If you’re looking to outsource your Ruby on Rails application maintenance or development to a team, you might wonder: What exactly will this team provide me? Working with a team of Rails developers is a large investment. When you’re spending tens of hundreds of thousands of dollars, you want to know exactly what this team can and can’t do for your application. You might even be weighing the pros and cons of a team vs. a freelancer or hiring an in-house developer.
To help you understand what a team can do for your app, here are some examples of services our Ruby on Rails team provides for our clients.
Support, Maintenance, and Bug Fixes
If you have an existing, live Rails application, the truth of the matter is that you’re going to have bugs arise from time to time. These could come when:
- A third-party tool you use makes an upgrade requiring a change in your application
- A user discovers a previously unknown error in the application
- A security threat comes through requiring a new patch
Regardless of how you discover bugs in your Rails application, you want to trust that the team you partner with can handle these fixes in a timely manner. Your users expect a seamless experience while using your app, and a dependable team can help make that happen.
New Feature Requests
How do you track new feature requests that come in from users or stakeholders? It might be lost in an email or jotted down on a sticky note. Your Ruby on Rails team can help you take these feature requests and turn them into a prioritized backlog that actually sees progress. (Not familiar with the term backlog? Think of it as your project’s ultimate to-do list.
When you have an organized project backlog, new feature requests can be managed so that new ideas don’t slip through the cracks.
A new feature process with your Rails dev team might look like this:
- A new feature idea comes to your attention from a stakeholder in your project that you agree should be put on the to-do list.
- You log the new feature idea as a to-do item in your team’s project management tool (we use JIRA).
- In a meeting with your dev team, you discuss the priority level of the item and adjust the to-do list accordingly.
- A developer provides you with an estimate of how long the item might take to implement.
When the item is next up on the to-do list, it will be built, tested, approved by you, and deployed into the live version of your application.
Ruby and Rails Version Upgrades
Upgrades are a part of life for any living software project. New versions of Ruby and Rails are published a few times a year, ranging from minor updates for small performance improvements to major ones, including security threats. You can see the full list of Rails version updates and Ruby version updates for an idea of what to expect.
If you’re partnering long-term with a Rails development team, keeping your application up to date should be a part of their priority list. We get it, as a company with a Rails app, it can be difficult to prioritize spending development time (and dollars) on work that doesn’t result in new features for your users.
But with over a decade of experience working on Rails apps, our team has seen time and time again how slacking on version upgrades can result in mounds of technical debt or even security issues for live applications. It will cost much more, in the long run, if you continually put off version upgrades.
Not sure if you should upgrade to the newest version of Rails? Here are a few reasons why we think you should upgrade.
This one depends on which Rails team you partner with. Some will have in-house design and front-end development team members who can help with visual changes to your Rails app and website.
We have a UX Designer and Front-End Developers in our Portland, Oregon studio who work to make your Rails application as user-friendly as it is functional. New design requests or front-end changes are handled exactly like the other feature requests we mentioned above. In addition to minor front-end changes, our designers and developers sometimes work with clients on complete design overhauls, usability audits, design sprints, and data visualization projects.
A trustworthy development partner is also a valuable addition to your business. While a low-cost freelancer can help you check off boxes on your development to-do list, an experienced development team will be more equipped to provide strategic technical consulting that can improve your app and your bottom line.
With a wider variety of previous client work and past experience, a diverse team can be a valuable asset to your business planning.
We help our clients make technical decisions when we have the expertise, like:
- Is it a better investment to rewrite an app, or incrementally upgrade it?
This is just a quick snapshot of what services an outsourced Ruby on Rails team can provide for your application. An effective agency will go beyond simply checking off the next to-do for your application to provide more value for you and your business.