Comprehensive Web Application Development

Frontside is a team of senior and executive software engineers committed to working on the most ambitious applications.

Since 2005, we have focused on creating experiences that are user-focused, accessible and maintable for companies like Conde Nast, Honeywell, altschool and more. We work on greenfield product development, improvement of existing applications, and provide code reviews, consulting, and team training as well. 

 

 
$50,000+
 
$150 - $199 / hr
 
10 - 49
 Founded
2005
Show all +
Austin, TX
headquarters

Portfolio

Key clients: 

Kasita

Alt School

Honeywell

iNGAGED Image

iNGAGED

iNGAGED Communications platform solves an internal communications challenge faced by most large organizations with geographically disperse or mobile employees. With a global communications platform, iNGAGED enables you to engage with employees wherever they are and with any smart device. iNGAGED enables you to segment employee populations into groups and send targeted push messages, assign tasks, and visual media directly to

employees and track engagement of your communication campaigns increasing visibility and utilization of your corporate resources.
Kasita Image

Kasita

Dr. Jeff Wilson, a.k.a. Professor Dumpster, found a way to inspire change in the housing market by redefining the tiny home movement to include an option that could reinvent the way people live. Dr. Wilson began his experiment by first living in a repurposed 33 square-foot dumpster to challenge conventional thinking of what a home can be. for a year by shrinking his footprint and developing a turnkey solution for the housing

crisis. He discovered that Small, Smart and Affordable is doable for housing.

Kasita has outsized functionality in an undersized footprint. From ceiling to floor, every last cubic inch is designed to maximize the home dweller's experience. The result: an exceptional small and smart home that contains everything you need and nothing you don't.

With over 30 connected smart devices, these beautifully designed tiny homes needed a single mobile control application for Android and iOS that matched the aesthetic and promise of Kasita itself.

Kasita, in partnership with The Frontside, worked through the design and UX and tasked The Frontside to build out the application and experience.

A key challenge for the project was to bring an MVP to market within 6 weeks.

AltSchool Image

AltSchool

AltSchool is always looking for ways to improve the effectiveness and velocity of its development effort. With their primary web application almost 4 years in the making, they wanted a development partner that could not only work hand-in-hand with them to deliver stunning new features, but identify and clear away the deep-seated infrastructural roadblocks that impede the forward progress of developers and wasted large sums of

time and money every week.

With deep thinking about AltSchool’s challenges, Frontside improved the testing infrastructure and reduced build times by 40%.

Reviews

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Web App Dev for Education Management Company

"The whole experience was incredibly educational."

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
3.0
Cost: 
5.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
Confidential
 
May 2016 - June 2017
Project summary: 

Frontside managed a complex Ember upgrade and extended in-house capabilities with scalable resources. They also provided test coverage and test support. 

The Reviewer
 
51-200 Employees
 
San Francisco, California
Benjamin Shine
Frontend Engineer, AltSchool
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

Through Frontside’s innovative approach to technology, software products dramatically improved in both quality and maintainability. The team’s candid feedback, open-source technology, robust testing methods, and fantastic skills and insight made the partnership rewarding. 

The client submitted this review online.

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

I’m a frontend engineer for AltSchool, an educational and a technology company that builds software and practice processes for schools to personalize education for every learner. We focus on K–8 schools in the U.S. and have about 500 students. At our lab schools, we’re perfecting our technology and practices. We also sell our software as a service and a set of recommendations to other schools.

I’ve been working for AltSchool for 2 ½ years. I’m responsible for purely frontend development on our student-, teacher-, and parent-facing applications. 

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with Frontside?

Our company was involved in a long-term upgrade to a more recent version of Ember, a JavaScript framework. We wanted Ember expertise, so we were looking for people who could accomplish software development that we needed and improve our Ember capabilities. We do most of our extensive product development over the summer while the teachers are not using our software, so we needed to get most of the work done within that timeframe. We wanted to improve our services and learn some brand-new ideas.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

At first, they engaged a couple of people in several different teams of ours. Two of them worked in the student assessment user interface [UI]. Educators often look at what a student’s done and say, “According to these different rubrics, here’s how this student did.” Frontside was part of a team that rewrote existing product with substantial improvements. 

We also had a lot of Ember-data questions due to our complicated data model. They brought the right expertise to expand our Ember-data understanding. I worked closely with them on an interesting and complicated set of forms. Doing forms in Ember is a standard task, the standard mechanism for writing forms and ember had many problems and was falling out of favor. Frontside helped us start using a new technique. This new process solved the fundamental problem with Ember’s general 2-way binding approach to forms. We adopted the strategy they suggested and are now using it across all of our applications and seeing great improvements.

They also rebuilt our file-upload process. We needed to take images that the teachers had of their students or documents and attach them to the students’ online profiles. Frontside had started working on an open-source tool to do that. They completed it and wrote a special frontend bridge to meet our needs, using their basic open-source program to upload the files to Amazon Web Services through the technology that we needed. They also wrote testing support for that program. Along the way, our requirements expanded, so they adapted the API to meet our modified requirements.

Finally, they worked on our front-end re-write of a brand-new product in another project, which I wasn’t personally a part of. They moved us from Ember 1.13 to 2.4, collaborating with us to fix many of the issues that prevented us from updating earlier. That was a long, challenging work across a massive Ember application.

What is the team dynamic?

The team varied over time. We started out with 2 and occasionally had up to to 3 or 4 resources from Frontside at a time. They were flexible based on our needs. Sometimes, people working with us would rotate to another project. At first, I was sad about losing people, but then they’d bring on someone else who was even more amazing. We did incur some costs from switching people out, but Charles [Founder, Frontside] was a constant fixture. The team helped each other get up to speed quickly. This process was far more effective than bringing brand-new people on board and gave us access to different perspectives and skill sets.

How did you come to work with Frontside?

Our former contractor recommended Frontside. I went to EmberConf in order to meet contractors and find someone to hire. I knew that I wanted to talk to Frontside, but we also chatted with people from other firms at varying skill levels. Frontside was my top choice. Their prices were significantly better than even 1-person companies. I read a blog post from Charles that blew my mind due to the high-level new ideas he was bringing to Ember and to frontend development.

What is the status of this engagement?

We worked together from May 2016 until June 2017. 

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

What evidence can you share that demonstrates the impact of the engagement?

They introduced us to a new way of thinking about and working with our forms, which is a core part of our application. We’ve adopted that philosophy across the board. They suggested using an immutable state in Ember, which turned out well. The quality of their work was far higher than what we’ve seen before. They intensely tested their work, and their tech support was fantastic.

How did Frontside perform from a project management standpoint?

They’re the best engineers I’ve ever worked with. In technology, companies are rarely able to hit estimates. At the beginning, we told Frontside how long we thought the project would take. They were upfront about what they could accomplish and kept us posted during the process, which was incredibly useful. I appreciated their honesty; they didn’t just agree blindly.

We communicated through Slack and did remote sharing over Screenhero, which has audio attached. We also held meetings through video conferencing and Google Hangouts.

At several points, we got stuck while using some open-source software and would hold a pairing session remotely. That allowed us to look at the same code and talk in real-time to resolve the issue. The whole experience was incredibly educational. They showed us different ways of approaching a problem.

Occasionally, I turned to their team for 1-on-1 coaching about the team dynamics and processes. We’d have a conversation either over chat or video conference where they would coach me on items that weren’t specifically technical.

What did you find most impressive about them?

They have a great combination of technical and communication skills and deployed their abilities to improve our business.

Are there any areas they could improve?

Some of their team members came to work with us in San Francisco a few times. That was incredibly valuable. We would have gotten more value if we’d done more on-site sharing.

What advice would you give to a potential client of Frontside?

You get the most value if you think of them as educators and trainers instead of just people who build your product. They can make a lasting contribution by training your team.  

5.0
Overall Score For the parts I was actively involved in, we had a great experience.
  • 3.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
    We had unrealistic deadlines, but they were transparent about their abilities.
  • 5.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
    From what I know of the cost, the value was tremendous. I chose to stay out of the dollar amounts.
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer
    I frequently recommend them.

Web Dev for Streamline Communication Company

"The experience, knowledge, collaboration management, and the execution was exactly what we wanted."

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
5.0
Cost: 
4.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
Confidential
 
Oct. 2016 - July 2017
Project summary: 

Utilizing Ember.js and a RESTful API, Frontside built a web portal that allowed employers to communicate with and assign tasks to their staff. They also trained staff in best practices.  

The Reviewer
 
11-50 Employees
 
Austin, Texas
Ilya Busigin
VP of Engineering, iNGAGED
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

At the end of the engagement, Frontside delivered a piece of excellent software and ensured that in-house staff were able to seamlessly assume management of the project. The team impressed with their solid management processes, UI/UX design expertise, and wide-ranging development experience.

A Clutch analyst personally interviewed this client over the phone. Below is an edited transcript.

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

I'm the VP of Engineering at iNGAGED. I oversee all technology: frontend, backend, mobile, and web. iNGAGED is a communications platform with an employer focus that enables and empowers employers to engage with their employees through native mobile applications and mobile web. In order to do that, we leverage the platform with push email and SMS that the employer can use to communicate with their employees. Our Wix content management system makes it very easy for employers to create content and push it to their employees. They can target employees with specific content depending on their job type, segmenting the population from a content and communication standpoint.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with Frontside?

We didn't have a lot of engineering experience in web development. We used Frontside to enhance our existing engineers’ knowledge in best practices for web design and development and to bootstrap the creation of our initial administration and employer portal.

Our primary goal was the knowledge transfer of best practices from Frontside to our engineers. Our engagement was proactive in getting our engineers up to speed. The secondary goal was to ensure that, at the end of our engagement, we had a functional employee portal where employers could manage content and communication with their employees.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

The employee portal was built using Ember.js. It talks to a RESTful API backend that was written in Go. One of the key technical requirements was to ensure that we had good test coverage and engineering practices in place so we could build the web portal in tandem with what we were building on the backend. In order to do that, Frontside helped the mocks in the other testing structures so that they could continue developing the portal without the API being there and just the contracts being in place. Once the API was in place, they swapped out those mocks or stubs with API endpoints.

In addition, they also helped us build our user portal strategy. We didn't engage with them to build it, but prior to the end of our engagement, they laid out a roadmap for how to build out and execute our user portal, which was used to great success.

What is the team dynamic?

We had 2 dedicated developers and a third floating developer on an as-needed basis. They came to our office frequently and paired with our developers. We also had a project manager who helped to coordinate and facilitate.

How did you come to work with Frontside?

I'm very active in following the local technology space at Austin, and I heard of Frontside as an industry leader in frontend development, Ember.js development specifically. I read a lot of the blog posts, followed them on Twitter, and attended meet-ups where their engineers presented and painted a very positive picture for their organization.

How much have you invested with them?

[CONFIDENTIAL]

What is the status of this engagement?

We started in October 2016, and we stopped working with them in July 2017.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

What evidence can you share that demonstrates the impact of the engagement?

We had engineers with no previous web development or frontend experience, and, at the end of our engagement, those engineers were fully capable of taking over from where Frontside left us and moving the product forward.

As far as bugs are concerned and how they structured their code, code quality, and code reviews, we had informal processes prior to their engagement. Those processes were formalized once we saw how Frontside was doing things, which led to a significant reduction in bugs and code quality issues on the frontend.

How did Frontside perform from a project management standpoint?

They had a project manager checking in multiple times per week. We handled the bulk of the project management because their engineers were embedded with us. Our experience with them was very positive from a project management standpoint.

We learned that it's important to trust their judgment from a technical decision standpoint as well as UI/UX. They have so much experience. We had a few amicable disagreements, and in the vast majority of cases, their approach was the right approach.

We met several times at our offices and their offices. During the project, their engineers worked in our offices with our engineers.

What did you find most impressive about them?

The depth of knowledge they have on UI/UX and their development expertise was paramount to getting the first iteration of our portals out the door. That experience and that foundation set the stage for our frontend code bases for many years to come.

Are there any areas they could improve?

No. I'm happy with the overall experience with Frontside.

5.0
Overall Score The experience, knowledge, collaboration management, and the execution was exactly what we wanted. No regrets, no complaints.
  • 5.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
    They exceeded expectations with regard to scheduling and deadlines.
  • 4.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
    They were expensive, but they were worth it. A smaller company may have a hard to time affording them, but you will get your money's worth.
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
    We received exactly what we expected to get. There was never any question in terms of quality. They deliver what they promise.
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer
    Since we had nothing but positive experiences, there's no reason I wouldn't recommend them. I've done that on several occasions already.