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The agricultural industry is becoming increasingly data driven and automated, which means custom software has recently become a big player. Today, Andrew and Alexandra discuss some apps we’ve built for ag companies as well as great use cases for agricultural software.

Let’s take a look at some of the apps that we’ve already built in the agricultural space. One is an app for a company that does produce inspections. Their original process involved a lot of pen and paper, inspecting produce inside cold storage. The goal is to ensure that the produce met the standards of their end clients, usually grocery stores. So we transformed this traditional pen and paper process into a mobile application that could be used on the spot and would still work without internet connectivity. A lot of these big produce warehouses are far from cell towers or even once in cold storage are unable to connect. …


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Project roadmapping is the most valuable thing you can do for your project. It is the best way to figure out what you need to build (and what you don’t) before you get started. With Bixly, at the end of this process you get wireframes, fully defined user stories, a clear roadmap of what the next three months of development will look like, risk assessment, and peace of mind. This is a huge differentiator between working with Bixly and trying to hire developers or find freelancers.

The purpose of project roadmapping is to help our clients achieve success. We help validate their idea to the market. We go beyond timeline and budget, to help identify success criteria. We will research the necessary integrations, whether that’s a third-party database or even hardware integration, to confirm before we get started that these tools can work together well. We also do risk assessment on the project to identify as many potential pitfalls to the project as early as possible. As Cody states, project roadmapping “allows you to test your own business ideas before you go out and actually implement them.” It gives you the opportunity to validate the market and to see if what you want to build is actually feasible with the technology we have today. …


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There are two main ways we structure projects at Bixly depending on our clients’ needs. Andrew and Cris talk about the differences between these two ways of structuring development work. This conversation covers they types of projects each one is suited for, budgeting for each, planning for each, and ultimately setting our clients up for success at launch.

A fixed-bid project is one in which the requirements, timeline, and cost are all defined. The goal is to have as much as possible known up front and we deliver at two or three-week milestones. Time and materials, on the other hand, is where will bill hourly for work. As Andrew says, “We do fixed-bid if it’s a project with a set list of requirements, it has a budget and a timeline. If you say, ‘I need a developer for six months to come alongside my existing team,” we would do that as time and materials.” Time and materials is extremely flexible while a fixed-bid project is extremely predictable. Often times, time and materials (or staff augmentation) is a great fit for clients who are debating whether they should hire someone internally for their project. …


Cris and Andrew get passionate about the value that MVPs bring your product. In this episode of Tech Tuesday, they describe different kinds of MVPs and how they allow you to iterate on your project quickly to maximize your success. Save time. Save money. Discover what your user base wants and needs as early as possible.

First we want to define the difference between UI and UX. As Andrew explains, UX stands for user experience and it has to do with how the interacts and feels about your app, where as UI, user interface, describes the design choices like colors, fonts, and layout that you’ve chosen for your app. …


At Bixly, our core tech stack has been well established for many years. We’ve been programming in Python/Django for well over 10 years and using Angular and React on the frontend for about half that time. Like with many businesses, that wasn’t always the case. In the early days of Bixly, we didn’t have the focus we have today and it took us some time to realize what our focus should be. …


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Here at Bixly we like to be as transparent as possible about what it really costs to build a custom piece of software, because we think it is essential to having a great relationship with our clients. We have been very open about how expensive it can be to build custom software and you will often hear us saying, “Have $60,000 in the budget and a minimum of three months.” If we were to layout a graph of the out the door expense for our clients it would range from $40,000 to well into six figures. This is why we say you should be prepared with $60,000 to start building your custom software. …


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Project roadmapping (previously called the Discovery Phase) is something that we talk about a lot because it is extremely valuable and important! It even came up on our most recent Tech Tuesday about Wireframes and User Stories. Cody stated that along with DevOps, properly planning your project is the best way to save money and time along the journey of developing a custom piece of software. With that in mind, what does Project Roadmapping look like at Bixly?

First, we listen.

Step one is making sure we understand your needs. As we outlined in a previous blog, your needs may be entirely to solve an internal business problem, or you could be trying to solve a problem for future potential customers. Either way, it’s our responsibility to listen closely and understand what that is. …


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As always with any nuanced and thoughtful discussion, the answer to this question is, “It depends.” It depends on how you go about building an app. At the end of the day, you will need to have some familiarity with software and programming to get the best results and have the best experience creating a custom website or app. Let’s break it down by domain and how you can divide up the responsibilities.

Areas of Expertise

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All custom web software is going to touch on a few different domains. The first thing you will need to be familiar with is graphic design for apps and websites. That will include understanding user experience and user interface, which we’ve talked about here and here. Next will be understanding backend and frontend development. Frontend development implements the designs; backend development makes the application work, communicates with servers, manages the information that passes through the application. And finally, you will need to be familiar with systems administration, which includes project infrastructure, servers, code deployments and security. …


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There have been several projects we have worked on in which a custom admin was either a huge milestone for the project or was the entire project itself. It is impossible to make proper decisions when leading a team and developing a complex project unless you have the proper information in front of you. There comes a point where hunting down the information and gathering it together becomes a task so huge as to prevent managers and team leads from actually being able to execute.

Even still, this may not mean that you need a custom dashboard. There are a lot of project management tools or third-party dashboard generation apps that could work for your needs. There are a couple of diagnostic questions to help decide if it’s time to invest in a custom…


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Having been in the business of building apps since 2006, we have been able to distill viable apps into two categories. They are built for one of only two business reasons: to make money or to save money. Okay, maybe that was a bit of a disappointing insight. Let’s take a moment to examine this more closely. These two types of apps fulfill two very different needs.

To Make Money

Okay this one is easy. Most companies come to us with an app idea that’s supposed to turn into revenue down the line. Maybe their software follows a SaaS model and they intend to charge a fee for users to access their services. Maybe their software facilitates transactions, and each transaction includes fees that go to the software providers. Maybe their software will generate revenue through advertising. …

About

Bixly Inc.

Python/JS developers ready to work with you! California-based software development.

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