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Published April 27, 2018

Decisions, decisions...

Your very first choice as you start to develop your web app or online shop will likely be what platform to choose. The good news is that you will be spoiled with choices, and the bad news is that you will likely feel overwhelmed by those spoils. For many, this decision is as much a personal decision as it is a practical one.

Basic Categories

While there are too many options to count, your path to a successful launch goes down one of three roads. A solution that is entirely custom, an open-source framework or a platform.

Needs

Because of the obvious benefit in flexibility, custom solutions built by developers you trust will allow you to build a web app that looks and does everything exactly in the manner you wish it to. It's great if you're someone who likes to exert a lot of control over your brand and overall user experience. If you are the type of person who will need buttons moved just a few pixels to the left before you can sign off on a design, custom solutions are for you. If you are someone who wants the checkout experience to happen in exactly two steps and arrange the order and look of each field in a very specific way, you will often find yourself frustrated with the inflexibility of either the platform or open-source solutions.

Understand Your Own Limitations

Of course, getting exactly what you want sounds great, but it isn't always the most realistic option for many people starting off with a new app. The development process, due to it's heavy reliance on feedback will not only take longer to launch, it will also require more input (and thus time) from you.

From a cost perspective, platforms can also be very tempting. If you are only interested in publishing an informational site with no user activity, there are solutions like Squarespace and Wix that can launch that site as immediately as you can enter your content and charge a nominal fee each month. While these companies will generally have attractive design options, it's still hard to get away from that "template" look, and depending on your customer base, you could come off looking less than serious about your business.