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 For the past 6 years, we have been named one of Denver's Top Web Development Firms by the Denver Business Journal.  Every year, the Denver Business Journal performs a comprehensive analysis of the industries in the Denver area, identifying the leaders that drive the local economy.

So, what's the big deal?  It's not really the award we care about.  It's the growth.

The majority of our business comes from referrals and in order to keep growing, we have to do a good job for our clients and continue to generate results. We are more proud of the fact that our clients continue to refer their friends and business associates to us...that means we are providing value to our clients and keeping their trust.

How to choose the right development framework for your project.

Choosing the right platform to develop your website or web application can mean the difference between creating a flexible application that reduces long term costs or feeling like you are in a jail cell and serving 20 years to life.  Alright, that's an exaggeration but you've heard the nightmares from Entrepreneurs and Small Business website owners who have tried to build a something online only to be told of numerous issues they had in developing the platform.

Choosing the right platform to develop your website or web application can mean the difference between creating a flexible application that reduces long term costs or feeling like you are in a jail cell and serving 20 years to life.  Alright, that's an exaggeration but you've heard the nightmares from Entrepreneurs and Small Business website owners who have tried to build a something online only to be told of numerous issues they had in developing the platform.

Many of these issues could have been handled from the start by choosing the right web development team as well as choosing the right platform to build your application or website on.

In today's market there are many tools and platforms available for building web sites and web applications. The most widely used platforms can be classified as one of three types:

  1. Content Management System (CMS)
  2. Content Management Framework (CMF)
  3. Web Application Framework

Content Management System

A Content Management System provides a work flow for deploying and managing specific types of web sites such as blogs or forums. A CMS is designed to leverage the skills of a site's administrator at the cost of flexibility and code control. The goal is to allow you to manage your website content through a user friendly interface without requiring a web developer. A CMS will usually provide some tools for a developer to create a custom theme or template. Beyond that, adding additional functionality is typically cumbersome for developers and costly for site owners.

Examples:  Most of these have gone away. WordPress 2 was a CMS but WordPress 3 is a CMF.  This comes in when a developer wrote something custom that allows you to edit your content and that's it.

Content Management Framework

A content management framework or CMF is much like a CMS. It is designed to be more flexible than a CMS and provides some mechanisms for developers to extend its functionality. While it is more flexible than a CMS, it is much less flexible than a web application framework and typically does not perform as well.

Examples: WordPress 3+ and Drupal

Web Application Framework

A web application framework provides code based utilities and workflows for developing custom web applications. A web application framework is designed to leverage development skills and enable the rapid development of custom applications. It allows you to build much more complex and performant applications than a CMS or CMF but also requires much more expertise to utilize.

Examples: Rails is a Ruby framework. Cake, Starbug, Zend, and CodeIgniter are PHP frameworks

When choosing a platform it comes down to the complexity of the project, amount of control you want, and the skills at your disposal. If you are an expert web developer or have one at your disposal, then unless you are trying to build a very standard type of web site, a CMS will only slow you down and end up costing the client more in the long run because you may be fighting against the CMS to do what the client wants as far as functionality and therefore even a small feature request could require bypassing what the CMS is allowing and then building the feature.

Here are a couple of ways to think about it:

  1. As a client you just want to be able to add new content to your website.  Maybe upload some photos and embed youtube videos. Then a CMS would be fine or even a CMF.
  2. As a client, you want to add on features like event systems or social media sharing of content you've added.  Then a CMF would be fine because you can integrate plugins or modules. As long as those plugins and modules work how you want, then you are good to go.
  3. As a client, you want to be able to add special types of content, you want event systems that work a specific way or you want to sell products on your website and a standard off the shelf shopping cart won't do the trick.  Then a Web Application Framework is in order.
  4. As a client, you want to use a CMF but you also want a few things created custom that aren't doable with a plugin or module. Then you pay for a custom piece to be built and the developer has to make sure it works with the CMF and you may pay a little more than you would with a Web Application Framework or a lot more depending on the feature itself and how much of the CMF has to be hacked to make it work.

The rub comes when a CMF will do 95% of what you need.  Is it better to step it up to a Web Application Framework or is it better to stick with the CMF and then understand that you'll get pretty close to what you want but may not be able to get to exactly what you want?

This is where the relationship and processes of your web development firm play a huge role. They should be able to help you choose what's best and explain why they are making their suggestion.  It comes down to knowing your development team is experienced and looking out for your best interest.

Having an organized, thought out plan when developing new software will certainly help you with successful software development.

Developing new software can be a frustrating and tricky process if you aren't prepared and don't have a game plan. When you go into it unprepared the chances of finishing the project or having it run smoothly are unlikely.

To help you we have broken down successful software development into specific activities:


Planning is first and always should be. Many less experienced developers or clients will want to jump right to the Implementation stage and skip planning. The point of planning is to hash out ideas and come up with a game plan. Think of a professional football team, they take the field with a playbook that they've already hashed out and run several times. If they were to take the field without a plan, they would be slaughtered.

In the case of software development, slaughtered means budget overruns, launch delays and a buggy product that may not be suitable for use.

By planning correctly, you can define the most important aspects of the software that must be there for launch. You can also decide how things should work, in which case it only has to be developed once. That saves time and money.


After you've decided on the game plan you go out there and take action. This can take on many different forms but in essence, it means designing the graphics or actually writing code. Regardless of the platform or language, you are building at this stage.

Testing could technically be considered part of the implementation stage because it is done as pieces of the code are completed. There's are various types and stages of testing but the goal is to find defects as early in the process as possible so that they do not make it into future versions of code where they could have a greater impact.

Think of it this way. If you are building a car, you want to find out that there's a problem with the engine before you build out the drive shaft and the transmission, otherwise, there's a possibility that fixing the engine defect may require you to rebuild the transmission and drive shaft. Find it early, fix it early, and continually build on good code.


This is a step that many companies do not use, but the successful ones do. It is essentially going back through the code and cleaning things up. You are making it more efficient and continually improving upon it by making it simpler and simpler. The way it behaves is the same but you may be able to take some code and refactor it down so that it’s easier to extend and maintain. An example of a company that does a lot of refactoring? Facebook.


Deployment is the point where the code has been approved, reviewed, and ready to be pushed to the production environment. Otherwise known as "the live site"; This is where everything is pushed live and your clients and customers start to use it.


After deployment, you're at the point where you've learned what's working and what's not and require some updates or changes based on your business needs or client needs. The big project is done and now its upkeep and staying current.

There are many other pieces of the software development process that we left out, this is just a simplistic overview of the process. The end goal though is to partner with a development company that has a refined process that ensures success. You are in good hands if a company has been there and done it.