What does it take to build a cloud-based SaaS Web app?

6 replies
Hi everyone, I joined this forum because I was hoping to learn from experts in programming. I know next to nothing about it.

I want to develop a web app for lawyers, and plan to outsource it's development to a programmer. But I have no idea what I should look for, what language I want it to be programmed, what things I need to start a SaaS company. Can anyone help please?

I didn't know what topic to post this in so I posted it here, please let me know if you would like me to post this somewhere else.

I guess I'll organize this into a number of questions

1) What requirements are needed to have a SaaS website? I heard I need a server so I was planning on using Amazon's cloud service. But I hear I need something like an SSL (don't know what that is).

2) Should I look for a specific language that I want my programmers to program in? If so what would be the best language to save on time for it to be built?

I know there are probably more questions that I need to be asking, but can't find this information with a simple Google search. Please help me.

Thank you guys.
#app #build #cloudbased #saas #web
  • Profile picture of the author Jill Carpenter
    Welcome to the forum!

    You will likely get most/better answers of some things in the programming forum.

    I did however get a brief outline this past weekend on some things to consider when building the app - which you don't need to be the programmer, but you do need to outline the project itself.

    This particular list was for building an ios app:

    1. define your app
    2. design your app
    3. the ios architecture (this could be translated to what ever program you are working with

    - lol, and here is where my notes get a bit messy.

    Under defining the app, there was things like:
    Create a core feature list
    offline capability
    location awareness
    cloud syncing
    push notifications (alerts go somewhere)

    Other considerations include screen size, portability, and media type.

    And more - You might find codes that already exist for specific functions of your app - so you don't have to totally reinvent the wheel

    Making storyboards of what the user sees

    Your supporting files can be in the cloud - and users could download the basic program.

    It's something you may want to find a whole class about - either online or offline. Not so sure you'll get a detailed step by step here, not to mention there will be particulars for everyones individual business.

    "May I have ten thousand marbles, please?"

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  • Profile picture of the author SteveSRS
    You need to create a good plan and write it all down in details in a project document.

    This document should describe the concept, target market, feature list. Show diagrams as flow chart, use case diagrams etc. This document is a living life force of your project.

    It determines the scope, what's in and also very important what's out.
    Based on this document you can outsource various tasks (e.g. class diagram creation, then database design then programming).

    All these steps are necessary you can't just go to programming. Depending on the size of the project you might even need a server architecture diagram as well.
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  • Profile picture of the author MartinPlatt

    Before you do anything, make sure you know enough about cloud based application development to be able to manage your project, otherwise you're going to be in a whole heap of pain.

    I think the first question is actually, do you need to build SaaS? You need the requirements of the software first, before you decide upon which platform to build, and then what design it needs to be. Let me give you a little example - suppose you're creating an e-mail package, just a standard one for one user. You don't need SaaS, you need to go and get something that already exists. On the other hand what about an accounting package that runs in the cloud? That might be beneficial to have scalable infrastructure (computer hardware). So what will the application do, that requires it to be SaaS? If you don't know, don't even think about outsourcing this until you do understand the reasons why.

    There are many different platforms that allow you (or your outsourced worker) to do this.
    The point with software as a service, that you need to be aware of, beside having to make the software multi-tenanted, meaning a new customer comes along, and the software can run as if it is their own copy. You also have to consider what happens when you do this many times - how can the software scale to keep up with the demand?
    Does your infrastructure - servers and hardware allow you to easily add more power?

    How much power do you need? How many users will they be, and what will the application do?

    The language you choose may in part be dictated by the infrastructure - for example it might be prohibitively expensive to use one language as the hosting is more expensive. On the other hand it might be that the programmer for a particular programming language may swing you toward a choice of language.

    There's just no way I could teach you all you need to know to be competent in designing a SaaS application. The very basics, maybe, but you leave yourself open to a whole bunch of problems, if the issues are not basic.

    Personally I would recommend one of two things - paying someone who does know about SaaS to design it for you, then someone else to code it up. Or, you could take on a partner - someone who knows what they're talking about when it comes to designing software.

    And by the way, the advice on this thread is not of the best standard in my opinion - do your due dilligence properly before deciding what to do. SaaS is so much more than just a web app.

    Martin Platt

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  • Profile picture of the author rodrigofuentes
    I second MartinPlatt's comments. Try to reduce your product/service offering into a process that you can perform manually. If you find customers with that, then start building the actual application because it will help you perform the offering once you cannot do that on your own. The Learn Startup folks call this the "concierge software".
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  • Profile picture of the author r0dvan
    Let me save you thousand of dollars.
    Start learning basics.
    - Learn what is MVC
    - Learn to structure your app.
    - Design a multi-tenant logic, either same database or individual databases.
    - Learn about Elastic cloud, I use DigitalOcean and Github Private repo.

    Its a lot of things. I recommend start learning technology at teamtreehouse.com
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