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What is a Minimum Viable Product (MVP)?

A minimum viable product (MVP) is a low-risk, core functionality version of a product with just enough features to be used, reviewed and assessed effectively by early users. While an MVP serves as a foundational exploration of your product, building a basic version also enables you to test product assumptions and discover how people react to your product. 

Businesses and developers are desperate to build a minimum viable product that scales into a standard and widely accepted product in the industry. But even more importantly, both parties want to understand the problems and challenges associated with their MVP. These findings are what then inform their future product development decisions. This may seem tasking, but adopting the build-measure-learn method simplifies the process by enabling you to review the elements of your MVP, such as key features, cost of building, scalability to a final version, and ease of product change. 

Globally successful tech companies such as Facebook, Twitter, Dropbox and Groupon are testaments to the implementation of  build-measure-learn method and your business can be too if you consider the scalable minimum viable product. 

The scalability of your MVP into a final version is determined by your choice of tech stacks. Just like any business growth strategy (embed the link to the blog post on BS) impacts the growth of your business, a tech stack plays a crucial role in developing your minimum viable product. Let’s dive into what a tech stack entails.

What is a tech stack?

It is a collection of functions, languages, frameworks, web servers, databases, and operating systems required to build a digital product. Website developers are increasingly using stacks to improve the functionality, appearance and scalability of products. Your MVP’s tech stack has a significant impact on the user experience and overall performance.  

Without turning a blind eye to the importance of tech stacks, most businesses find it difficult to select a stack that’s relevant to their MVPs, because of the need to strike a balance between working with an available limited budget, and accessing modern tools and driving users to explore the product. 
This brings us to the frequently asked questions; “How do I know the various types of tech stacks?”, and “What are the things to consider in selecting a tech stack?”. This article will further explain those pressing questions.

Types of Tech Stacks

Stacks vary in functionality and cut across programming languages, content management systems, storage architectures, and data management tools. WordPress, Magento, Joomla, and Laravel, code-igniter, and CakePHP are examples of data management tools.  

Aside from the examples given above, programming languages and frameworks like Ruby on Rails, Python Django/Flask, and Nodejs MERN/MEAN stack may also be regarded as stacks. This section only examines the Ruby on Rails stack.  

What is Ruby on Rails Stack?

Launched in 2004, the Ruby on Rails stack was constructed using the ruby programming language. It’s core principle, the “Convention over configuration” technique, was designed with the MVC (Model-View-Controller) pattern to separate the various parts of a product.

  • Models are where all of the logic for creating, reading, updating, and deleting records from the database are stored.
  • View is the presentation layer of a product, and it’s in charge of presenting the user interface to the browser.
  • Controller, as the name indicates, is in charge of organizing all of the application’s other components.

Rails framework offers a reasonably short learning curve and is the preferred option for businesses like Twitter, Github, Gitlab, AirBnB, Twitch, Etsy, Pivotal tracker, among others.

What are the advantages of Ruby on Rails Stack?

Explained below are the benefits of employing the Ruby on Rails stack for your minimum viable product:

  • Time Efficiency: The rapid development of Ruby on Rails is the reason for its quick acceptance in product development. This stack speeds up, simplifies the coding process, saves time because it provides the authentication needs of a product, and can be installed and operated within minutes. 
  • Helpful Tools: Ruby on Rails doesn’t require you to create a lot of codes due to its abundance of tools and resources you can explore in developing your products. For instance, one of the tools known as a device – a full end-to-end authentication gem can be easily utilised to design basic and complex authentication systems for a product.  
  • Flexibility: This stack allows seamless customisation, maintenance and documentation on Github. 
  • Active Ruby on Rails Community: Ruby on Rails has the largest community of developers on GitHub. Since the framework of this stack is an open-source, it thrives on a community that constantly updates its functionality to make development easier.
  • Strong adherence to standards: Ruby is an object-oriented programming language, and the rails framework follows suit. This stack provides excellent support for web standards throughout the board, from the user interface to data transport. 

Ruby on Rails applications are intended to adhere to recognised software design principles such as “coding by convention” (the developer must describe unusual app features), “don’t repeat yourself” (encouragement to avoid code duplication and instead construct abstractions), and “active record pattern” (specific way of accessing data in the database).

What are the disadvantages of Ruby on Rails Stack?

In general, the shortcomings of Ruby on Rails are most noticeable in terms of performance and adaptability.

  • Runtime speed and performance: One of the most frequent arguments against Ruby on Rails is its ‘slow’ runtime performance, making scaling your Ruby on Rails applications difficult. The server or database design, as well as the skillfulness of your technical team, will most likely be the source of performance concerns for your RoR application. However, performance factors must be kept in mind. For example, Twitter has failed to increase the performance of Ruby on Rails.
  • High cost of wrong decisions during development: Poor architecture decisions in the early stages of a project may cost you more than in any other framework. Because it’s an open framework, all components are closely connected and rely on one another.

How to Choose the Right Tech Stack for Your MVP?

Choosing the correct tech stack increases the chances of swiftly launching your product into the market, therefore it is critical to understand how to select a technological stack for your MVP. Here’s how to pick a technological stack for your MVP.

  • Time and Cost: These crucial factors are to be considered in developing your minimum viable product. The cost of creating an MVP is proportional to the amount of time it requires, meaning the length of time spent building a minimum viable product is directly related to the number of features to include in your MVP. The more complicated your features are, the longer time the construction requires. Remember, Simplicity is key
  • Scalability: Determine the chances of technically scaling an MVP to a final product version that users can generally accept. For example, products such as Netflix, Spotify and Amazon started as MVPs before transforming into final versions with relevant features that serve users’ needs. To ensure your MVP can pass the testing phases, consider creating a product development roadmap, a product requirement document and a marketing strategy before selecting a tech stack.
  • Security: Choosing a tech stack that guarantees security is essential in creating a solid minimum viable product. Users no longer want to use products that don’t offer maximum data protection. Hence, before selecting a tech stack for an MVP, use secure databases, frameworks, and languages that provide a high level of security. Languages such as PHP, Java/JavaScript, and frameworks like AngularJS and Node.js assure the utmost security of products.

To find out more about choosing the appropriate tech stack for your minimum viable product, contact us at daniel@studio14online.co.uk to chat with our software engineers. 

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