How to Build Your Startup Technology Stack Real Fast Without Investing Any Money.

Unfortunately Parse is closing down in 2017, but we have found a great and actually local (to us) service: AppStax.

We built our first shippable product #lillygram in six weeks. This was possible in part because we made some smart choices about our technology stack. Here are some of them.

Parse dressed i white.

Do you want to save lots of money and hundreds of hours of coding while building your product?

Backend-as-a-Service (Parse.com)

Using a Backend-as-a-Service (BaaS), also known as Mobile Backend-as-a-Service (MBaaS), was an obvious strategy for us. It enabled us to make our Minimal Viable Product in a matter of weeks, without having to think about databases, hosting and scaling. It likely saved us hundreds of hours of coding.

There are many BaaS-providers out there, but our choice fell on Parse.com – mostly because we were already familiar with it.

Parse.com offers SDKs for a variety of platforms, including JavaScript which suited our project well. The JavaScript SDK is based on the Backbone.js project. Since we use Backbone.js for our client application (see below), it is a very good match.

Another nice feature of Parse.com is that it allows us to deploy code and expose it to our application via the SDK or through a REST API. The only thing we are missing are integrated tests and scheduled tasks. Scheduled tasks has been added to Parse.com’s services since this article was published.

Most of the BaaS-providers have a free tier basic service, including Parse.com. So far, we are well within our API limits.

Client-side JavaScript application (Backbone.js)

We decided to write our application with the client-side JavaScript web framework Backbone.js.

The major benefit for us is that we don’t need to run a server-side web scripting or application environment. We only need to serve our static assets (HTML, CSS, JS) from a simple web server, and the rest happens on the client’s web browser.

A notable business using Backbone.js is Delicious.

The combination of Backbone.js and Parse.com makes our application environment extremely light-weight.

Git Hub Cat

Web hosting (GitHub Pages)

Since we are only serving our clients static assets, we were able to deploy it using Github Pages. It is very simple to deploy, especially since we are already using GitHub for our source code repositories.

This one is really a matter of taste though. We could use any web server capable of serving static assets, and there are plenty of affordable and even «freemium» services out there that we could have used instead.

Parse.com actually enables us to serve our web app from their servers, but we decided against it for now, since we have to move to a paid plan in order to use our own domain.

Payment solution (PayPal)

We originally built a payment solution using PayPal’s new REST APIs, but (I) failed to read the docs properly. We found out just before launch that we could not use it without a US business and bank account.

Read more about our first hurdle my mistakes in a previous blog post.

Our current solution involves some manual work. We have a PayPal-button that let users pay, but we have to manually register the payment in our system and update the user’s «credit balance».

For now , it is a low-investment part of our stack, and it requires little maintenance. It also fits the idea of «concierge MVP«.

Our only cost with PayPal is a percentage of all transactions.

Please share your experiences with some of the tools or with development of a Minimal Viable Product in general.

Unfortunately Parse is closing down in 2017, but we have found a great and actually local (to us) service: AppStax.

15 kommentarer om “How to Build Your Startup Technology Stack Real Fast Without Investing Any Money.”

  1. Thank you fro a great blogpost Mr Støwer. I am trying to learn about the technology side of this business, and this was really useful. My experience with this tech stack is only from observing you guys and it seemed like you had fun. 😀

    1. Yeah, I should have mentioned that 🙂 We did have lots of fun along the way!

      I appreciate that you want to learn about the tech side of the business. A lesson from «The Phoenix Project»-book that I told you about: If your business is heavily dependant on tech, then understanding how is very important.

  2. Interesting read! I will most likely use paypal for a non profit organization in no so long. As for the other parts of you stack, I might bump into some of those as well, as I am moving into web development at work these days. Anyway, thanks for a great post, and good luck with the Lilly projects!

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