How your choice of tech can help you grow

29th Oct '183 of your Earth minutes

How your choice of tech can help you grow

I’ve been working at Elvie for almost 2 years. My remit has been to migrate our systems from the slightly dated homebrew framework that we launched on to an open source alternative for many reasons, but primarily for scale and security.

I chose Laravel after a reasonable look into all the major PHP frameworks (and some non-PHP ones). My familiarity with Laravel definitely played a part in that decision, but my review was deeper than a cursory thought about my own personal preferences.

Making architectural choices for scaling your business

As I said, one of the primary reasons for selecting an open source framework was for scale.

In this case, I’m not talking about scaling an application. That is an important technical consideration too (and one that I confidently believe Laravel will support), but here I’m talking about scale in the context of the team.

If you’re determined to roll with an in-house framework that (a) new hires will never have had any exposure to beforehand, (b) has limited, poor or non-existent documentation, and (c) isn’t being updated on a regular basis is absolutely going to inhibit your ability to scale your team.

Most commonly this is a problem when a technical founder or early technical hire is wedded to their homebrew framework or tech choices and enforces a rule that there’s no way that tech can be changed.

I was lucky. Our CTO was aware of this problem and we worked together early on to make the choice of tech for our new developments. He’s also one of the most pragmatic developers I’ve ever worked with and isn’t personally invested in any particular tech choices — an attitude I hope to reflect myself.

Making architectural choices for securing your business

Again, app security is a massive priority but that’s not what I’m talking about. Security in this case is about making sure your tech choices create a stable platform for future growth.

Going with a well-known framework used by a pool of hundreds or thousands of developers is definitely better than a homebrew framework that only one or two people know really well, but how well is that framework supported?

Is it the brain-fart of a talented developer who shifts from project to project like a hummingbird in search of the their next hit of intellectual stimulation? Is it continuing to gather new developers?

Is its community a positive and inclusive one that’s growing passionate individuals who enjoy their craft? Or is it the complete opposite: in decline, occupied by increasingly hostile and defensive developers grasping firmly onto their basket full of eggs?

Is the technology going through constant breaking changes from a gaggle of developers who simply can’t agree on a way forward, or is it being carefully shepherded by a small group (or just one) with a clear vision?

I present extremes here for effect, but it’s worth noting that there is a middle ground where a well-established and supported technology is net stable and is just coasting along happily. There’s nothing wrong with choosing these as long as they align with your business needs — if you’re needing to scale quickly and there’s not a flood of new devs pouring into the top of the funnel, then you may find it tricky (read ‘expensive’) to coax devs from their established positions.

Answering (or trying to find answers to) these questions, honestly, may help you to find the right technology that’s going to enable whoever you hire to do their best work with minimal pain and frustration.

These are the primary reasons why Elvie has chosen Laravel as its platform for now: it’s got a vast and growing community of inclusive and talented developers and we see it being very stable with a lot of developers learning Laravel or looking to learn it.

We’re hiring!

If this sounds like the sort of environment that you’d like to be working in, please apply to come and work along with us. You could help to shape the future of technology for half of the world’s population.

#notadesigner • #sometimesitworks

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