Tools and services we used to make Portfoleon

Tools and services we used to make Portfoleon

I wrote my first program in 1987 as a kid, and started professionally developing software in 1998. A lot has changed since then :) and one of the things that still fascinates me is how fast you can develop working software ub the cloud these days. There are tons of services to make your life easier - both in development and production.

We tried lots of different services for Portfoleon. Our main criteria were development speed and price. Here’s what we ended up choosing and why.

Basics

Application backend: AWS + Heroku. Why: Heroku made it very easy for us to start and scale. The services are simple to use and are optimized for fast deployment and scalability. Since Heroku uses AWS as a backend this choice was obvious.

Alternatives we considered: Manually managing everything on AWS. We could still switch to this approach at a later stage because it’s less expensive, however at the initial stage we needed to get started as fast as possible, and Heroku helped us solve that problem.

Application Frontend: Static websites on AWS S3. Why: Portfoleon is a single-page application, so we only needed HTML files hosting. S3 is fast, secure, cheap, and integrates well with other AWS services.

Alternatives we considered: Deploying web pages together with the API backend on Heroku. We did not choose this approach because it’s more expensive but is not really faster or more convenient.

Website

Website frontend: Hugo + Static websites on AWS S3. Why: Cheap, fast, secure, easy to maintain.

Alternatives we considered: CMS. We started with Wordpress however ended up switched to Hugo because of a few key capabilities we lacked in Wordpress:

  • Poor content version control
  • Too difficult to test design changes in a safe environment
  • Vendor lock-in

Payment

Payment solution: Stripe + Chargebee. Why: Cheap with small volumes, works out of the box. Chargebee adds essential features related to billing plans, subscriptions, and invoices.

Alternatives we considered:

  • Paypal Business. We did not choose it because it’s less optimized for recurring billing.
  • Chargify. We did not choose it because it was too expensive to start with.

User onboarding

User onboarding solution: DIY + Intro.js + Mailchimp + Hotjar. Why: We needed to add some custom logic that we could not find anywhere else, so we ended up building this ourselves. For the in-product intro tour we are using Intro.js and we send intro emails with a Mailchimp automated campaign.

Alternatives we considered: User engagement services like Userpilot. We could not afford it in the beginning, but we will probably switch to this approach in the future as it seems an excellent option to solve our user onboarding challenges.

Other tools

Design / images: Figma, Unsplash, Canva

User analytics: Google Analytics, Hotjar

CRM: Hubspot

Integration: Zapier

Bonus

I hope this list is helpful. We are also making Portfoleon Timeline, a free, no-registration, no-spam timeline tool you can add to your own list. If you want more, you are welcome to use Portfoleon, a professional roadmapping solution for your product management needs.

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