Product, Artifakt

How to Build Better Websites in Less Time

Jan 7, 2020

Remember back in the day, when you would drive somewhere unfamiliar and you’d have to bring a big book of maps with you? At the time, it seemed like the only sensible way to get around. And even though it was a process full of frustration, we put up with it. 

At least, until GPS hit the scene.

These days, the idea of using a paper map to get around sounds ludicrous. With today’s technology, you can get from point A to point B without ever looking at the street names, poring over a map, or stopping to ask for directions. We’re so accustomed to the new way of working, it’s hard to imagine how we used to do it.

There’s a similar story playing out in the world of software application development. You see, back in the day the development and deployment processes were complicated, time consuming, and expensive. They involved a lot of work from separate teams and even when everyone did everything right— something always went wrong.

At Artifakt, our team knows that pain all too well.

We come from a background in web development and we’ve been in the game long enough to remember how frustrating the old way of working was. That’s actually why we built this company, to solve serious issues with the software development process and make life easier for both developers and their clients.

And now, just like with maps and GPS, we shudder to think of a world where developers don’t have access to a tool like Artifakt. A world where everything is done manually… and painfully.

 

A world without Artifakt

Over a decade ago, our CTO, Aymeric Aitamer, was working in a web development agency.

It was pretty standard work at the time: a client wants a website, they come to Aymeric with their idea, and he works with his team to build it. On the surface, that sounds pretty straightforward. But if you delve deeper into the process, it actually gets insanely complicated.

Back then, building commercial websites involved lots of moving parts. For one, DevOps teams were divided into development, operations, and quality assurance teams, each with their own priorities and projects. With so many hands on deck, simple changes to a client’s website could easily take as long as six months to implement.

In addition, when a project was finally ready to deploy, web agencies like Aymeric’s were entirely reliant on external hosting companies. This introduced yet another opportunity for delays, increased costs, and downtime. After six months of blood, sweat, and tears, developers would have to sit around waiting for their work to be uploaded by the outside company.

There had to be a better way; both for Aymeric’s customers and the developers on his team.

After working with over 200 brands, seeing everyone’s frustrations play out, and doing his best to work through them— Aymeric came up with a solution. That solution eventually became Artifakt, and it’s the reason developers around the world are able to build amazing things without all the headache and hassle of before.

 

How Artifakt is changing the game for developers

Building an online business means different things to everyone.

However, no matter what industry you’re in, you’re going to need a website. Which means you’ll need to find a development team who can build it, test it, and make it available to customers.

Those teams work hard. Really hard. And nothing is more frustrating that getting all that work done, only to have your hands tied by technology limitations outside of your control.

With Artifakt, dev teams are now free to build bigger projects, faster. Specifically, they’re able to:

 

1. Save time by testing everything themselves

The finished websites you use everyday weren’t always so polished and perfect. At some point, every website was full of errors and buggy code. The reason you never noticed, is that these websites are tested at every stage of the process. By the time they make it into your web browser, every single bug has (hopefully) been ironed out.

However, doing that takes a ton of time.

Without Artifakt, developers used to send their code to quality assurance teams and wait for a report. Once done, they could then upload it with a hosting company and get their work out into the world. But doing all of that, working with so many third parties, means months of wasted time for even the smallest of changes.

What if there was a way that developers could test their own code, easily create new environments to do it in, and iterate at lightning speed?

That’s where Artifakt comes in. After seeing so many projects slow to a halt during testing and deployment, we built a tool that lets dev teams test their own work without any extra teams. No need for QA, no need to sit around wait.

BEFORE: In the past, creating environments, pushing code, and testing could take anywhere from 1 to 5 days

AFTER: Now, developers can get it done in less than 30 minutes

 

2. Better staging, better code

Another roadblock to testing code has to do with something called ‘staging’. In the development process, there are essentially three different places that your code can exist: development, staging, and production.

In the first step, you write your code. In the second, you upload it to an internal staging environment that’s built to mimic the real world. This step of the process, uploading to staging, is where you can test to see if your work will function properly, before moving to production (uploading to the internet).

In the past, staging environments weren’t so great. Often, they wouldn’t replicate all the characteristics of the final production environment. Meaning that even though your code might work flawlessly during staging, you might run into other issues uploading it to production.

We decided to solve that problem.

With Artifakt, we devs can create staging environments that perfectly mimic production. This ensures that a final code push can happen successfully, without encountering unforeseen errors.

What’s more, we wrote a series of automation scripts so developers can create their new environments in a couple of clicks. It’s the tool we always wish we had, finally available for development teams who want bug-free, easily-testable code.

BEFORE:
Staging environments were only ever ~85% identical to production

AFTER: With Artifakt, staging environments are 100% identical

 

3. Seamlessly push completed code

Automated scripts like the ones we just mentioned are key to getting work done quickly, and without a slew of errors to work through.

However, back in the day, most developers would have been unable to use automated scripting for a single, frustrating reason— hosting companies.

Back then, any time a developer wanted to change something, test something, or access reporting, they would have to file a request with their hosting company. Ask a developer: there’s nothing more infuriating than waiting for a response on a support ticket.

What’s more, even after getting all their hard work tested and uploaded with a host, sometimes the code would fail for reasons entirely out of their control. For example, the hosting company may not have allocated enough RAM, disk space, or processing power to handle the changes and demand from customers.

By taking everything to the Cloud, we’re giving developers control over every aspect of their work without having to file an endless stream of support tickets. Artifakt allows dev teams to quickly allocate new resources to a project, see where servers are having trouble keeping up, and do everything without any middlemen.

BEFORE:
Developers would open 2–3 tickets a week to ask for modifications (space disk, compute, environment, Ip restriction, …)

AFTER: Developers open 2–3 tickets a year to simply ask questions about Artifakt

As developers ourselves, we hated working with the limitations of external hosting companies, flawed staging environments, and antiquated quality assurance practices. But developers aren’t the only ones who’ve suffered for years under less-than-perfect software development processes. We also built Artifakt for the folks on the other side of the spectrum— customers.

 

Giving customers a better way to build

If you’re growing your online business, you’ve likely already experienced all kinds of frustration trying to get everything going. Maybe you can’t get your site built fast enough. Maybe it’s unavailable in certain countries. Or maybe you’ve finally got the thing built, but it keeps crashing and you can’t seem to figure out why. 

These are common pain points felt by brands all over the world. Back in the day, we often worked with customers dealing with these exact same problems. In building Artifakt, we made sure to spend plenty of time figuring out how to solve those frustrations (and then some).

Some of the biggest issues we’re solving involve:

 

1. Keeping websites up and running no matter what

One of the biggest complaints that customers used to have was around availability. After spending countless hours (and dollars) on a new website, they would find themselves pulling their hair out any time the site went down.

And sites went down a lot.

Back then, the idea of redundancy wasn’t as popular or possible as it is today. Customers’ website didn’t have access to the Cloud, content delivery networks, or other fail safes that are common today.

In building Artifakt, we took a hard look at the market at decided that the Cloud was the way to go. That way, we could deliver unmatched availability and uptime, anywhere in the world. What’s more, we found that the Cloud could do so while simultaneously saving our clients on sky-high hosting costs. That’s what’s known as a win-win.

BEFORE: Keeping a site ‘always on’ used to be expensive. How expensive? Try $10,000 dollars a month expensive.

AFTER: With the Cloud, everything is cheaper. Hosting these days can run as low as $3000.

 

2. Drastically reducing time to market

Earlier we mentioned how important speed is to developers. If they can’t quickly test their changes, it’s hard for them to build out new features.

The same goes for customers. Often, an online business will want to test new ideas and see if they lead to a better user experience. They’ll sit down in a meeting, think of ways to improve their website, and then ask their web agency to make it happen.

In the past, they would have to wait months for an idea to become reality. With Artifakt, businesses can reduce their time to market across the board. Got a great idea for your website? Your team can make it happen almost instantly.

BEFORE :
Deploying a project to the Cloud and optimizing could take 1–6 months (and cost $80K–$200K)

AFTER: Artifakt can get your project deployed to the Cloud in anywhere from 1 hour to 1 month (For between $1K–$5K in onboarding and setup costs)



3. Helping businesses scale automatically

On Black Friday, thousands of shoppers take to the internet at the same time, trying to snag a deal. Historically, this meant that online businesses would buckle under the demand and often crash during one of the most important sales events of the year.

The smart businesses would prepare in advance, calling their hosting companies months ahead of time and requesting that be allocated extra resources to handle the expected demand. The issue of course, is predicting how much extra traffic will come to your site during sales or after receiving publicity. What’s more, you likely don’t want to pay for extra resources if you only need the added power for a limited time.

We solved that, too.

With Artifakt, everything scales automatically. As demand increases, your infrastructure grows and adapts. Growing business? No problem. Artifakt grows with you.

BEFORE:
Scaling required weeks of lead time before any marketing campaign, led to outages (only 90% uptime or less), and cost an extra 50–70% of your current costs.

AFTER: Artifakt means no need for scale requests, 99,99% uptime, and you only pay for what you use.

For companies who rely on the internet, there really is no room for compromise when it comes to their website. They need a site that’s fast, reliable, and easy to update (especially if they’re building an E-commerce website). Until now, finding a single, affordable solution to meet all those requirements wasn’t easy. Artifakt does that and more.

 

Everything under one roof

The world has changed a lot since Aymeric and the team were putting in the hours at that web agency. However, despite all the advancements in the past decade (the Cloud, global CDNs, the new DevOps process, etc.) we still bump into companies that are working the old way.

That is, they still waste time and money managing massive teams. They still wait weeks for their local hosting company to make changes to their backend infrastructure. They still do everything manually, unable to automate because of technology restrictions and a lack of autonomy.

For a lot of these companies, they’re painfully aware of all the issues with their development process and many are attempting to solve them on their own. Sometimes that means creating automated scripts to make deployment easier. Other times it means dropping their hosting company and moving to the Cloud.

That’s great, but why spend the time?

Your developers should be helping you build amazing websites and online applications. They should be stuck, finding ways to work around a broken development process. Get them back to working on projects they can feel good about, by switching to Artifakt.

We’ve done the hard work, discovered ways to make development easier, and we spend every minute the days figuring out how to make it even better. So if you’re ready to ditch the headache and hassle of old school development, have a chat with us and let’s help you deploy faster, easier, and with full autonomy over your entire project.

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Virginie PANIAGUA

Virginie PANIAGUA

Product Marketing Manager at Artifakt. #SaaS #ManagementSoftware