. Veeva, for instance, is a tool for pharma companies enabling them to streamline their operations. Fleetmatics is a SaaS platform for logistics.
Here at Visartech, we have delivered a range of SaaS solutions for the E-learning industry. It includes full-scale digital ecosystems like e-learning platforms for schools and interactive 3D models for colleges equipped with virtual classrooms and course authoring tools. Not to mention, gamification apps for younger kids such as a learn-to-read gamified app.
By contrast, horizontal apps like Asana can serve companies across a number of industries. Dropbox storage service is also an example of a horizontal SaaS app, suitable for individual and business use.
Key Features To Consider While Creating SaaS Apps
As diverse as they may be, SaaS products share some of the essential specifics. If you are planning to build SaaS platforms, here’s a checklist of the main requirements to consider.
- Functional Features
These features will become your users’ primary reason for using your software product. Zoom, for instance, helps users create and manage a video-conferencing environment. While Canva enables them to create compelling graphics using customizable templates.
- Data Analytics
One of the hottest web development trends is integrating analytics tools into SaaS solutions. In the vertical SaaS segment, numerous reports and dashboards help customers gain insights about the success of their business efforts, current trends, etc. Retailers, for instance, may use analytics to track user behavior patterns and measure the success of their marketing campaigns.
- Tools for Managing User Roles
The SaaS solution may have different access layers, so it may be necessary to introduce tools for managing user roles. In Clubhouse, for example, users may act as Listeners, Speakers, or Moderators, and the user roles are very distinct.
Top 8 Steps for Building Software-as-a-Service Apps from Ground Up
As such, SaaS product development is a complex process that requires a clear product roadmap with several logical steps.
Below we will guide you through the SaaS product development process. There you will clearly see the step-by-step roadmap implementation of building cloud-based apps.
Step #1. Research and Create App Tech Specification
Your goal at this point is to collect as much information as possible about your future customers, competitors, trends, and emerging technologies. Combined with information about the shortcomings of competitors’ apps, insights into users’ needs will enable you to come up with a truly unique SaaS product. If you’re contemplating building vertical SaaS business applications, study the developing tendencies in the industry you will be tapping into.
Learn about tech consulting benefits, implementation & costs
At the end of the initial phase of the app development process, you will create a detailed and exhaustive technical specification containing your app’s functional and non-functional requirements and guidelines for product development. It may be the first step to your SaaS MVP development.
Step #2. Define Revenue Channels
How exactly do you intend to earn money with your SaaS solution? It is essential to answer this question before you embark on a full-scale software development project. This is one of the crucial steps for building SaaS apps, since it will determine the structure of your software product – something that can’t easily be undone, so think carefully.
The most widely spread ways to generate income include advertising, subscription, and freemium models. If you will be building a cloud-based marketplace, consider introducing transaction and/or selling fees.
Step #3. Decide on a Cloud Infrastructure Provider
To serve multiple users while securing their data, you need to select a proper cloud infrastructure company. Go for the proven and reputable vendors, capable of maintaining the best encryption and data center security practices. Your SaaS platform will run on cloud infrastructure, so choose the cloud service provider that will deliver an excellent level of scalability, reliability, and performance, capable of supporting third-party integrations.
Step #4. Create an MVP
This isn’t a full-fledged cloud-based solution just yet. Minimum Viable Product (MVP) is a trial application version with only the basic feature set. Deciding which features you will include in your MVP will require planning, though. Implement the features that will have the most impact while being the least financially expensive. Your goal at this point is to convince your investors.
Step #5. Test and Implement Changes
After you release an MVP, collect feedback. The best way to do it is to ask users directly what they like or dislike about your product. At this point, making changes to an app feature set or architecture will be relatively easy and not as painstaking as during further steps. The target group you choose for proof-of-concept testing could later become early adopters of your app.
Step #6. Start the End Product Development
This is the phase when your development team starts coding, using the chosen programming language, toolsets, and frameworks. The use of agile methodologies like Scrum, Kanban, or Extreme Programming, will streamline and accelerate the development while sticking to the specification guidelines and ensuring quality.
Today’s best practices suggest integrating QA testing into every stage of software development. Also, stay in contact with your development team over the course of implementing your SaaS app idea. Your goal is to constantly check if you stay on the same page and are correctly following product specifications.
Step #7. Promotion
We are listing promotion as a separate step, while in reality, it should unfold simultaneously with building your SaaS app. By the time your first release hits the web stores, you should already have a community of fans waiting for the final version.
Step #8. Release and Maintenance
Your SaaS platform or web service is ready for release as soon as you have completed all phases of QA testing. However, you’re not fully done with QA just yet: user acceptance testing will be the final stage of the quality assurance process and will take place after you publish your app.
After the final release, your SaaS developers will have to provide ongoing maintenance and application updates. Your users should be able to easily access tech support if issues arise.
The above software development steps are smooth and consistent. Yet, they by no means eliminate the tech difficulties. The common challenges in cloud-based apps development include:
The software you build will serve multiple customers. Regardless of the kinds of applications developed, cloud-based SaaS architecture should include multi-tenancy. You will also have to impose measures preventing customers (tenants) from accessing other customers’ data.
When building SaaS apps for different types of businesses and user categories, think about making them flexible and configurable for different user needs from the very start. Users should be able to customize the app for a maximum personalized experience.
The web application you build should scale on-demand to accommodate more users or increasing workloads – preferably with zero outages and disruptions. Top-notch scalability is a must for enterprises that can afford zero downtime.
The app you build should include APIs enabling any third-party developer to connect it to any other platform or service used by the organization. Your SaaS platform is likely to be used with other apps and systems, so it’s important to include connectivity into its architecture as you start development.
Ensuring scalability, security, and integration in a cloud environment is a tricky task, so do approach a choice of a cloud infrastructure provider carefully and responsibly.
Apart from a cloud provider, it is also recommended to approach the choice of your tech stack with the utmost consideration.
The Perfect Tech Stack for a Cloud-Based SaaS Product
Picking the best technologies is an essential procedure. According to the current web development trends, technologies commonly used in SaaS development are as follows:
- Backend storage
Consider MySQL, MongoDB, or PostgreSQL when choosing a perfect database for storage management.
The choice of servers is also limited to either Apache or Nginx.
Learn how to select the best tech stack for your web application
Ultimately, your unique application’s specifics will determine your choice of technologies.
Costs to Build a Cloud-Based SaaS Platform
Software development involves expenses, and building cloud-based platforms and services are no exception. To estimate how much exactly it will cost to build a SaaS app, consider its complexity and the hourly rates of your SaaS developers.
Read also: How Much Does It Cost To Create an App?
Check the popular apps cost & factors influencing the app cost: app type, tech stack, key features, development stages, dev team
Put simply, the more features your product includes, the more time it will take to implement them.
To create apps as complex as Slack, developers will have to allocate over 2600 hours of work, including iOS, Android, and UI/UX development. So the development time may take more than a year.
Based on the information from such platforms as Clutch or GoodFirms, the average development hourly rates fall into the range from $50 to $120. This, in turn, reflects in the total development cost of a Slack-like app: $130,000 – $312,000.
Of course, the final calculation will also depend on the qualification of the developers involved in your project. The junior developer’s rate will be considerably lower than that of a senior developer.
How to Find a Development Team For a SaaS Project
If you’re looking to hire SaaS developers, you have three options:
- Looking for freelancers at global marketplaces like Upwork.
- Hiring internal employees to develop a SaaS application.
- Partnering with product development companies.
These options have both pros and cons:
While freelancers may charge less, their expertise and loyalty are questionable and hardly suitable for building a product that needs regular maintenance and updates.
- In-house developers
An internal team gives you confidence and reassurance when it comes to product support and the integrity of the intellectual property. On the downside, the tech expert salaries in the developed economies are notoriously high, not to mention compensation packages, rental of office spaces, taxes, etc.
- Product development companies
Partnering with product development companies, on the other hand, gives you access to global talent pools, and a choice of collaboration models – from full-scale project outsourcing to extending your team to bridge the skills gap.
The SaaS model looks highly attractive for both companies and individuals: ease of entry, flexible pricing, and excellent accessibility make users choose web-based tools and services over traditional software. The prospects of building cloud-based solutions look brighter than ever, yet, there are many challenges and pitfalls associated with web app development.
One of these challenges is the heightened demand for relevant high-tech expertise. To build cloud-based services and platforms, you need an app development team proficient in web development and experienced in creating cloud-based solutions. To strike a delicate balance between pricing and quality, consider hiring a reliable external SaaS development company to help you build a SaaS product that fully meets your business objectives.... More
How Python Programming Language Can Scale Your Digital Product
One of the world’s biggest code hosting platforms, Github places Python on top of its PYPL Popularity index. This ranking is based on how often people search the Internet for coding tutorials. Obviously, there are reasons why they want to tap into Python app development. Other communities, such as Stack Overflow, are also placing Python on top of their rankings.
In this blog post, we will explore:
- what makes Python so popular along with its well-established frameworks,
- what applications of Python can bring the most value,
- how it can propel your software development efforts.
Finally, find the big names of world-famous software companies utilizing Python for their product development at the end of the article.
What is Python?
On average, the number of languages for programming exceeds 700. Released in the nineties, Python is one of the oldest ones. Yet, today it is winning increasingly wider acceptance. So what makes Python stand out?
Whenever you google a Python description, you’re sure to come across the words ‘high-level’, ‘interpreted’, and ‘multi-purpose’. While the latter is easier to understand, the former terms deserve an extensive explanation.
The term ‘interpreted language’ means that the code gets executed immediately, without the need to compile it into the machine script. High-level means it’s high on the scale of abstraction and may even use the elements of human speech. By comparison, a low-level language is so close to an instruction set architecture of a computer, it is almost similar to computer commands.
The Python script is more compact and succinct than other coding languages. It has understandable syntaxis and is easy to master, which probably explains the immense popularity of Python tutorials across the web.
Choosing the Optimal Programming Language for Project
Is Python suitable for any product whatsoever? No programming language is universal, but choosing a tech stack wisely, can surely add to the product’s success.
The main aspects to think about, when determining the language for your codebase are as follows:
- Your product type
Different products demand different skills and expertise. If you plan to build an app for a particular platform, you will need specific skill sets. For instance, you will need Objective-C or Swift to build native iOS apps.
Python, however, is almost universal and has a wide range of use cases. We will explore them further in more detail. Its versatility is one of the main reasons why companies choose Python for business project development to power their development efforts.
- The scope and complexity
How large and sophisticated will be your end product, can also dictate your choice of the technology stack. You can leverage PHP if you plan to build a small-size website or web application, while midsize projects may demand expertise in Java and C#. One way or the other, larger projects will include different modules and integrations. So your tech stack will be more versatile. In this regard, Python is the best programming language for large-scale projects, although, not the ones requiring CPU-intensive tasks.
Your product scalability is an important aspect to consider when choosing a programming language. In essence, scalability refers to a product’s capability to handle increasing workloads, as the business grows. If you need a highly scalable solution, choose a programming language that will scale fast.
Python scripts have to undergo interpretation, to become readable to devices at the machine level. It also has a slightly higher latency than most low-level languages.
As your product evolves, it will need maintenance, support, and updates. So choosing a programming language with a strong support community and knowledge base, is, ultimately, a wise decision. Python has a wide open-source knowledge base and a densely populated community of professionals.
One more aspect to be aware of is the people factor. Do consider the already available expertise of your in-house development team, as well as the access to the development talents. If the coding skill you need is scarce in your area, you may want to reconsider your choice of coding language.
Security considerations are paramount for most industries, especially, finance and medical services. Different technology stacks will have different security capabilities, so don’t take this aspect off count when choosing a programming language.
Admittedly, Python is not completely free from security vulnerabilities. However, it has the lowest vulnerability index among a number of competitors: C, C++, Ruby, PHP, and Java. Notably, it is the most frequent language used as a weapon for hacker attacks.
Learn how to select the best tech stack for your web application
For many applications, Python may turn out to be an optimal language. The use of microservice architecture, however, allows integrating modules written in different languages into one project. Especially the one that is meant to be large-scale and complex.
The Pros of Python for Successful Web Product Launch
Released in 1991, Python has been in use for quite a while now. Decades past, companies are increasingly leveraging it for web development.
So what are its advantages for website launch?
- Short learning curve
For programmers who already know C++ or Java, Python is overwhelmingly easy to comprehend.
It is understandable and intuitive for us, humans. In fact, some experts prefer to call it a scripting language, since it uses scripts translated into machine code. Simplicity is deeply ingrained into its structure. Actually, Python coding principles resemble a Zen manifesto. Fewer lines also make it easier to debug.
- Fast prototype development
In today’s competitive environment, the ability to quickly build a prototype and test a product idea can help companies gain an upper hand. Python is a great choice whenever you need proof of concept.
Python is adaptable, and can easily integrate with other programming languages. Such integrations result in hybrid implementations: Jython, for example, stands for Python + Java, and CPython is a name for integration of Python and C.
- Excellent for backend tasks
Need to incorporate AI and data analytics into your website? Python can help you integrate these and other technologies into a server-side backend. Its top-notch data visualization capabilities enable programmers to create charts and reports for advanced data representation via a website or a mobile app.
- Asynchronous programming
Python supports asynchronous coding patterns, which makes it especially convenient for developers. Asynchronous patterns prevent an application from appearing blocked when performing a resource-intensive task; users can still navigate a UI while an operation takes place.
- Versatile code-libraries, resources, and toolkits
The Python community offers a variety of resources, such as code libraries containing chunks of pre-written code that you can easily integrate into your project. Needless to say, it helps accelerate the development and explains why Python is so immensely popular.
- Great frameworks
Finally, Python has a range of great frameworks that facilitate web development and account for great usability and coding experience.
Below, we will explore popular Python development frameworks in more detail.
Popular Frameworks for Creating Python Apps
The widest range of convenient programming environments is perhaps the most attractive thing about Python development.
There are over 20 frameworks out there, but here we will focus on the most widely used ones: Django, FastAPI, and Flask.
Among different development environments, Django is surely an unmatched favorite. A full-stack framework, great for developing complex applications rich with features, Django provides a lot of ready-made modules for basic app functionality so that developers can focus on building something truly unique.
In a nutshell, reasons for using the Django Python framework include:
With Django, you can build websites and apps capable of scaling on-demand as your business grows, and of processing heavy traffic and workloads.
- Integration with databases
Django works with most of the common databases. It enables developers to pick the most suitable one for a particular project or several databases simultaneously. This feature is not particularly unique, yet, very convenient.
- Focus on accelerated development
Django leverages some of the popular development methodologies, to achieve faster time-to-market.
Interestingly, Django was initially built as a CMS system but later became a full-fledged framework. Apart from web development, companies currently use Python and Django to build:
- financial platforms with data analytics capabilities,
- enterprise-scale CRM systems,
- booking, trade and real-estate platforms,
- document management systems,
- mobile backend.
Flask is a microservice framework and differs from Django in many aspects. Flask provides Python developers with the basic function set (routing, templating, WSGI compliance, and request handling) while offering modular design for anything else that they may want to add.
Flask has a number of tangible benefits:
It allows web developers to build a simple working application with just a few lines of code.
- Extensibility and flexibility
It is possible to install and customize a huge variety of extensions to fit your needs.
As a microframework, Flask has almost no dependencies on external code libraries. It is very minimalistic and operates faster.
- Templates development
Flask enables web developers to copy UI and use it for multiple pages, including variables, when necessary.
- Short learning curve
This aspect makes it an excellent tool for beginning web developers, although they have to know Python in order to use Flask.
Typically, companies use Flask to build web apps, from small to large ones. Websites, blogs and directories, big e-commerce websites, and social networks can all be created using Flask.
FastAPI is a relatively new Python framework that is currently extending its pool of users and becoming mainstream. It is an asynchronous framework, meaning it is intended for writing concurrent code. FastAPI is also the most recent of Python frameworks, inspired by Django, Flask, and another asynchronous development environment, Sanic.
So what’s making FastAPI so special?
- Convenient interface
FastAPI combines Flask simplicity with relevant suggestions and editor support for easy Python development.
- Support of asynchronous programming
This point reduces latency and increases performance.
- Smart dependency management
FastAPI offers a convenient Dependency Injection method to control dependencies.
- Simple integration with databases
Adding and integrating multiple databases is as easy as in the best-of-breed frameworks.
- Comprehensive documentation
Excellent documentation and tutorials are easy to navigate and to learn.
The use case for FastAPI includes high-performance apps, machine-learning modules, or adding extra modules to existing Python apps.
What Type of Apps Can You Build with Python?
As you can see, the list of use cases for Python-powered apps is quite extensive. If you haven’t had a chance to meet the results of Python development, learning exactly what products Python can contribute to may be confusing. Below we are going to spill some light on the subject, so read on.
As of today, app development companies are leveraging Python in areas like:
- Web development
- AI/ML, Data science
- Desktop GUI
- E-commerce apps
- Enterprise applications and ERP systems
- Web parsers
- Game development
- DevOps, etc.
Read also: How Much Does It Cost To Create an App?
Check the popular apps cost & factors influencing the app cost: app type, tech stack, key features, development stages, dev team
Python Applications per Industries
The use cases by industry are equally revealing. The business applications for Python continuously extend as companies embrace digital transformation. Today, the industries leveraging Python for product development include:
Python has been acknowledged as the main programming language for fintech apps and platforms. It’s not just the fintech startups, though. Market incumbents, for example, Bank of America, have taken serious steps to shift from their legacy software and to create apps with Python.
Healthcare providers use Python-driven data analytics and machine learning in predictive diagnostics, reading medical images, patient care management, and personalized medicine.
Recommendation engines, suggesting movies and songs based on previous choices and preferences are vivid examples of how Python is used in entertainment.
Retailers leverage Python for customer behavior analysis, targeted advertising, predictive planning, creating personalized offers and loyalty programs, etc.
In manufacturing, Python is used to create custom enterprise applications and ERP systems.
Using Python for MVP Development
For budding startups, fast prototype development can literally become a matter of life and death. That is why entrepreneurs across industries turn to custom Python app development to quickly build and test their MVPs.
Python is a popular choice for MVP development, and app development companies prefer to use the Django framework.
The reasons for Python Django development are obvious:
Python emphasizes simplicity, which accounts for fast product development.
For making a prototype in Python, Django development has yet no rival: its code libraries enable web developers to easily build common features and save valuable time.
Django architects apps in a manner that lets the developers easily scale them when necessary.
Why tech documentation is crucial and what happens without it
Ultimately, Python on a Django framework allows you to quickly build powerful apps that will scale as your business expands.
Top Apps Built With Python
Saving the best for last, here’s an overview of the different kinds of applications developed with Python. Some of these names may include your long-term favorites.
Initially, the world-renown image-sharing network was built with Python as a simple website on the Django framework. Surely, since then the company’s tech stack has gotten more complex. Still, Instagram started off as a Python-powered website.
Simplicity is the reason why the Instagram tech team chose Python in the first place. Currently, as the pool of users extends, they are reaping the benefits of its scalability and efficiency.
One of the world’s best music apps, Spotify uses Python as its core programming language and is written on asynchronous frameworks. The application’s backend system is powered by Python by 80%, although it includes other interdependent services written in Java or C and C++.
The speed is what the Spotify team loves about Python since it places high importance on time-to-value.
This popular Internet TV service with its recommendation engine winning over 33 million subscribers worldwide is also built with Python. Netflix devs are free to pick the optimal tech stack for their tasks, and, notably, they were increasingly choosing Python since 2013.
Netflix devs choose Python over other languages for a variety of reasons. Among them are the wealth of libraries and resources, clear syntaxis, and large developer community.
The creators of this ride-sharing service have been initially contemplating Ruby but found Python more suitable for their purposes. The Uber platform performs a lot of mathematical calculations that Python handles better. Also, it works effectively with data visualizations, which is important for Uber.
A short learning curve is one more aspect making it so attractive: amidst the shortage of developers, hiring the ones with working knowledge of Python helps close the staffing gaps.
Being the largest social network, Facebook has an immense impact on the world in general. The company technology stack is a complex mix of interconnected services.
However, according to the Facebook team, Python accounts for 21% of the platform’s code. App developers use it for two purposes:
- production engineering,
- to ensure infrastructure scalability.
Google is now a synonym for Internet search. From the very start, the creators of the world’s top search engine decided to use Python whenever they could to provide fast development and easy maintenance, and C whenever low latency was crucial.
By now, it would be no exaggeration to say that Google is one of the heaviest Python users. Another Google service, the world’s largest video streaming platform Youtube is written almost entirely in Python.
These names speak for themselves. Obviously, apart from the efficient tech stack, these world-famous apps and services have other prerequisites of staying on top of the game, including successful business models. However, it looks like Python could be an important part of their success.
The range of Python business use cases keeps extending. As of today, it is increasingly used in web, app, and enterprise product development. Surely, Python has its limitations, such as a slightly higher latency. Yet, the seamless integrations with other programming languages make it almost universal.
With a robust developer community, rich code libraries and resources, and a number of diverse development frameworks, Python has all it takes to become your instrument of choice for propelling your business forward.
Python enables you to accelerate development, create MVPs fast, and test them for acceptance. Moreover, it helps to drive digital transformation with emerging technologies, and build reliable and scalable future-ready software solutions.... More
The Importance of Sound Design in Video Games
Sound design is not so much about making a game good-sounding but improving the game with sound.
Audio producers arrange great game sounds in a way that players don’t notice. The sound is just taken for granted, and indeed it is. The player doesn’t have any dissonances between things happening on the screen and sound perception during the game.
What Does Sound Design Stand For?
“The last 10% of game design is really what separates the good games from the great games. It’s what I call the clean-up phase of game design. Here’s where you make sure all the elements look great. The game should look good, feel good, sound good, play good.”
Sound producers make a game truly impactful through sound effects that fit the picture players see. This could be the sounds of the environment, echoes of objects invisible to the player, noise of potential opponents.
Sound design is the process of creating sound elements for video games. It includes music, voiceovers, foley, etc. Correspondingly, a sound designer’s responsibility lies in creating and setting up a variety of custom audio libraries that best fit a particular project’s needs.
The sound design aims to provide a player with an engaging and fun experience. That’s why sound designers convey the right feelings to the player following the game’s purpose.
Why Video Game Audio Matters?
Sound design plays an important role in video games. It helps to expand the experience that the player gets during the gameplay in a different way.
Generally, there are 3 main aspects of sound design use as a powerful tool in video games:
1. Information or tips about the world and what is happening around:
- The player was shot.
- Warnings of the enemy’s attack.
- Monsters’ sound in the background.
Listen to the example of the last one:
2. Feedback on player’s actions:
- Mario eats a mushroom and becomes bigger.
- A player makes a headshot.
- Sonic collects rings and it makes a sound effect.
Just listen to how the rings collections sound:
3. Emotional manipulation
The sound maintains a player’s emotional state by emphasizing the tense or relaxed atmosphere at a particular moment of the game. In survival horror you can observe the following:
- Giggling in the background.
- Creepy footsteps.
Here is a good example of the scary footsteps:
So having a great sound arouses the corresponding tone and mood in a video game, indicating the current location and giving feedback. Even simple sounds of footsteps can suit a neutral state of a game. Or suppose you hear someone walking slowly, grappling their feet – there is a certain tension, isn’t it? All these feelings that you experience happen thanks to the sound.
Sound Design Implementation
In-game audio effects have to be fun and exciting since they keep players involved. Different video game sounds can produce such an effect. Let’s go through the main ones.
- Ambient Noises
It is an extended sound in the background. A player hears the sounds of leaf rustling, birds chirping, creaking forest.
The music emphasizes a certain mood of a particular scene or produces an emotional effect on people playing a game. For example, a player walks through the forest and ends up near the boss’s lair and the music informs the player about it at once.
- Voice Overs
Typical examples of such sound effects could be simple dialogues. Nevertheless, sound designers can also use voices for other purposes. For instance, a player has made a headshot, and the voice of the in-game commentator claims “Headshot!”.
- SFX (Sound Effects)
Various sounds are designed to sharpen the player’s attention. It can be the sound of some spell-castling, a shot from a Tesla cannon, etc.
- Foley (Synchronous Sounds)
This could be the case when sounds match with the view a player sees. Let’s say we have an animation of pulling the sword out of its scabbard, and this character`s action is followed by a specific sound. So the scene wouldn’t be so effective without it.
Of course, there are many other ways to enhance the player’s experience through sound design. These are just the main ones that significantly influence the overall atmosphere of the video game.
Is Proficient Sound Design Important?
Video games are becoming considerably popular and captivating. Game developers can cram sophisticated graphics and interactive options into them. But visuals, game mechanics, and game audio are complex units.
It’s worth collaborating with a team of professionals who can do both: develop a video game and provide an excellent sound design. Since they know the specifics of the game and can incorporate all the elements into audio.
The work on the high-quality sound is not about surfing the Internet and finding stock sound effects. It involves clear thinking, planning, researching, and creating along with polishing sounds and making them fit the game’s world.
How to Make Sound Effects for Games?
We have an inclination to refer to sounds at the end of game development. It may enable us to refer to turnkey solutions when we work on our own game prototypes or certain video games.
But it is a bright idea to embrace the world of sound varieties and try out creating your own sound effects. It will help to keep the individuality and creativity of each sound.
To modulate sounds you should use DAWs (digital audio workstations) such as Reaper or Albeton. They can help you combine and layer sounds through volume automation, saturation, and pitch. It’s also worth using sound engines such as FMOD and Wwise. They will help you to adapt sounds to your gameplay and set the right logic.
How Much Does It Cost to Make Sound Effects for Video Games?
Various factors influence the sound design cost. To make a sound estimation properly, you have to take into account the following influencing factors:
- The number of services necessary for a particular game (sound supervision, foley, dialogue editorial, re-recording mix, deliverables),
- The hours for audio development,
- The professional expertise of sound designers.
For instance, if you take the most popular and simple type of games like a hyper casual game, creating SFX will include the next features:
So the total time necessary for the sound development of a hyper casual game is around 48 hours. With the average sound designer rate of $30 – $100 per hour, the sound design costs are expected to fall in a range from $1,440 to $4,800.
The importance of game audio is obvious. The thought-out sound effects help players to submerge into the virtual reality of the game environment. Sound effects make the player’s journey more exciting and enjoyable.
Sound design is an essential part of every game development workflow. Moreover, it’s crucial to create audio effects that can truly complement the game’s purpose.... More
A Detailed Guide To Developing A Social Media App Like Clubhouse
The success of Clubhouse is one of the main talking points these days, but is the idea behind the app actually completely unique and unreplicable? We take a detailed look at Clubhouse, its features, and whether you can make an app like Clubhouse.
Within less than a year after launch in April 2020, Clubhouse has crossed around 11 million downloads globally. The rise to fame of the Clubhouse social app was very consistent from the start, but its popularity skyrocketed at the beginning of 2021. This is where some of the most iconic personalities from the world of tech, including Elon Musk and Mark Zukerberg, not only admitted to using Clubhouse but also engaged with other users on the platform.
Since then, Clubhouse saw a meteoric growth and we are now living in a new Clubhouse social media era. So why is the Clubhouse as popular as it is, are there any competitors to take into account, and how to go about building your own audio-chat app with the highest probability of success? This is our ultimate guide to the Clubhouse application development.
Audio-Chat Social Networking Apps: Market Overview
Audio-chat social networking apps may not exactly be a novelty. They have existed before, but Clubhouse put the whole scene under a new kind of spotlight. Clubhouse’s rise to popularity coincided with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. When people spent more time at home and isolated than ever. This is when most of the conversations were already happening in the online realm but lacked humanity because the majority of them were text-based. Clubhouse became a welcome alternative to chats and text posts.
Clubhouse has already attracted millions of users, including celebrities like Drake and Oprah Winfrey, as well as key tech personalities. It’s also one of the most buzzed-about apps of 2020 and 2021. Shortly after its launch in 2020, Clubhouse was valued at $1 billion, and the number has undoubtedly gone up since then.
Clubhouse App Competitors
Clubhouse may have some standout features of its own, but it’s in no way a completely unique service and there are plenty of competitors that achieved various degrees of success:
- Discord was originally intended for gamers but has recently rebranded itself as a place for everyone to talk.
- Spoon is an app that allows people to talk and listen to various conversations, as well as for the speakers to get paid.
- Spaces feature on Twitter, where Twitter users can talk directly to their followers.
Even Facebook is already rumored to be developing its own version of a voice-chat app. Clearly, the audio-chat market is booming right now and waiting for its next major player following the success of Clubhouse.
What Is the Clubhouse App?
Clubhouse is an audio-chat social networking app. It was launched in the early spring of 2020 and is developed by Paul Davison and Rohan Seth. Those two developers are also the personalities behind Talkshow, an app that is now defunct but used to allow people to have text conversations in public. With Clubhouse, Davison and Seth took things to the next level and allowed people to communicate only by voice.
Clubhouse does not cater to a specific group of people. Inside the app, there are conversations on nearly any topic, from mental health and writing inspiration to feminism, learning new languages, and pop culture. There are even rooms that stream music 24/7.
Still, the fact that the first users on Clubhouse were the key players in Silicon Valley and startup founders around the world, the app became one of the top spots for communicating with venture capitalists, mentors, and other members of the tech elite. It has also become a powerful business tool.
Social Media Apps Benefits for Business
So how exactly can a business take advantage of Clubhouse and apps with similar functionality? Here are just three of the biggest benefits of apps like Clubhouse for a business:
- Grow your business. Clubhouse and other voice-chat apps allow you to build an audience of people who can be potential customers of your business. You can first attract them with valuable content related to their industry and show off your expertise. When they recognize you as an industry leader, they will be more likely to choose you to do business with.
- Hold meetings for a wide audience. Compared to other audio-chat apps and services, Clubhouse gives you an opportunity to broadcast your ideas and other valuable information to more listeners at once. With the maximum meeting capacity of 100 users on Zoom and a 1,000-user capacity on Google Meet, the 5,000-user limit on Clubhouse looks like a major upgrade.
- Connect with people from your industry. With the variety of topics discussed on Clubhouse every day and the endless range of experts using the app, you can find the right person for any situation. Whether you are looking for a new employee, a new partner, or someone to collaborate with on your next project, Clubhouse and similar apps give you plenty of opportunities to do that.
Clubhouse is an invite-only app at the moment and it’s only available for iOS devices. The company behind Clubhouse is said to already be working on the Android version of the app, but there is no exact release date given yet.
That is why there is a big possibility that some of its potential competitors will be faster to roll out their own voice-chat apps that will rival for popularity and revenue with Clubhouse. The company that gets there first will likely reap all the benefits.
How Does Clubhouse Work?
Clubhouse is an app that allows users to communicate with other people exclusively by using their voice. Clubhouse does not allow users to exchange photos or create text posts. The entire app revolves around voice conversations, and it definitely seems like this business idea is a big hit with the audience.
One of the most important concepts of Clubhouse is rooms. A room is a space dedicated to a certain topic or interest. Each room has a name, a description, and a list of members. A list of all available rooms is visible on the launch screen of the app. Users can join any room as a listener, but all listeners are muted by default. Those who want to contribute to the conversation, need to virtually raise their hand. If the speakers allow a person to chime in, the user’s mic will be unmuted. There is also an option to create new rooms and invite people to them.
An important difference between Clubhouse (and apps that offer similar functionality) and other voice chat apps is spontaneity. Clubhouse does not rely on schedules or plans, meaning you can join and leave rooms any time you like. There can be scheduled talks, but the most noteworthy things on Clubhouse are unplanned. That is why a user needs to be online most of the time in order not to miss the most interesting talks. You can also set up notifications for that.
The Most Notable Features of Apps Like Clubhouse
The functionality of the Clubhouse app and what you can do on the app are rather clear. But how is it achieved? Here are the most important features you will find on Clubhouse that are also must-haves for apps with a similar premise:
- Profile. User personal profiles contain all the information they want others to know about them. For example, a business owner can describe the business area in the bio. There is also an option to include links: they can be links to a corporate website, a personal website, or a social media profile.
- Rooms. On a voice-chat app, communication cannot just take place in an open space. Otherwise, once there is enough content, your ideas and insights can be lost in the never-ending stream of information. That is why all chats should be divided into rooms based on people’s interests.
- Moderation. Leaving an audio-chat app to function on its own will undoubtedly lead to offensive content, harassment, and other negative aspects of human communication. Moderation may not seem like a must-have feature at the moment, but it will definitely pay off in the long run.
- Invites. Choosing an invite-based system for a new app can be a double-edged sword. On one hand, it will likely improve the quality of the content inside the app. On the other hand, your growth may be slower and users who cannot get an invite for some time can eventually lose interest in the app.
- Sharing. Clubhouse and similar apps are social networking apps first and foremost. That is why the social aspect is essential for those apps. Giving users an opportunity to share the rooms and scheduled talks via email and social media will increase your user base and attract new users to the app.
5 Steps to Developing an App Like Clubhouse
Looking at the success of Clubhouse, the idea of developing an app with a similar or improved functionality seems very attractive.
But how to go about it and what does the process of mobile app development include in this case? Whether you are already planning to hire mobile app developers or are simply weighing your options, here are the 5 steps you’ll need to take on the way to your own app like Clubhouse.
Step #1. Do Your Research
Research is essential for developing a successful app. You cannot just create a complete clone of Clubhouse since it won’t have any real advantage over its closest competitors.
You need to research the market to see what the customers want to see in voice-chat apps and what can give you an edge over your rivals. Market research is also required to understand who your target audience is and how to market your app once it’s ready.
Step #2. Create Your MVP
Understandably, you want your app to look exactly like you’ve imagined it from the start. However, it’s rarely feasible and you will likely need to start with an MVP version of the app.
The MVP version of a new app includes the most essential functionality but can omit some of the nice-to-have features in favor of quick and cost-effective app development. Then, as you roll out the app, you can decide which features to add next.
Step #3. Work on Your Design
When there are several apps that share similar functionality, one of the few ways to get an edge is to make your design stand out. An appealing design with a well-planned user experience will give your users a reason to choose you over your competitors.
An intuitive, streamlined design is not a substitution for valuable functionality, but it can add to the satisfaction users feel from using your app. It goes without saying that bugs and crashes should be instantly addressed.
Step #4. Market Your App
A good way to create momentum for your new app is to get people to talk about it before it’s even released. There are several solutions for getting your app out there.
To begin with, you can work with influencers by making them early adopters of your product and spreading the word about it to their followers. App Store Optimization, or ASO, is also an effective solution. Launching a blog on your website that is targeted at a specific audience can be another excellent way to promote your app.
Step #5. Ask for Feedback
Right after the early adopters get their hands on your new app, you should begin collecting and analyzing feedback.
The way customers interact with your app, any problems they may have with it, and their suggestions for improving the app can give you some valuable ideas. You can then do a lot for improving the application, making it more accessible to the users, and building a trusted relationship with your customers.
Technology Stack For the App
As any industry expert will tell you, there are several vital factors affecting the success of the app development process, but none of them is probably as important as the technology stack you choose for your application. This is especially true for apps with innovative functionality. A reliable app development company offers a comprehensive tech stack that can cover any of your app development needs. But what is the technology required for developing an app like Clubhouse?
Clubhouse doesn’t talk publicly about its technology stack, but it didn’t prevent tech experts from taking a close look at how Clubhouse is built.
Different app development companies can have a different approach to recreating the most essential features of Clubhouse. Still, the core technology of Clubhouse and any audio-chat social networking app is the voice communication capability. If you don’t want to develop this technology from scratch, there are plenty of voice APIs available in the market right now.
Factors That Affect the Final Price
The cost of app development is a complex notion with numerous factors affecting the final price. It’s even more true for Clubhouse, which occupies a relatively new and uncrowded niche.
However, it’s not going to stay uncrowded for too long, as companies are now rushing to develop their own audio social media apps and get a chance to compete with Clubhouse. So how exactly are the media app costs defined and which factors influence the final price? When you are thinking about developing a media mobile app, these are the main price factors to consider:
- Audience and functionality. Is your app only going to be used by a certain niche of customers or is it going to be open to all kinds of users? What kinds of features, if any, are you going to include in your app besides the audio chat feature? Those are just some of the questions you need to answer when developing social media apps from scratch.
- The complexity of the app design. There are some examples of popular social networking apps that don’t feature the most complex design and win users over with their bare functionality. But they are fairly rare. In most cases, you need to invest as much effort and money into the UI of the app as you do in its functionality.
- Platform and device support. Is your app going to be distributed exclusively on iOS, Android, or Windows Mobile, or is it going to support all of the above? Are you only targeting smartphones or will your app also work on tablets? Making your social media app widely available increases your customer base but makes it more expensive to develop.
- Maintenance. The process of media app development keeps going after the release. There is work to do after your app goes live. You need to research the changes in the smartphone software and hardware industries, as well as follow the digital world development to make sure your app stays up-to-date. At the very least, your app needs to be updated once a year, although more frequent updates are preferable.
Clubhouse App Development Cost: MVP Version
After seeing the success of Clubhouse and finding out that audio-chat social networking apps are a somewhat new niche, you are probably wondering: can I develop an app like Clubhouse, and what does it take? In case you’re thinking about how much money Clubhouse application costs to develop and what is the minimum budget for your project, here is what we have to say.
A good idea is to start with an MVP or Minimum Viable Product version of an app. An application with the most essential functionality but not a lot of user experience features is cheaper and faster to create. It also gives you an idea about which features are particularly essential to your users and how the app can be changed in the subsequent versions of the app.
Clubhouse Core Features
So what does the MVP of an app like Clubhouse include? These are the must-have features for an app like Clubhouse:
- Rooms, where users can voice-chat about a topic while others can listen. Users need to have an opportunity to mute and unmute themselves as they wish.
- Clubs, where users can form groups based on their interests. The clubs can be open to everyone or work on an invite basis.
- Contacts, where users can add friends based on their interactions in the clubs or chat rooms, or find people from their phone’s contact list.
- Feed, where users can discover new and interesting rooms and clubs to join, as well as see the latest activity from their contacts.
- Profiles, where users can fill out their profile information, add a profile picture and interests.
- Invites, that allow users to invite people from their contacts or via email.
The overall cost of developing an audio-chat social networking app like Clubhouse will depend on the number of features you want to include in your app and the app development company you hire to work on your project.
How Much Does It Cost to Develop an App Like Clubhouse?
To beat the competition with Clubhouse, you need to create a complex social media solution including backend, frontend, web infrastructure, and iOS/Android mobile apps. Let us look at the cost of each of these components in detail.
Backend Development Cost of Clubhouse-Like App
The backend part is what drives the whole app to work in the most logical and correct way. It is the brain of the app. No wonder, the backend is the most complex and demanding side of any application.
Below we’re gonna show you the rough estimation of the minimum and maximum amount of hours required for the backend development of an app like Clubhouse.
Let us emphasize that it may differ depending on the structure of the app development team and the level of engaged professionals. This one is considered to take into account only specialists with an average skill set.
|Cloud infrastructure setup||32||48|
Frontend Development Cost of Clubhouse-Like App
The same approach in estimation relates to frontend development and web administration functionality creation.
|User lists review||24||32|
|Ability to suspend users||16||24|
|Ability to create events & rooms||24||32|
Mobile App Development Cost of Clubhouse-Like App
Here is the most exciting part as the Clubhouse app is more of an iOS mobile app. Since there is currently no Android app, every business has all opportunities to beat the Clubhouse competition winning the attention of Android device users. Here is some rough estimation of how much you may invest to reach it.
|Social interactions (follow, Block)||16||24|
Concluding the rough estimation made by our business analysts, the total amount of development time for the Clubhouse-like app development ranges from 1368 to 1856 hours.
Depending on the app development company and their geography, the total Clubhouse-like app cost may vary:
- Eastern Europe. $68,400-$92,800 (based on $50/h)
- Central and Western Europe. $136,800-$185,600 (based on $100/h)
- USA. $205,000-$278,400 (based on $150/h)
- Australia. $136,800-$185,600 (based on $100/h)
That’s not to mention, that if you will want to add more cutting-edge features eventually, the price will likely go up, especially when you wish to use specific technology in your project.
As for the total development time, it may reach around 4-6 months with the development of the aforementioned functionality. So you better hurry up!
If you wish to get a more detailed estimation of your own social media app, contact us directly!
Which Industries Are Beneﬁting From Social Networking Apps?
A social media application is one of the most in-demand types of apps in the app development business of today. If you look at the big picture, nearly every industry can benefit from having a dedicated social networking app. Here are the five industries with the most sizeable benefits from social network apps:
E-commerce is an industry that continues to thrive and is actually one of the few industries that were not negatively affected by COVID-19. Social networking can do wonders for e-commerce, bringing the retailers and the customers together over their shared interests.
Finance is typically imagined as an industry with little to no human interaction, but this is actually not entirely true. Finance can be one of the industries to benefit from social networking apps because regular customers will always want to hear from the industry experts and share the latest insights.
Healthcare is an industry that is absolutely essential but its level of accessibility is not the same for different categories of customers. A healthcare social networking app can be an effective solution to this problem. With the help of this app, patients and healthcare professionals will get a convenient and widely accessible way to interact.
Technology is another industry where it seems like there are limited opportunities for interaction between the business and its customers. However, technology is also an industry with the fastest development speed. Customers will always want to stay in the know and a social media platform can help them with it.
Media is an industry where communication is downright essential and can enrich the customer experience. Whether you deal with the news, TV, music, or other types of media, a dedicated social networking app can help you build a stronger connection to your customers and turn them into loyal followers.
Clubhouse may not have been the first voice-based app, but it’s an app that came farther than any of its competitors to date. However, there is still room for a new audio-chat app to arrive and to revolutionize the industry.
With a bright idea, a focused approach, and a reliable partner to execute app development services, success won’t keep you waiting. Entrust your business to experienced media app developers and make your idea work!... More