Foundation by Blackball Software
A software system that brings enterprise-level scale and reliability to small & medium-sized businesses.
Over the last 15 years, Blackball has learnt that when developing software, some things are important to all businesses - from small start-ups to large manufacturers.
Like making information accessible to your customers - high-performing reports, data management and email notifications. As well as technical features to help keep your system running smoothly under the hood - caching, localisation, API access, multi-threading and data synchronization.
Often these features only come with expensive, enterprise-level software, so we looked at how we could make them available for our smaller clients too. The outcome was Foundation, a modular system that makes these features possible and affordable for even small businesses.
How Foundation benefits our clients
By providing Foundation to our entire spectrum of clients, Blackball can spread the cost while still providing each client with a world-class platform.
Reduced development time
Foundation takes care of the fundamentals of your application, which would otherwise take software companies months or years to develop.
Proven in the real world
Every component in Foundation has been battle-hardened in the real-world, by real software applications. You don't have to worry about bugs traditionally associated with new software because Foundation has already ironed them out.
Even once your software application is completed, Blackball is always working on Foundation - from improving performance to applying the latest security patches. Foundation gives you assurance that your software will remain in good health, even as the world around it changes.
Continuous feature upgrades
Foundation is shared across all our projects, so we are happy to invest hundreds of hours in a new feature that clients couldn't necessarily afford individually.
What if I want to move to another developer?
If you choose to leave Blackball Software, we give you a copy of Foundation's source code, according to the version you are currently using. Obviously you will no longer benefit from the Foundation eco-system and upgrades, but rest assured that your new developers will be completely unhindered to develop your software in any direction they choose.
Who owns the IP for Foundation?
The intellectual property in Foundation is owned by Blackball Software, however we give you a perpetual non-exclusive licence to use it in any way you need to, within the bounds of your application.
How is Foundation different from any other third-party package or framework?
Well, we can't comment on the efficacy of all third-party frameworks, but we do know that (as of writing) none of them were good enough for Blackball. By maintaining Foundation, we have complete control to deliver precisely what we know our clients need.
Furthermore, with complete control comes economies of scale and integrations which would otherwise be impossible with third-party frameworks. For example, Foundation's built-in monitoring system consolidates all our site metrics into a single real-time dashboard managed by Blackball staff internally.
Doesn't using Foundation result in all your applications being 'cookie cutter'?
That's a good question - how do we find a balance between a) providing common functionality out-of-the-box; and b) allowing each client project to be completely individualized depending on their unique business requirements.
Internally, Foundation deals in abstractions, meaning that each module is free to manifest in whichever way best suits the client. For example, our data-access methods consider "data sources" and "data updates", but they have no knowledge of where or how that data is stored. For most clients, this is usually implemented as a relational database, but there's no reason that source couldn't be an XML file, a graph database or even a remote API.
Another example is notifications. You won't find the word "Email" anywhere in the Foundation source code - instead it deals with "messages" and "recipients". It is only once we've spoken with our individual client that we decide how to manifest these messages. Perhaps you have your own MS Exchange Server? Perhaps you need a third-party email API like MailChimp?. Or maybe not even email at all, and you'd prefer to send SMS notifications or push messages directly to mobile phones. Whatever your requirement, it can be delivered on top of Foundation's abstracted architecture.
Want to know more?
Foundation is modular and available to any level of software application - no matter how big or small. It will almost certainly be appropriate for your new application and it will definitely save you money, reduce your stress and give your project a head-start.
It only takes a minute to send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org - tell us about your project and we can take it from there.