13 June 2022
The BEST tech stack to keep you CUSTOMER-focused.
Does this phrase sound familiar?
Users don't care about the plumbing, they just care that they can do what it is that they need to be done.
This statement does obviously have its merit. Customers and users do place a heavy emphasis on being able to perform the job-to-be-done AND having a frictionless, delightful experience while doing it.
But... let's be real here. Your tech stack plays a HUGE role in your ability to create new products, add new features, enhance existing features, test and learn from users, fix bugs, become aware of issues and get in front of customers, and so much more.
Describing your tech stack as "plumbing" abstracts away its importance and your ability to interact with your customers to build a more valuable product.
With this in mind, here is the BEST tech stack that simplifies building, delivery, and awareness so that you can spend more time interacting with and learning from your customers and end-users.
There are a ton of back-end frameworks out there that can get you started building the back-end of your app. We'll look at 3 here that will get you started quickly and that have a large community with plenty of add-ons, support, and starters.
Laravel is a PHP-based framework that has such a large community with tons of available add-ons that it almost feels like you're not even coding anything; but rather just managing a bunch of plugins - without the extremeness of going the WordPress route.
Laravel helps you create reliable web apps in a jiffy so that you can start getting your product in front of users and learn from their experiences.
Feedmas uses Laravel on the back-end and it felt effortless to get something usable ready for our very first users to interact with. This allowed us to roll out a usable product in just a month and quikcly enhance features based on feedback right away, saving us months of spin-up time.
We use Adonis with another one of our apps, Cleavr.io and it is rock solid, easy to use, and has a growing community and is plentiful with helpful add-on modules.
Not wanting to code-out everything and need to give non-coder colleagues the ability to easily add and maintain content? Strapi CMS is a strong CMS to consider. On the coding side, it is very dev friendly. On the non-coding side, it is super intuitive and has a lot of community material to help you get done what you need to get done.
Strapi is open-source but does have paid tiers to choose from if you need support and success management.
Just like with the back-end, you need a front-end that quickly and effortlessly get you going and has wide addoption and plenty of community support.
If you need more of a framework for your front-end framwork, then you'll be looking at Nuxt if you prefer Vue and Next if you prefer React.
For Feedmas, the actual app at app.feedmas.com uses Vue.js for the front-end. For this marketing site you're currenlty on, it's all Nuxt - no "back-end" at all.
We also use the Nuxt / Content module for Feedmas, which practically turns our GitHub repository for the Feedmas marketing site into a defacto Content Management System (CMS). Adding and manaing content is super easy. There is of course some setup time to get running, but the effort isn't that much and once you have the scaffolding up, everything else is extremely minimal.
Tailwind CSS makes styling your front-end user interface simple. You won't have to worry about creating and maintaining a CSS library. Just add Tailwind to your project and make use of their intuitive styling classes.
Don't want to start with a blank canvass? Tailwind UI has a library full of components that you can copy and paste into your front-end project.
The integrations that Nuxt and Next have with Tailwind is pretty seamless, so getting started is truly effortless.
With Nuxt and Tailwind, this whole website you are looking at right now took just a few hours to get up and running.
It's relatively easy to find front-end developers and back-end developers. You'll even run across quite a few full-stack developers who can do it all!
What is super difficult, is to find a front-end or back-end developer who can effortlessly put on the devops hat. Devops is just a whole other world.
If you can't spend the extra money on a dedicated devops person and the developers are wasting too much time trying to figure it out, then turn to Cleavr.io to be your devops solution.
In no time, you can use Cleavr to provision a new server, have Cleavr install all the necessary dependencies to host your app, and deploy your applications. Cleavr reduces the server management struggle so that you can spend more time building awesome apps and talking to your customers.
Even more, if you use any of the back-end and front-end frameworks mentioned above, then you'll enjoy the first-class treatment that Cleavr provides for those frameworks and even for Strapi CMS.
If you have users, then we gaurentee your users have feedback on your product and will at some point need to submit support request.
Whereas, all of the tools listed so far allow you to do more in less time regarding actually building and delivering your product, Feedmas is where you estasblish relationshops with your users.
Feedmas makes it easy for your users to send you feedback and issues in the moment. Feedmas aims to put you in the middle of your customers so that you can more easily collaborate with them to not only build a more valuable product, but to also build empathy. Don't just see your users as a data point on some analytics platform, see them for who they are and for what they need to accomplish.
There is certainly a plethora of tools that help you keep customer-focused. Above are some of the big ones that you may not have even realized help keep you customer-focused by making it easier to deliver to your customers.
Here is a list of some additional tools to keep your mind laser-focused on your customers - all of which we've tried and found useful!
Want to know when a user runs into a front-end issue? Even better, want to see them actually run into the issue? LogRocket not only sends you alerts and console printouts of front-end issues encountered, but also records the user session so that you can see exactly what they did that led to the error. Makes reproducing errors a ton easier!
Many tools these days (including Cleavr, Doneo, and Feedmas) have the ability to send alerts to Discord and Slack via webhooks. We set up multiple alerts around user ineractions so that we are alerted in real-time if a user runs across a blocking issue. This let's us check it out right away and reach out to users before they even have a chance to reach out to us.
Tired of Jira, Trello, and other task management solutions? Linear is modern, fresh, and is super simple to use and be productive with. We've used Linear for a while and we felt it allowed us to tackle and push through tickets efficiently. I do have to say 'used' though as we've since moved over to GitHub's task management solution that is currently in beta. It's not as polished as Linear but does have the added benefit of being in the same system the code is housed in.
Need usage analytics? The answer is always yes. But, the question of late has been who do you use to collect it? With privacy concerns becoming more of a hot topic and with Google not being a great steward of personal information and tracking, Plausible has recently become one of the go-to alternatives. It does have a cost if you choose to host with them. Though, you can also self-host, check out how to spin up Plausible on your own server using Cleavr, if you'd prefer.
We hope you enjoyed this list and learned some new methods on how to keep your customers top-of-mind!