This developer spotlight features Ryan Larkin of NewroSoftMods, a longtime SocialEngine community developer. They’ve worked on a number of SocialEngine community sites including All Abroad UK. Here’s Ryan!
SocialEngine: How long has NewroSoftMods been active in the SocialEngine community?
Ryan Larkin: We have worked with SocialEngine almost from the start. Social Engine launched in 2007, and we started doing customizations for SocialEngine customers in 2008. So, we have been around since SocialEngine v2. Back then, there were about five or six companies that did customizations for the platform. Now SocialEngine has grown immensely in popularity and so have the companies that do customizations for the platform. We have a great working relationship with many fellow SocialEngine developers. There are many good developers to choose from which is great for the customer!
SE: At the moment, you provide a few add-ons for SocialEngine. What can you tell us about them, and are any more being developed?
Ryan: Yes, so far we have developed only few add-ons for Social Engine platform. The reason being our company is more focused on custom development. We definitely have quite a few great ideas for new plug-ins, which we will release in coming months.
SE: What can you tell us about custom development?
Ryan: As I mentioned above, this is our main focus. We have done hundreds of customizations for SocialEngine clients since 2008. Our main goal is to get the best possible understanding of the client’s idea in order to deliver the result they expect. Sometimes this process takes quite some time, because frankly, many clients don’t really know what they want. We try to guide them and give them advice on how to better achieve their goals. If the requested feature they are looking to develop can be easily added by installing a third party plugin, we recommend plugins from other developers listed on your site.
We also provide our clients with a “project documentation creation service” as it is important to have all details on paper before beginning a project. This process includes a lot of discussion via email and phone. Depending on the project size, this process could take up to one month, but in the end, the client has a perfect understanding of what to expect. This also gives our development team a clear understanding of what is expected to be delivered as the final product.
SE: How else do you approach a new project with a client?
Ryan: When we get a new inquiry the most important thing is that both our company and the client are on the same page before starting any project. We communicate with the client and make sure we know exactly what is needed and wanted from them before starting development. As soon as the project details are ironed out, we provide a price breakdown along with the milestones. After project development starts, we are in constant communication with the client via email, providing updates, notifying them of any possible delays or best ways to implement a particular feature. As you know, there are always things to discuss along the way when it comes to development. Even if project requirements were discussed in details before the actual development has started, constant communication is a must as a project moves forward.
SE: What advice can you give SocialEngine users who are considering custom modifications?
Ryan: Make sure the developer knows exactly what you want before beginning any modifications. This will help the modification process go smoothly. It is very helpful when the client has a spec sheet outlining exactly what they want. This will save you time and money with any modifications. For midsize and large projects it is essential to have one. If your potential developer does not ask a lot of questions before beginning your project, that should be a red flag and you may want to look elsewhere.
SE: Your services are highly reviewed, what type of work have you done for SocialEngine communities?
Ryan: We have done all kinds of modifications and design work for the Social Engine community in the past four years. Everything from minor customizations to custom templates and custom plugins development. We have many repeat customers, many who have been with us for many years.
We try to take care of any potential customer even if we are not the right company for the job and will point them in the right direction. If the customer does not have a budget for what he wants to develop, we are happy to give advice on how to divide the project into phases in order to better utilize available funds, or help them decide which features they really need.
SE: About how long does a project typically take?
Ryan: It really depends on each particular project. It could be a few days or few months. In many cases clients wants to launch a site “by the end of the week” but often the reality is quite different given the project scope and the complexity of what they are trying to accomplish. We do our best to explain why the project will take as long as it does.
SE: What are your thoughts on developing with the SocialEngine platform?
Ryan: SocialEngine is a great platform to work with. The fact that it is actively developed and constantly upgraded by the SocialEngine team should be one of the main deciding factors when someone is considering which platform to use. We have studied many platforms over the years, and this is by far the best in its class.
SE: Any last words for your fans? What future plans can we expect from NewroSoftMods?
Ryan: We will keep providing the SocialEngine community with a quality service, and we will help people achieve their goals! We also want to thank everyone at SocialEngine as well as our customers who put their trust in our company over these years. Thank you!
Special thanks to Matt for this great interview and giving us the chance to express our thoughts!
SE: Thanks, Ryan!