The first Monday of our new time sheet software saw nearly all our timesheets completed. At best, we’d expect 20% to be complete by this time on our old system.
Sorry, we have to get a little geeky here. For non-techies, you may want to skip this next bit...
Our chosen technology platform for web app development is the open source platform 'LAMP' (Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP 5). Our apps are created using Zend Framework (ZF).
Allow us to explain what it all means, and why it matters to us so much...
As developers, we use a framework to provide basic building blocks for a website or web app. A framework is like a car engine, packed with parts. You can use standardised parts, or use your own custom ones. You could design and build your own spark plugs if you wanted to, but in most cases it will be much quicker and easier to use off-the-shelf spark plugs that you know will do the job.
Using a framework means you have lots and lots of parts to choose from, and a community of fellow framework users to discuss problems with.
At Boson, we settled on the Zend Framework back in 2007, and we've not looked back.
Zend is extremely flexible. You can build something solely in Zend, or just use the Zend components that suit the job. You can even mix-and-match Zend components with those from other frameworks, if necessary. There are Zend components for nearly everything, and if you find a need for something new – well, you can write your own.
Zend also comes with excellent documentation, an official certification programme, and a thriving community of users.
By choosing Zend as our framework, we're giving ourselves the best of both worlds. We have the freedom to develop a new website or webapp in the way that best fits what our client needs.
There is a small price to pay for this freedom and flexibility – unlike other frameworks, Zend makes greater demands on us as developers. You need a certain degree of skill to use it. But we think that's a price well worth paying if it gets us the programming tools we need to do the job properly.