I thought it was about time I put up an in depth review of my experience with Click Labs. We’re now about 9 months after the end of the project, which has let us develop a much clearer picture of their work.
Using Click Labs came as a recommendation from a friend. Said friend had never used them for Ruby on Rails dev, but had for mobile.
After a couple of chats with the CEO and a project manager, I was convinced they were a good choice. They seemed like they had built some really cool projects that looked good as well. And I could understand their English easily. Very rare for a development team in India!
We specced out the project and paid the initial fee of 25%. A week later they cam back with a login page design which was actually pretty good. Until this point I was pretty nervous – we’ve been burned by a lot of devs before. In this case I was really impressed with the initial design, so calmed down a little.
Unfortunately, that is the end of the positive experience.
The initial estimated 7 weeks development time blew by. In the end, we took the project off their hands after 7 months, unfinished. By this point I’d had enough of the backwards and forwards, countless voice calls and scoffing when we explained the functionality we wanted.
To clear up that last point, the focal point of our app was a specialised calendar. This calendar needed the ability to handle recurring events on a schedule. Every time I referred to Google Calendar as an example, the project manager would scoff as if we were asking them to recreate the entire app.
Every time they would release a new version for me to test, about a third of what they said they had done would actually work. Seemingly, they didn’t test anything themselves.
The front end left a bad enough impression. If only I had taken the time to dig into the code behind, I would have canned the project right then and there. It was a big mistake on our part to check code so late in the project. Even I, as a total Rails noob, could recognise the state of disarray the code was in.
- No use of layouts (full markup in every view)
- Hand coded route for every single action
- String concatenation in text fields instead of model relationships <- Holy shit, what!?
- The list goes on
It seems as though the developers were new to Rails. Our new devs have theorised that they were perhaps PHP devs trying out Rails for the first time. Not a single aspect of the “convention over configuration” philosophy had been used.
Fast forward to now, and we’ve basically doubled the project cost, maybe more, getting it to a state of readiness. In the end we’ve torn out almost every bit of code Click Labs provided. It would have been simpler to start over, but as they say hindsight is 20/20.
This goes down as one of the worst business decisions I’ve ever made, and the most costly as well. From what I can tell, they’ve got a really good sales and marketing team who can talk the talk, but lack the development team to back it up.
If you are thinking of hiring these guys, feel free to reach out and ask me anything about the experience.