This year Trive transformed from a specialised Magento development company into a Web development company. From now on, we'll be creating Magento e-commerce experiences using PWA exclusively as well as custom web apps. Utilising PWA as the frontend closes the gap between web and native experiences.

Trive has been a Magento development company only, until the end of this year. It's now expanding into Web app development that follows suite with how today's ultimate shopping experiences are built. This is a result of appropriate talent acquisition, change in organisational structure and leadership.

Why the change in perspective and positioning?

At the time I'm writing this, 2018 is almost behind us, gazillion good and bad stuff had already happened. Among most notable ones were Adobe acquiring Magento and Google pushing PWA as the final frontier of tomorrow's web. How that unfolds, we believe, is as much on us as a part of the Magento community and Web developers in general as it is on those two companies.

However it goes, we are holding on to Magento and will continue  to develop e-commerce sites using what we feel is the best e-commerce platform.

What we are not doing is wait for Magento/Adobe to deliver their solution for developing the storefront. Ain't nobody got time for that.

The next 5 years

During this year, we were busy consolidating our web expertise, e-commerce experience and team roles.

Next year will be about making sense of web development for us as a e-commerce web development agency and upgrading our own internal tools and processes to produce high quality experiences for our customers.

With Magento being a part of Adobe now, frontend standards changing into a more demanding game we can either stay on the beaten path and wither away or we can ride the wave with Google and Adobe to create native-like experiences on the web.

It all comes down to these three:

  1. PWAs - Reliable, standalone, convenient web experiences
  2. Site builder - Robust and efficient workflows for building such experiences
  3. Insight - Truly marketing and sales friendly experiences for business owners

1. Progressive Web Applications

Also known as reliable, standalone, convenient web experiences or web's great comeback after the native apps invaded the turf.

If you haven't already, check my "PWA and Magento - should I care" since it gives you an idea what PWAs are and what it means for your business.

This time, next year, we'll all be millionaires... If we are not, at least one thing is 99% sure: PWAs are going to be even bigger. So big that for most of the use cases they'll end up as a golden standard of the frontend experience.

Logic is simple. We as users love convenience and instant (digital) gratification.

Hustle with downloading and updating apps is the opposite of that, especially when you can just use the app by visiting the good old URL.

Secondly, as more and more companies start offering a seamless web experience, the more your good old website is less appealing. Remember the time when sites where not responsive? I do, but only when I visit one by accident and then just bounce off.

On that note, Magento and Adobe are indeed pushing PWAs to their customers and Magento community as the storefront standard.

Their approach is still, mostly evangelising modern web application production to Magento community via their Magento PWA studio.

In my opinion, that is all they can do with defining how the web applications are going to be built besides creating a strong API based CMS and letting the community and the market decide what PWA approach will rise to the surface as a go-to solution.

Companies like ours on the other hand, are in the business of making real world apps already.

Will we have a "killer PWA storefront" as the go-to solution is something only time will tell.

As of this moment we have one released PWA for our enterprise customer, second one in the making for a release mid 2019 and a third one is coming soon.

You might find it interesting that for the one we already released, client's explicit request (without knowing about the PWA technology stack) was that their loyalty app was accessible via web only. Without the hassle of downloading and installing. Consequently, their business expense didn't increase two or three-fold since there was no need for native application development. It's just a website. Turned out extremely good.

We're working on making the PWA storefront open source. More on that in the near future.

2. Site builder

There are quite a few site builders already on the market, we feel that there is room for one more that will be:

  • As flexible, robust as the sites coded by a responsible developer's hand yet provide order of magnitude faster time to market compared to manually coding stuff by hand.
  • Empowering to business owners to quickly launch completely new websites, edit the content entirely without developers help and still look and behave as if good developers did it themselves.
  • Allows us as web developers to deliver battle tested code, reuse components across customer's digital ecosystem and have a scalable development cycle of highest possible quality.
What are we talking about here is a definite need every business owner has that owns their own digital platform.

Let me give you an example from our client's perspective. It is applicable to all of business owners owning their digital stack and in some part the ones that are using a hosted digital stack.

E-furniture GmbH is a furniture producer that provides premium custom-made furniture and owns multiple brands each having its own digital presence. They combine offline and online channels to generate leads and sales. A team of developers, that's us, take care of of his online brands and e-commerce stores. Keyword is multiple here, as if furniture business isn't complex enough.

What he currently doesn't have is the time and resources to quickly launch, test and grow new online brands without sacrificing inevitable rebuilds to create a full blown website when needed.

The issue here is that we as developers are always behind with his future plans, simply because of our time and resources. Add maintenance of existing channels on top of that and the complexity gets only bigger, time to market gets progressively slower and at the end of the day, digital turns into a liability rather than an asset.

Enough. It was time to change that, so we started with Denys' digital rework. The idea was simple, make it so that time to market is on par with his in-house design. Make the final site production as fast as possible, reliable and scalable.

Unlike other site builders out there, "UI for Code" builders, e-commerce CMS in the cloud, and even "no-code app builders" our builder has none of their restrictions and all of the benefits following these set of simple principles:

  • Design system
  • Drag & drop site & page build
  • Source code ownership
  • Platform agnostic

Design system - Crucial for the consistency of the look and feel of the website, think omni-channel not multi-channel.

Drag & drop - Reusing components that adhere to the design system and easily introduce new ones. Use them to rapidly produce landing pages, site sections and most importantly allows developers to build the site's base in a fraction of time. Time is money.

Source code ownership - Own your own racetrack. No ties, no obligations to a third party. Relying on SASS is great up to the point when they change their terms and services or completely change course and eventually shut down.

Platform agnostic - Can't emphasize this enough. Need to change your backend CMS, add a new CMS to the mix or just cut them loose all together? You're free and it's easier to do it. No strings attached.

If it sounds too good to be true, fear not. There are plenty of obstacles in our way, yet every day we spend building bits and pieces we get more excited with the final product.

As for the final product, we plan to use it internally for our clients. Already struck a deal with an e-commerce agency  to test the transferability of the process and production for their clients.

This is definitely an iteration game we are more than willing to play.

There are plans to release it to the world stage, when the time comes. It is our ticket to provide value to our clients and exponentially increase developer happiness in our own production house. Personally, I'm inspired by the Ghost platform business approach.

3. Insight

What good is all this if you don't have the numbers, insight into users' behaviour and finally getting those conversion rates as high as they can possibly get?

Give me insight. Our customers get this great digital experience but what about me as a business owner?

We got you. Optimising site build process, releases more time and energy for everyone to build custom analytics dashboards, applying marketing and analytics tags by using plethora of marketing tools already available on the market.

As a matter of fact, having all this power under the hood, there's a great opportunity to design and build websites with insight built-in from the start.

More on this in the next series of posts related to Google Tag manager, "Google Optimize" and "Facebook pixel".

For now, all of the principles we are using to build our new development process are fitting perfectly with the insight driven development cycle.

Conclusion

World Wide Web is getting more convenient for the user yet arguably more complex for the creators and builders.

We are set out to change that for creators and builders.

In the era of micro services, progressive web applications, machine learning, acquisitions and future market changing events, one must have the ability not to fall with the rest of the unwilling.

If you'd like to learn more, get to see if this approach is right for you, feel free to leave a comment. We'll be more than happy to have a conversation about it.