Our Agency Stack: 35 Tools Powering SeamgenWritten by Admin
Since 2008, we have been steadily building our reputation as one of the top mobile and web application development companies. While our Seamgen team is skilled, agile, and creative, a craftsman is only as good as his/her toolkit allows. Fortunately, we’ve found 35 tools that are as versatile as our team. Here, we present our complete agency stack to you, 8 years in the making.
“The ease of exporting multiple assets at multiple sizes in Sketch is key.” –Brian Lamb, Director of User Experience
With Sketch, we have incredible flexibility, as it incorporates everything from Photoshop to Illustrator, bringing all the vector-based design tools into one place. Previously, we used Photoshop for UI, but Sketch is much more versatile.
“With Sketch’s introduction of symbols and text styles, you’re able to not only keep things consistent, but save valuable time that would normally be spent making repetitive edits.” –Mark Coulstring, User Experience Lead
Everything is uploaded from Sketch directly to Zeplin. We like Zeplin for its ability to streamline Sketch even further, breaking it into a style guide and asset repository. We can even export certain assets directly from Zeplin. There is also a menu for editing code, bridging the gap between our designers and developers.
We love OmniGraffle for laying out information architecture. Everything is very easy with drag and drop and the interface is intuitive and never cluttered.
This program is a simple, easy-to-use prototyping tool. It works great for client presentations, as InVision mocks it up in your mobile device, making it easy to click through. During design, it can be used as a remote desktop, hooking up your mobile device to your computer. You can’t do anything robust with InVision, we just use it to make things seem more realistic.
This is another prototyping tool, used when a prototype needs to be more robust/interactive. We have it set up where we can do text input and store it, being able to bring you to a specific place when needed.
“Axure is great for user testing, since it’s so easy to set up an exact scenario that someone can run through. It’s easier to make changes early on before anything is sent to development, and this saves us a lot of money.” –Brian Lamb, Director of User Experience
It allows us to look at Microinteractions (swiping and other gestures), and put something concrete together to show our development team. There are tons of ease-in ease-out predefined animations, as well. Overall, Principle is a solid guideline for our development team.
We can get a provisioned development build on our phones with HockeyApp. When the development team pushes a build, it’s updated here because we can easily track different user metrics with it.
Confluence provides a good place for the Design Team to post all our project files so they can be shared between our clients and us. This software will be revisited in our section on project management tools.
While more for our project managers, this is where we transfer approved projects from Confluence. Once the designers put it into JIRA, project management takes over.
Xamarin Studio is our go-to IDE when we develop cross-platform native mobile applications. We choose Xamarin Studio over Visual Studio plugins for cross-platform apps because we use Macs, rather than Windows-based computers. Click here to read Seamgen CEO Marc Alringer’s thoughts on the benefits of Xamarin.
While we don’t use Visual Studio for cross-platform, we do use it when developing C++ and .net applications, since this is the de facto IDE for these languages.
This is the standard IDE for developing iOS applications. Xcode includes tons of integrated tools for debugging and creating robust UI.
“For most of the IDEs, we use the standard one out there today. Just because there aren’t alternatives for some of the platforms does not mean functionality and ease of use is compromised.” –Marc Alringer, President & CEO
We use WebStorm for developing html5, AngularJS, and Node.js applications. This software allows us to simplify debugging and set break points throughout the stack.
Android Studio offers us an easier, more neat experience than other IDEs, like Eclipse. We trust Android Studio when developing native Android apps.
“We choose to use Android Studio over other IDEs because the integration with the Android framework and overall development experience is beyond comparison.” –Jesus Garcia, Android Developer
“Everything’s automated with AWS…we can spin servers, turn backups, the list goes on.” –Marc Alringer, Seamgen President & CEO
At Seamgen, we use a wide variety of Amazon’s IaaS and PaaS offerings. A few services we use and love from AWS are S3, EC2, DynamoDB, Elastic Beanstalk, CloudFront, RDS, and ElastiCache. Everything is automated with AWS, from spinning servers to turning backups, the list goes on.
“AWS is very powerful, but it requires really diving into the options.” –Rustam Kasad, Technical Lead
Recently, we have started using Azure for Windows-based applications and we haven’t had any issues with this switch so far.
BitBucket is a git repository that allows ease of collaboration and software sharing. We can even create multiple teams to streamline the development process. We use this software over GitHub because of the difference in pricing plans; with BitBucket you can pay a set rate for a large number of users, whereas GitHub requires you pay an additional per-user fee. We save hundreds of dollars each year by using BitBucket over GitHub.
SourceTree is a GUI interface for BitBucket. It allows us to look at all our sources and projects in a more visual, animated manner. Created by Atlassian, just like BitBucket, SourceTree works very intuitively.
Sales & Marketing
Built on top of Google Apps, we find ProsperWorks runs great and is an intuitive CRM. We love the new two-way sync feature between ProsperWorks and Google Contacts. Now, our contact information is automatically updated so we don’t have to spend time entering and re-entering client data and information.
“ProsperWorks provides us a very easy-to-see visual representation of the sales pipeline, and the google sidebar is a plus, too.” –Daniel Goldstein, Director of Sales & Marketing
We love that MailChimp integrates nicely with ProsperWorks. MailChimp delivers analytics such as clickthrough rate and open rate for our large-scale newsletters. Also, MailChimp stores our contact list so all types of company updates can be done efficiently. Below is a snapshot of our most recent newsletter created with MailChimp.
Our weekly social media schedule is stored in MeetEdgar. We have multiple LinkedIn accounts, our company Facebook, and multiple Twitter pages all entrusted to MeetEdgar. Each week, all we have to do is add new content to the queue, and MeetEdgar categorizes it and knows exactly when to publish it.
This is the standard analytics platform, and is robust enough for our website. We can track our rank for multiple keywords and view our historical progress.
Our blog is run entirely through WordPress, and it’s easy to upload content and visuals, then quickly format it all in the visual edits section. When coding, the text edits section is a great place to make quick changes; our raised quotes and links to other places within this post were all done in text edits. As if that wasn’t enough, WordPress also gives us SEO and readability tips and reminders, along with a checklist for every post.
SumoMe is a great complement to our website, helping us increase traffic. All our website pages have a floating “Contact Us” bar at the bottom, and our blog posts have a sidebar for one-click sharing to Facebook, LinkedIn, and more.
“SumoMe has increased our volume of business since it’s a convenient reminder for anyone to contact us from every page on our website.” –Daniel Goldstein, Director of Sales & Marketing
A gmail plugin pulling social information for everyone we email with. We simply move our cursor over their gmail address and Rapportive allows us to view all their info.
When our client presentations cannot be done in-person, we rely on join.me to properly present Seamgen’s vision for the project.
Dropbox works great when we share any large files. Usually, we use it when storing presentations for clients.
HR, Finance, & Communication
This is our main HR portal. It’s easy to onboard new people and maintain employee contracts. It’s a great database for pay rates, titles, health benefits, PTO, etc. Zenefits substitutes the paperwork with a mobile version where employees can quickly upload personal and tax information.
Harvest tracks time spent by each employee for each project. Creating invoices for our clients is simple because Harvest tracks specific time spent by each employee on each project.
“Harvest is a great tool for tracking time since it lets your clients know exactly how your employees are spending time on their projects. This saves time communicating with our clients.” –Ashley Haber, Office Manager
We use JobScore for our recruitment process, since it’s a database for all employees that are applying/interviewing. It provides a single place for us to view candidate resumes and portfolios. With JobScore, we can easily post a job offering across tons of different internet job boards.
QuickBooks is an intuitive accounting tool, enabling us to enter/send invoices, track past due invoices, see if a client has viewed their invoice, and much more. We use it for our bi-weekly payroll and for paying any bills we need to, as well.
“QuickBooks reporting is very customizable, providing the ability to generate a report displaying all of the information you need to see.” –Ashley Haber, Office Manager
Gmail and many other Google Apps are at the core of our productivity tools. Collaboration and communication are incredibly easy, and our employee onboarding process takes a matter of minutes now, all thanks to Gmail.
“The universal cloud accessibility of Gmail is a must-have for a company like ours.” –Daniel Goldstein, Director of Sales/Marketing
We use Google Drive as a substitute for filing cabinets. All our documents are stored electronically, and everyone in our company can obtain access to it if they need to. We save everything from statements of work (SOWs) to invoices in the drive.
Slack is our primary method of communication within the workplace. It works well across all mobile devices.
We use join.me primarily for conference calls. Join.me conveniently gives you a phone number for each call, so you don’t always need to rely on an internet connection.
We use Google Hangouts for video chat, since its video features often run a little more smoothly than join.me. As a plus, it’s totally free.
JIRA allows us to track requirements for user stories and acceptance criteria; the development team then uses this information for sprints. We also track compositions here, so the development team knows what they are building.
This software provides a main, shared location for our client and Seamgen team to upload documents associated to the project. This includes everything from compositions to wireframes.
“Confluence is a great place for collaboration between our team and the client. It’s easy for us to meet our timeline goals when everyone is consistently on the same page.” –Elle Larsson, Director of Project Management
Our project managers use Harvest to track the budgets for their specific projects.
Seamgen: Your Next Partner
Well, that was a long list. But if you’ve made it this far, chances are you have some thoughts on our agency stack. Do you have more questions about why we use these 35 different tools? Interested in partnering with us and putting our team and our tools to the test? Contact Seamgen now. You’ll be glad you did.
Looking for more? We also released a massive, step-by-step guide to hiring a software development company.
Didn’t know you read that one too. Here’s a couple other lists we’ve created, similar to this post.