What was the scope of their involvement?
Actually, we're getting really close to launching our desktop application. Originally, we were web-based, so we started out just with smaller web-based projects which they helped us support across many browsers. We supported way too many browsers. With their help, we cleaned up everything for Safari, Firefox, and Chrome, instead of stopping at just one browser and having to charge our clients for fixing it if they have a problem.
We were a web-based software, so they helped us transition to desktop, and also gave us offline support and file synchronization. Basically, you could log in on your desktop software, then you could create a bunch of notes and edit things, and you could check it on the web version in the cloud. Everything would translate, and you could move back and forth that way.
It was a really huge undertaking. They did a great job walking us through. They made sure we had a very clear understanding of all the avenues that we had whenever something unexpected came up.
We used Node.js as a desktop wrapper around our editor - which is a modified version of CKEditor. The PDF framework that we used for supporting PDF is PDF.js. Those were the largest frameworks. They also worked a lot with the cURLAPIs to help us with the synchronization. Our database was MongoDB.
How did you come to work with QNIUM?
I've been a project manager for about three years now, so I've been on both client and team sides. I’ve only been working here for about a year and a half. I pretty much knew, but after talking with my partner and discussing what the long-term strategy was, when I had those features nailed down, it would only be a matter of deciding which frameworks we would be working with.
The things that we knew that weren't going to change, were CKEditor and Chrome support. Other than that, we were pretty flexible. What I was really looking for when I was interviewing teams was their strategies and recommendations to approach this project, and the depth of their answers.
The price was also a factor. We used to work with various individual freelancers in America, but we found that even though they were really good and they were really talented people, the time difference was getting to be a considerable factor because the East Coast is six hours behind us. Since we were planning to shift to a more traditional desktop application, it made more sense to have a full team instead of one person working on the frontend, one person working on the backend, and one person working on the graphic design, which is roughly what we were doing before. It makes a lot more sense from a management, but also from a productivity standpoint to have a whole team sitting in one room.
To me, it was not as important what frameworks or programming languages they had experience with, because, when it comes to development, it's how they approach solving a problem. They do their research, and depending on how big the problem is, they come back with options, we all discuss, and then pick a direction. This way of approaching problems makes the most sense to me and is the most cost-effective as well.
How much have you invested with QNIUM?
We're reaching about the $10,000 mark.
What is the status of this engagement?
We started in February. They give us their hourly/daily rates up front, and for roughly €1,000 per month, we’d give them our wish list - of course, half of it could not be done - but we’d then pair down to our most cost-effective essentials. Given how many different pieces of our software need to interact with each other, it leads to a lot of unusual complications that are very much unique to us, which a lot of other companies I have worked for would not have experienced working completely under one umbrella platform.