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Our Development Stack

At Full Metal, we know that no two software development projects are alike. We consider a range of development technologies before deciding on the best fit for your requirements. Rather than offer every language available (of which there are hundreds if not thousands), we have concentrated on being an expert in a select range of development languages. We focus on languages all highly-regarded (often backed by large corporations), in common use, and have stood the test of time.

What is Full Stack Development?

Being a full stack bespoke software development company means we have in-house expertise with all levels of the technical stack. With experts in a range of areas, we are capable of choosing, setting up, and implementing any of these components in a way that best suits your business.

Even the best software applications are only as good as the hardware they’re run on. At Full Metal, we understand that choosing the right hardware for the job can be a complex process. After all, you need to balance a range of priorities, including cost, upgradeability, accessibility, and availability, among others. Fortunately for our clients across the UK, Full Metal has the experience and technical know-how to put together the right solution for you and your budget.

These are some of our most popular options to choose from:

VPS

Virtual Private Servers (also known as shared servers) are a great choice for smaller application, as they tend to be the cheapest option. A full server is split into smaller parts, with each part being used by a different client or app. The various parts share the same system resources.

Dedicated Server

As the name suggests, a dedicated server gives you control of a full server, with no other clients sharing your system resources. This is an ideal option for applications that require a specific setup, or for clients that want full control of every aspect of the stack.

Cloud Server

Cloud servers are also known in the business as Platforms as a Service (PaaS). They tend to be modular systems, allowing you to take the resources your application needs right now. They are highly-flexible systems, allowing you to upgrade easily as your requirements change. Our preferred PaaS options are Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft Azure.

Bespoke Hardware Solutions

These are the basic hardware options that are available to our clients. As your technical experts, we can put together tailored hardware set-ups that work exactly the way you need them to. We work with server clusters, load balancers and hybrids of the above systems to create the perfect solution for you and your business.

Operating Systems (OS) for web applications tend to fall into either Windows or Linux categories. None of the languages in our stack limit you to a specific category. While it can be tempting to choose one of the free Linux distribution models, we recommend Windows Server as the operating system of choice. Not only is it designed specifically with web applications in mind, Windows Server is found on all of the hardware options that your application would need and is extremely secure.

Most software applications require data persistence and we recommend MS SQL Server to handle that part of the job. It comes in a number versions ranging from the Tier 1 Enterprise edition through to SQL Server Express, which is ideal for smaller applications, and entirely free too! MS SQL Server is a relational database that comes complete with great end-to-end security features and memory caching for improved performance. It’s used by many of the world’s leading brands and applications and works with any server-side language. It can also be installed on a wide variety of operating systems. What we really like about MS SQL Server is its flexibility and scalability. You can start at any level and move up and down the different versions with ease as your requirements change.

MS .Net NET (often referred to as dotNet) is a powerful server-side software framework, developed by Microsoft. It supports several programming languages, of which C# (C sharp) and VB (Visual Basic) are the most commonly used. Here at Full Metal, we are expert in both of these languages. Although .Net is a framework, rather than a language in itself, developers often call themselves .Net developers. .Net is one of only a few truly enterprise class languages for web applications. It has been around for over 15 years and is extremely popular, which is no mean feat for a programming language. It is mature, well-established, and well-understood, which are all important factors in choosing the right language for building your application. As it has matured the .Net framework has adapted to meet the needs of a wide range of applications, coming in a variety of flavours to better serve a specific purpose. We use these different variations, depending on our clients’ requirements. The most common variant for web application development is MVC.Net, which is designed to follow the modern development pattern of Model, View, Controller.

The front end of your web application is the part that the end-user interacts with. Of all the components of the stack, this is the one that changes most frequently to meet new demands and trends in software development. Although the lines between front-end languages and libraries are blurring as technology advances, these are the ones we use most frequently for our web applications:

HTML

Hyper Text Markup Language (HTML) is the standard markup language for creating web pages. Along with CSS and JavaScript (see below) it forms the triad of technologies that form what most people think of as the internet. HTML is typically used to define the structure of a webpage. As a standards-driven technology HTML it is constantly updated to include new features. The current version is HTML 5.1 and its predecessor HTML 5.0 (both normally referred to as HTML5). The latest updates to HTML (as well as JS and CSS) have made older proprietary technologies, such as Adobe Flash, redundant. HTML is interpreted by the browser and is reliant on the browser suppliers to implement new features as they are added to each release. We take care to find what browser versions are being used by both our clients and their end-users to ensure everyone can use our application.

CSS3

Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) are used to style markup languages, most commonly HTML. It was introduced to separate style from structure. Much like HTML, CSS is a standards-based technology that requires browser developers to implement the latest standards. We take to only implement features supported by our clients’ (and their users’) current browsers. CSS3 is the latest standard and will be developed in a modular fashion moving forward. CSS3 included media queries, which help to drive modern mobile-friendly sites. This removes the need to develop separate user interfaces for mobile and desktop devices.

JavaScript

JavaScript (often abbreviated to JS) provides functionality to websites and applications. While it was traditionally used for front-end functionality (as interpreted by the web browser) it has also been developed for server-side applications. It is another standards-based technology, like HTML and CSS, which means it needs browser developers to implement any upgrades. As well as considering what browser functionality, Full Metal is also careful to not introduce security issues that are common with badly-coded JavaScript. JS standards are implemented from an underlying scripting language, ECMAScript. This language is currently on version 7, known as ECMAScript 2016. While browser support is improving, even its predecessor, ECMAScript 2015 doesn’t enjoy complete browser support as yet.

Bootstrap

Bootstrap incorporates HTML, CSS, and JS, making it one of the most commonly-used front-end frameworks in the world. Initially developed for internal use at Twitter, it was released as an open-source framework in 2011. Bootstrap allows for quick and easy coding that would requires lines of JavaScript and CSS to achieve the same results. This makes it great for prototype applications and proof-of-concept work that can then be developed into something more robust at a later date.

jQuery

jQuery is a JavaScript library that was developed to simplify a lot of common tasks that developers previously wrote from scratch in JS. It has become so popular that there are jQuery developers out there that are not experts in the underlying JavaScript language. Fortunately for our clients, the Full Metal team is expert at both. jQuery helps to speed up front-end development, with the added benefit of having thousands of plugins available that can add all kinds of useful functionality to web applications.

Angular

Angular (and its predecessor, AngularJS) has a complicated history. It is a front-end web application platform mainly developed by the Angular Team at Google. It is written in TypeScript, a language maintained by Microsoft, that is a superset of ECMAScript. While that all sounds a bit involved, from a development point of view, it is quite simple. Angular allows developers to extend the functionality of older versions of JavaScript, currently supported by a clients’ existing browser. This lets us develop applications using functionalities from newer versions of JS not-yet supported by current browsers. Angular is a great tool for fast development of single page applications (SPA). These are apps where the whole web page doesn’t need to reload when something has happened on the server side that needs to be presented to the user. Angular is predominately run in the browser, which means it moves some of the processing requirement away from the server to the users’ PC or phone, which can improve response times. However, it is not recommended for every web application, with some tasks – such as Search Engine Optimisation – being much more difficult with SPA

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We’re a UK-based firm of tech professionals with a proven track record of success across several business industries. All our work is secure and insured for your added protection and peace of mind. To find out what we can do for you, get in touch to arrange a free consultation.

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