How custom tooling your website can save you money

When I first heard about web tooling a couple of years ago, I was the kind of person who used to build websites from scratch. I took pride in doing things the harder way, and allowing my applications to build up steam as they became increasingly more complicated.

As time went on however, I realized that many of the websites I created would eventually become overpowered, exceeding the original expectations and intentions of it’s creation.

And for the businesses I worked for, this would mean additional overhead and thus additional costs, especially if their websites aren’t made to expand by design.

Here are some of the biggest reasons why your next website should use custom tooling (task runners, builders, package managers, etc…) and why you should invest in it for your future projects:

Future developers can immediately start work on your website

You shouldn’t hire a pineapple as a swimming instructor, even though they can float.

We all know the costs of wasted time. You wouldn’t hire a detective to put down new tiling for your patio, so why wouldn’t the same logic apply to freelancers and developers?

When a developer sees that a website does not have some sort of build process, the first thing they attempt to do is search the project for the places that need updating or fixes applied. In some cases (especially for more complicated web apps) this can take several hours and even up to a day to complete.

Custom tooling allows you to circumvent this caveat. By using tooling not only does the developer have a better understanding of where things are, it’s easier for them to apply the changes to the specific parts of the websites that need updating.

By reducing the time a developer needs to look through code to resolve an issue, you can reallocate their time into more productive things.

It organizes your website’s messy parts, so things can be added later

Custom tooling prevents your code from piling up like this…

This was the biggest caveat I found while working on static websites. In many instances this would mean that the website hasn’t been updated or changed for years (possibly even decades) at a time.

Just like the industrial equivalent, custom tooling allows for swapping parts of your website on demand. If you do not like the way something looks, reads or functions on a tooled website, the changes can take effect as soon as the developer changes the appropriate files.

You don’t like the way that new front page looks? Have the front page files changed. You don’t like how that button glows when you click it? Have the button styles changed in it’s own file. With custom tooling, it’s possible to make substantial and concise changes without the need for sifting through lines upon lines of code.

The ability to make quick changes to fix large problems is what will save you money in the long run, this is where custom tooling excels.

It (potentially) makes tracking changes easier

Not a single change can escape the all-seeing eye…

Imagine hiring a developer that makes some sort of site destroying changes to your website, but not knowing where exactly the changes occurred, or when exactly they took place?

Code repository services such as GitHub and BitBucket allow for the use of a wonderful technology called Version Control Systems (VCS). In layman’s terms it’s basically a way to manage and track changes to a digital project over time. While these services are great and very effective platforms for collaboration as well as tracking code, in many instances they are underutilized or avoided due to how intimidating they might seem.

In the event that you choose to implement a VCS for your website, implementing a custom tooling will make it easier to track specific changes your developers have made.

Instead of having all of your developers work on a single file, splitting the file into smaller segments allows you to know which part they updated and when. This can ultimately save you money by knowing which developers are costing you more verses which developers are making more meaningful contributions to your projects.

Makes room for cutting edge technology

*SNIP* out the competition with a website built up to speed with the cutting edge.

Just as I state on my own website, the web is in a constant state of evolution and so should your website. Custom tooling a website with it’s own task runner does not only benefit from all the aforementioned, but also allows the future integration of some of the coolest and fastest features the web has to offer.

This is done through a feature called “modules” (commonly refereed to as “packages” from within the development community), which are blocks of code that can add features or make changes to parts of your website automatically. With the help of these modules, your website can not only be built on the latest standards, but can also support some older browsers too.

The savings here actually come in two-fold. Not only will custom tooling enable developers to make on-the-fly updates to your website code with ease, but it will also enable the integration of features that would normally take much longer to do manually.

Did you like this article or learned something useful? If so please consider liking and sharing this article so your friends and colleagues may benefit from learning how custom tooling can help them expand their websites.

If you are interested in my content, or would like to reach out to me about a website that needs work, feel free to follow me on Twitter and I also invite you to check out my site. From there you can reach me or potentially contract me to help you with your website.