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Bootstrapping a tech start up with limited financial resources is always a difficult task in hand. You have to find the right balance between the cost and the benefit of the money spent. As a new entrepreneur if you could get some great software for the price of 0 that would really expedite the tech related company bootstrapping process.

Introduction

In this context lets discuss about some free software that will really help you get some amazing benefits. I would like to keep this post as programming language agnostic as possible. Subsequently, I believe though you don’t need to pay for the software a good web host will be necessary that provides shell and software installation access (like Amazon AWS or Linode) to install the software mentioned later in this post.

This post is going to cover software/SAAS for Project Management , group chat and notification, source code collaboration with version control (git), deployment automation and error/log monitoring of the deployed application.


The Apps

Redmine for Project Management

Redmine is a flexible project management tool that can be self hosted on your own server. It helps you keep track of all the ideas, features and bugs that pertain to your application. It is very flexible and configurable to the flow you want to choose for your project management. If you follow an agile, scrum type approach with Kanban it can easily support that flow. If you are looking for free hosted project management tools you can have a look at Trello or Asana


Hipchat for Group Chat and Notification

Hipchat is an amazing chat application that support one to one and group chats, it is great to search your previous chats online and integrates very well with other applications. A real world use case is our deployments are notified on Hipchat. They have a paid plan as well but the free plan is enough to start with. Interestingly they have apps for all relevant platforms. If you still want to go old school you can opt for Skype or good old Google chat. 


GitLab for private git hosting

Git is a distributed version control system which is flexible, configurable, popular and very useful to put your source code under version control. If you follow a good git flow and branching model it can be very productive for your team. As a startup if you don’t want to pay for private git hosting at GitHub , GitLab community edition is a very good self hosted alternative or hosted at Gitlab.com. Gitlab has great features where you can manage repositories and user permissions, open pull request and collaborate by comments etc. If you are looking for a hosted alternative BitBucket gives a free 5 user unlimited private repository free plan.


Dploy.io for Continuous Deployment

The more things you can automate the better it is from a cost point of view. Dploy.io is a hosted continuous deployment service that can deploy your code from Github or other git repo to Heroku, AWS and even your own server with SSH access or FTP and SFTP. It is easy to link the repository from sources like github and deploy it to the destination server. It makes the deployment quite easy and seamless which needs some initial configuration. For the free plan it allows one repository linked with unlimited destination servers and unlimited deployments.


NewRelic for Application Monitoring

NewRelic is a handy application monitoring and exception/error notification tool which is useful for real time reporting of running applications. NewRelic is our go to app after each deployment to check if anything has gone wrong where it shows all the related errors and exceptions. NewRelic also provides information about application response times, deployment notification and other important information about servers as well. New Relic now also supports mobile apps monitoring which is a great new feature. The free plan gives 24 hours data retention. Graylog2 is an amazing log analyzing alternative but may need to be self hosted and Loggr looks quite promising as well.



When you choose apps, you should also think of a smooth migration plan or an upgraded plan. It will help easy migration to a better vendor when needed.

Conclusion

Even for a start-up you will always need a good process and system in place. If you can automate your flows it would greatly help for the sustainability of the business. If the best practices for coding, testing and continuous integration can be followed by the development team with great software architecture and design it will make rolling out new features easy. Above application will help in achievement of these goals.  

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