When developing a customer-facing company web portal with our custom software services, we may not have the extensive infrastructure of SharePoint at our disposal, but now more than ever there are readily available libraries and services to speed up development. Some are free to use, some have a cost, but they are not nearly as expensive as building the same functionality from scratch. When developing a web portal, we would typically make use of our Single-Page-App Starter Kit, a solution accelerator that ties several client-side and server-side technologies together into a modern development platform. Having our developers equipped and trained to use a standard starter kit means a consistent user experience, reduced maintenance cost, and a rapidly accelerated start to the development process. The starter kit is designed to scale, which fits perfectly with our deployment model. All of this is detailed in our write-up of taking a lightweight, low-cost approach to software development.
It’s difficult to predict the traffic that will hit a customer web portal. In a world where the app is hosted on-premises, it can be an expensive pain to throttle back when traffic levels are low and scale up when traffic levels are high. It takes skilled (i.e., highly paid) technical resources to support a secure, highly available web application. Luckily, our options for achieving scalability, security, and availability by hosting quality-tested web apps in the cloud have never been more numerous or less expensive. Our preferred hosting provider is Amazon, but we have also used Microsoft’s Azure platform.