Extraterrestrial product development consultancy

Evil Martians is a distributed product development consultancy that works with startups and established businesses, and creates open source-based products and services.

Evil Martians invade products that are pivoting or experiencing explosive growth—for internet startups and larger companies building spin-offs.

Local startup going to an IPO as a part of global business, a small team trying to disrupt a whole sector becoming a market leader, a big company launching profitable spin-offs, a unicorn shipping on point and improving engineering culture⁠—stories that happen with Evil Martians as the technical backbone.

eCommerce

The ability to make assumptions, run multiple experiments, make changes, and iterate is what makes or breaks an eCommerce startup.

By applying lean development principles to the product itself, we ship working software as often as we can.

Evil Martians have been helping eCommerce startups to succeed for more than ten years. Our tech stack is based on languages and frameworks that are optimized for development speed, so we can ship faster and iterate without compromising on quality and security.

“ The design is only good when it converts

When it comes to the product itself and UI design, we apply our no-nonsense, conversion-based design approach: the design is only good when it converts. Behavior tracking, measuring conversion on every step, and iterating is always a part of the process.

Evil Martians had proudly took part in many eCommerce success stories, big and small. On the one hand, we served as a technical team for a small startup, handling explosive growth, rapid feature changes and a massive amount of traffic—right until our client got bought out by a global player and became a part of its IPO. On another hand, we worked with large, established players, and outperformed target metrics for our products while conforming to tight budgets, strict security standards, and corporate standards of a larger company.

Open Source

Open Source is our bread and butter at Evil Martians.

We use open source products for almost everything that we do for our customers—and we also give back plenty.

Evil Martians have the experience of building commercial software products on top of existing open source projects, tailoring the functionality for specific needs, and providing support and maintenance.

Be sure to check the list of Martian open source projects.

For many of our own open source products, we offer priority support, commercial add-ons, and consulting.

We provide commercial support for PostCSS, the tool for transforming styles with JavaScript plugins, trusted by industry leaders.

We provide a commercial version with extended features and commercial support for imgproxy, a fast and secure standalone server for resizing images.

AnyCable adds real-time features to your Ruby on Rails application without ever having to switch to another platform or language. We provide commercial support for AnyCable.

We also provide commercial support for Astrograph. Astrograph is the GraphQL interface to Stellar blockchain; it lowers the entry threshold to the Stellar ecosystem and reduces development costs.

Enterprise

“ Who says elephants can’t dance?

More and more enterprises are investing in building “internal startups”—to diversify, try new approaches for new customers, or stay relevant when battling the competition.

More often than not, the new product cannot be shipped without an intervention—managers are trying to play safe, internal development can take too long, and results can be unpredictable. Agile transformation is a big topic for enterprises, but larger companies still need some outside help to make the change.

At Evil Martians, we have experience delivering new products and “internal startups” for large, established companies, working closely with product managers who want to see the change happen.

Using agile software development methodologies and languages and frameworks that are optimized for development speed, we can deliver software faster while still working with legacy APIs and strict security requirements.

Fintech and Blockchain

The defining ability of a successful fintech startup technical team is to be able to find the perfect balance between shipping product as fast as possible and still conforming to all security practices and standards.

Martians have the experience of developing an innovative mobile-first bank, while still conforming to all required security standards (PCI DSS). We worked closely with the bank, payment gateways, and old-school APIs—all to deliver every release in a timely, iterative fashion to allow the product to grow.

With Distributed Ledger Technologies and Blockchain-based projects, we steer away from shady products and get rich quick schemes. Instead, we treat Blockchain as a technological solution for real-world problems.

“ We have particularly deep experience with Stellar network

While we can work with most blockchain technologies on the market, we have particularly deep experience with Stellar network, as we have developed an open source framework for delivering Stellar-based applications in a timely and straightforward manner.

On-demand

On-demand startups have seen some of the most explosive growth in the past years.

This comes with the need to scale to the highest loads and introduce new products quickly and without breaking any of the existing functionality.

For that, it helps to be a polyglot company and have several languages and frameworks at our disposal—some optimized for development speed, some optimized for performance and low footprint.

It is also our experience that for most startups, languages and frameworks are not the performance bottleneck—but architecture decisions and database management skills are. We see excellent results when martian developers and Site Reliability engineers join an existing team to help.

For one of the unicorns in the on-demand space, Martians helped to implement some of the new products, scale quicker, and optimize some parts of the infrastructure. Martians also have the experience of working as a core technical team for a company that fulfills the needs of many big and well-known on-demand startups—an applicant tracking system for the on-demand space.

SaaS

Software as a Service startups is where Lean software development methods shine.

Every SaaS product team, no matter whether it was bootstrapped or just received a round of financing, needs to know how users use their software, where is the most significant value, and what are the features that are often misunderstood. And when the startup starts to gain traction and the attention of more prominent clients, it is of the utmost importance to keep everything running in a fast and stable manner—otherwise, people won’t be able to rely on the software.

We have experience with providing metrics-based, user-friendly and straightforward user interface design for SaaS startups, iterative development using modern backend and frontend frameworks, and making sure the software scales with the number of users and size of data in their accounts.

Evil Martians run their own Software as a Service startups (social media management and analytics, eCommerce marketing analytics), using all the experience they’ve gathered with lean product development approach and performance-based design.

Martian Chronicles

Interplanetary dispatches on backend, frontend, design, development operations, management, and Martian lifestyle.

Our open source and commercial experience gets distilled and published regularly on our team blog.

Case Study

Pro becomes smart: imgproxy Pro engages machine learning

Backend

Real-time stress: AnyCable, k6, WebSockets, and Yabeda

Frontend

Decoding AVIF: Deep dive with cats and imgproxy

Frontend

Bootstrap: an intervention

What we do

Clients trust us to be the core technical team behind their products.

In product development and UI design, we take function over form and rely on analytics.

We take pride in our software development expertise and open source projects. We handle infrastructure administration and ensure service reliability.

We strive for improving engineering culture and team processes—with mentoring and audit.

Product development

Evil Martians is a product development consultancy that can help you launch web and mobile products, pivot and improve them based on analytics.

Our clients trust us to develop turnkey solutions. We take time to learn about your business and set clear goals based on your intentions. Then we come up with ideas we want to test and set up analytics to test them. We work on products in short iterations, delivering working software frequently, and continually checking if our ideas perform well.

We follow the Lean Software Development approach closely. We put a dedicated product designer at the center of collaboration: that person translates your business needs into testable assumptions and implements them with the help of the technical team.

We take the feedback both from metrics that we design ourselves and from the customer, based on their expertise in the field, to iterate over features quickly and deliver only those that are proven to bring value to the business.

UI design

“Design is how it works.”

At Evil Martians, we believe in performance-based user interface design.

For us, the design is only viable when it delivers results. For eCommerce startups, we work on improving the conversion. For product interfaces, we care about how easy it is for end-users to perform tasks and meet their goals.

We never put form before function.

We follow the same metrics-driven approach in UI design, as we apply to the product as a whole.

Our designers are no strangers both to product engineering and product management, which removes the wall between those who design features, and those who implement them.

Designer’s work does not end with the mock-up. Our designers have engineering backgrounds, so they speak the same language as developers and work seamlessly with the whole product team until the feature is implemented and tested in production.

Backend development

Evil Martians is a polyglot team with an opinionated language and framework stack—we use Ruby and Rails, Go, Elixir, Node.js, Rust, and JVM languages, as well as our own open source technologies.

Martians started as a Ruby on Rails consultancy, and we’ve been building Rails applications from day one. More than a decade of experience has convinced us that for most web startups, Rails is a phenomenal way to save time and money at the start of the product development cycle.

We don’t take out tools for granted: our engineers keep improving the Ruby ecosystem through open source contributions.

We have authored a multitude of Ruby gems and often commit to Ruby on Rails itself. We have also improved on some parts of Rails as a framework—take AnyCable, the lightning-fast, production-ready replacement for Action Cable.

Go is our second most used language on the backend. We use Go to build highly performant application parts—as well as for implementing microservices for larger applications.

Our open source experience with Go, among other projects, includes: imgproxy, the fastest and lightest open source proxy server for resizing and manipulating images; AnyCable, a drop-in replacement for Action Cable in Rails, where all the heavy-lifting is implemented in Go; and, finally, Lefthook, the fastest polyglot Git hook manager.

We resort to Rust in areas where pure performance is of the utmost importance—specifically, in some of our blockchain applications.

We use Node.js on the backend to support rich web applications that interact with existing APIs. We find ourselves using TypeScript more and more for new Node.js projects.

GraphQL powers most of our new single-page applications, as it has proven to speed up the development significantly, by reducing complexity in communication between the frontend and backend developers.

We use a wide selection of databases for our applications: PostgreSQL as the default relational database, as well as Redis, Elasticsearch, Cassandra, and various NoSQL databases where needed.

No matter the technical stack we use to build your application, our priority is to create a healthy engineering culture that follows the principles of Continuous Deployment.

Proper automated test coverage, Continuous Integration workflows, code linters, and other automations—we make sure that the software can (and should!) be deployed to production multiple times per day without any drawbacks. This way, developers can focus on bringing value to the product and shipping new features, instead of fighting with environment setup.

Make sure to check our open source contributions if you want to learn more about Martian backend skills.

Frontend development

For frontend development and building rich web applications, Evil Martians use JavaScript, TypeScript, and a set of open source technologies of our own design. React with Redux is our framework of choice.

For bundling our frontend, we prefer Webpack or Parcel, Babel, and PostCSS.

Most new single-page applications that we develop are built using GraphQL.

The JAMstack approach is gaining traction; for some of the applications and websites that we build where frontend performance is essential and dynamic backend is not required, we opt for Gatsby.

Evil Martians have extensive open source experience when it comes to frontend web development.

PostCSS, one of the most popular npm packages, used by many industry leaders and startups, came to life during one of our commercial projects. Same goes for a lot of projects in the PostCSS ecosystem—specifically, Autoprefixer and Browserslist. We are also developing Logux, the CRDT framework for the modern web.

Don’t forget to check out Martian open source to learn about our frontend experience.

Mobile development

Evil Martians excel at developing iOS apps with Swift, and multi-platform mobile apps with React Native.

Most of the minimum viable products for our mobile apps start as an iOS application. We begin by quickly shipping a robust and user-friendly first version of an iOS app so the end-users can experience your product as soon as possible. That expedites and helps shape the final vision of the product that could be implemented for Android as well.

As avid fans of Swift, Martians are enthusiastic about leveraging all the latest and greatest language and framework features that Apple’s mobile platform has to offer.

Martians also have a solid experience building React Native apps.

React Native is an excellent fit for B2B apps—and any apps where a mobile application does not have a lot an overly sophisticated user interface, and the focus is put on features. With React Native, we can deliver a straightforward multi-platform mobile application in a short amount of time.

Blockchain development

At Evil Martians, we help startups and enterprise clients build secure, trusted, and decentralized environments using Distributed Ledger Technology. Blockchain agnostic, we have experience both with mainstream public blockchain networks (Bitcoin, Ethereum, Tezos and Stellar) — and with permissioned and private ledgers and frameworks (Hyperledger, Exonum).

For startups, we can help with developing core blockchain software as well as end-user blockchain-based applications. For fintech organizations, we can help with building and maintaining blockchain infrastructure and integrating blockchain with existing business processes.

Additionally, we have a profound experience with the Stellar blockchain.

We’ve built Astrograph, a framework that lowers the entry threshold to the Stellar ecosystem and reduces Stellar application development costs and time-to-market. Astograph also won the Stellar Community Fund funding. We’ve also authored a Stellar Ecosystem Proposal for web authentication.

Site reliability engineering

Evil Martians have a dedicated operation engineers team, working closely with Martian and customer’s engineers to build a reliable, predictable environment for the application.

Our primary tool of choice is Kubernetes, a container orchestration engine we use with most of our applications. Our configuration management toolset includes Terraform to provision cloud infrastructure and Chef for any other configuration management tasks, including bare-metal and VPS-based Kubernetes installations.

We also help our customers to choose the proper platform for their application. We deploy to Google Cloud, Amazon Web Services, VPS providers, as well as to bare metal.

We follow the observability framework for our applications to ensure the most comprehensive monitoring of the production environment. For monitoring, we use Prometheus with Grafana.

Monitoring and optimizing databases are what we do for most of our applications, and we have scars to prove our many of experience in dealing with highly loaded PostgreSQL, Elasticsearch, and Redis instances in production.

Machine Learning development

Today, Machine Learning is no more theoretical or black box territory, but mature technology for improving existing products or creating brand new ones. It helps in predicting business results, providing recommendations to your customers, detecting specific and restricted content in images and video, recognizing speech and tone of voice, machine translation, contents and interfaces adapting to end users, and much more.

Evil Martians can help assess a task, find and collect data, implement algorithms, shape the ML training pipeline, estimate existing models’ efficiency, automate processes, and fine-tune these steps until the target result is met.

Our main framework for training Deep Learning models is PyTorch. We use it in conjunction with high-level Python-based frameworks and libraries to design and train Neural Networks—PyTorch Lightning, Catalyst, and others. We leverage modern libraries for data labeling, processing, and visualization, image and audio augmentation. In our toolkit, we have instruments for fast iterations of prototype code, experiment orchestration and tracking, trained model transformation, and wide-spread deployment and testing tools from other development areas that fit ML products perfectly.

Evil Martians cover Machine Learning and Deep Learning areas with tasks on classification, detection, segmentation in Computer Vision, Natural Language Processing (text and speech), and operations with tabular data, including time series data.

Martians have Machine Learning experience with internal and customer products, contribute to several open source Machine Learning tools and participate in Kaggle Data Science platform competitions.

We have handled tasks in building Natural Language Processing and Computer Vision product features and ML-based recommendation systems, implemented a ML product prototyping, and navigated ML projects assessment for several clients. Evil Martians were also instrumental in the DVC project, an open source developer tool for versioning data and artifacts for Machine Learning experiments flow. We participated in the open source Deep Learning project—fast.ai—helping improve their course and library, committed to Catalyst, a powerful open source library for Deep Learning and Reinforcement Learning model training, and implemented integrations with existing ML algorithms, like our google_translate_diff Ruby gem.

Audit and optimization

Evil Martians can review an existing project, look for all possible bottlenecks on all stages of product life, from specifications to development to deployment, and come up with a clear set of recommendations that will help you to optimize your codebase.

In our experience, more often than not, most technical problems are still caused by poor architecture planning and the lack of database experience—but not from ignoring the latest technical gimmicks.

Migrating to the flavor-of-the-month technology can never solve product development issues, no matter how excited the technical team can be about a hyped-up language or framework. Software architecture, development methodology, database performance, and deployment process are still the core problems to solve.

We check the code and infrastructure, we talk with the team, and we help our customers determine where the problem really is and what to do next. We’ve done it many times over the years—both for those companies that commissioned products from us and for those who just needed an impartial audit.

It is also often that problems with a product start with the software development methodology—or lack thereof. We can work closely with the product owner, project manager, and engineers to establish a proper process.

Our “interventions” result in clear and concise recommendations for the code base, architecture, deployment process, and database optimizations.

We help to change the development culture and software development methodology and to implement Continuous Integration and Continuous Delivery process.

Training

Establishing and maintaining the engineering culture inside the product team is one of the most important outcomes of the “Martian invasion.”

Evil Martians join product teams not just to implement new features, or to lend a hand when times are tough. We see our task in improving the development culture and team processes in general.

For startups, it is of the utmost importance to iterate as fast as possible, ship working software, and pivot to reach a working business model. Engineering culture can often be overlooked—too many tasks, too little time, too hard to find a good developer on the market to add to the team. However, if ignored, the lack of the culture—or hiring mistakes—can cause fast deterioration of the product and hinder both short-term and long-term goals.

As we want to see your company grow, we care about those who are going to look after it when you expand, that is why Evil Martians are eager to help with the hiring process early on: outline the candidate profiles that are needed the most, write a proper job posting, and interview engineers while also coming up with project-specific take-home tasks to test their skills.

If needed, we can have hands-on sessions, pair programming sessions, presentations on specific topics, and even full-on educational courses.

We would also usually want to start to document everything—not just the product, but our approach and technical standards and decisions—early on in the project, so that all the engineers joining in from the customer’s side will be able to maintain the engineering culture going forward.

For our Russian customers, we have organized several educational courses known as “Brainwashing by Evil Martians.” Among them, the celebrated advanced hands-on Ruby on Rails course in Russian, a thorough course on frontend development, and an iOS development course.

Open Source and Open Core Products

There is a good chance that you have used a product built with the help of our open source project since you’ve started browsing the internet today.

Some of our projects are used as building blocks by internet giants, others can be essential or extremely useful for users of popular programming languages or web frameworks.

Most Martians—including managers and designers—have software engineering experience. We are open source geeks, and open source is a defining part of our culture.

Open Core

Open Source

  • PostCSS

    One of the most popular and most depended-on npm libraries, PostCSS transforms CSS using an extensible plugins API. With more than 200 plugins, developers can lint CSS, support variables and mixins, transpile future CSS syntax, inline images, and more.

    PostCSS is used by industry leaders like Google, Facebook, GitHub, Wordpress, Taobao, among many other large companies and startups.

  • Logux

    Logux is designed to be a new way to connect clients (web and mobile apps) and server. Instead of sending HTTP requests (AJAX/REST), it synchronizes the log of operations between client, server, and other clients through WebSockets.

    It was created on top of ideas of CRDT to have live updates, optimistic UI, and be offline-first by design.

  • Autoprefixer

    Write your CSS rules without vendor prefixes (in fact, forget about them entirely).

    Autoprefixer is one of the most popular frontend build libraries, a PostCSS plugin to parse CSS and add vendor prefixes where needed. It is recommended by Google and used in Twitter and Alibaba.

  • Gon

    Gon is a popular Ruby gem that provides a dead-simple way to pass Ruby variables to frontend code of your Ruby on Rails application. Several ports to other frameworks and languages are available.

  • Size Limit

    Size Limit makes the Web lighter by preventing JavaScript library bloat. Size Limit is a linter for your JavaScript application or library performance. It calculates the real cost of your JavaScript for end-users and throws an error if the cost exceeds the limit.

  • Evil Icons

    Evil Icons is a simple and clean SVG icon pack with the code to support Ruby on Rails, Sprockets, Node.js, Gulp, and Grunt.

  • Lefthook

    Lefthook is the fastest, powerful polyglot Git hooks manager for Node.js, Ruby, or any other type of projects. It is easy to install Lefthook for most common frontend and backend environments and ensure all developers on your team can rely on a single flexible tool.

  • Compo

    Compo is a Sketch plugin that makes it easier to work with interface components. With Compo, pressing ⌘J is all it takes to turn a text layer into a button—or put an existing component in order.

  • Sort Me

    Sort Me is a Sketch plugin that makes sorting artboards and layers dead simple.

  • State Machine

    State Machine is a Sketch plugin. Installing it will allow you to use ⌃⌘S to switch an active tab on a tab bar you’re designing, an active navigation section in a menu, or a page number in a pagination control.

  • Size Marks

    Size Marks is a helpful Photoshop™ script for web designers and frontend engineers. It converts rectangular marquee to a labeled measurement mark, landscape marquee to a horizontal mark, portrait or square marquee to a vertical mark.

  • Terraforming Rails

    Terraforming Rails is a collection of tools and guides to help you turn legacy Ruby on Rails code into legendary code.

    Linters, profilers, database-specific libraries, dead code elimination, configuration, analysis, automation tools, and sample tool configurations.

  • Anyway Config

    Anyway Config is a configuration library for Ruby gems and applications.

    Avoid “ENV hell”, keep your configuration variables organized, support per-environment and local settings, and deal with credentials/secrets properly.

  • Logidze

    Logidze is the fastest data versioning plugin for Ruby on Rails and PostgreSQL. Logidze allows you to create a database-level log (using triggers) and gives you an API to browse it. The log is stored in a JSONB column with the record itself—no additional tables required.

  • Clowne

    Clowne is a powerful and customizable Ruby gem for cloning models. Clowne works with pure Ruby, ActiveRecord, and Sequel.

  • GraphQL Fragment Cache

    GraphQL Fragment Cache powers-up GraphQL Ruby applications with the ability to cache response fragments thus drastically improving the performance.

  • Liquor

    Liquor is a safe and extensible templating language that compiles to Ruby. It was designed as a replacement for Liquid by Shopify—but faster, with proper grammar and specification.

  • Astrograph

    Astrograph lowers the entry threshold to the Stellar ecosystem and makes it possible to develop Stellar-based applications in hours, not weeks—significantly reducing Stellar application development costs and time-to-market.

    Astrograph aims to provide a full-featured GraphQL interface to Stellar network, making the ecosystem more appealing to developers and lowering the entry barrier. Astrograph provides access to the current and historical state of the ledger, including real-time updates about ongoing changes—all available through a single GraphQL endpoint.

  • Overmind

    Overmind and Hivemind are advanced Procfile-based process managers for web application development. With them, you can efficiently run several processes from your Procfile in a single terminal. Overmind also utilizes tmux to provide stellar process management and advanced features.

  • Browserslist

    One of the most popular frontend library dependencies, Browserslist defines and shares the list of target browsers between various frontend build tools. Used by Autoprefixer, Babel, and many others.

  • Ruby Next

    Ruby Next is a transpiler and a collection of polyfills for supporting the latest and upcoming Ruby features (APIs and syntax) in older versions and alternative implementations of Ruby.

  • TestProf

    Slow tests waste your time, making you less productive. TestProf is a Ruby test profiling toolkit—a collection of different tools to analyze your test suite performance.

  • Ossert

    Ossert is an open source SaaS that provides maturity maintenance certification for Ruby libraries—and later, for other languages. To make your choice of libraries for your project simple and straightforward, it offers a sophisticated algorithm for rank libraries by Maintenance, Popularity, and Maturity.

  • Yabeda

    Yabeda is a Ruby instrumentation framework. Yabeda is designed to make Ruby and Rails applications monitoring with Prometheus as easy as possible—for that, it includes a family of plugins for popular use cases.

  • Nano ID

    Nano ID is a tiny, secure, URL-friendly, unique string ID generator for JavaScript. It is small (141 bytes minified), has no dependencies, safe and fast.

  • Storeon

    Storeon is a tiny event-based Redux-like state manager for React, Preact, Angular, and Svelte. It is small (173 bytes minified), fast, and modular.

  • PostCSS-modules

    PostCSS-modules is a PostCSS plugin to use CSS Modules everywhere: not only at the client side.

  • Parser

    The Parser gem is the only existing tooling-grade Ruby parser. Parser powers Rubocop, the most popular Ruby code analyzer, and Sorbet, a Ruby static type checker.

  • ActionPolicy

    ActionPolicy is a composable, extensible, and performant authorization framework for Ruby and Rails applications.

  • Astrocore

    Astrocore aims to become an alternative, Rust-based implementation of stellar-core, the core component of the Stellar network.

  • Google Translate Diff

    Google Translate Diff is a Ruby gem for everyone who uses Google Translation API to treat long texts on multi-lingual websites. We use it daily to process a massive amount of automated translations for our projects, and it saves our customers and us a lot of money by using smart caching algorithms.

  • rspec-sqlimit

    A test-driven way of fighting N+1 queries in ActiveRecord, rspec-sqlimit is an RSpec matcher to control the number of SQL queries executed by a block of code.

  • BloodContracts

    Blood Contracts is a Ruby gem for runtime data validation and monitoring using the contracts approach.

Talk to us

Thanks! We’ll get right back to you.

Or just shoot us an email: surrender@evilmartians.com

+1 888 400 5485

195 Montague St.
Brooklyn, NY 11201

+7 499 938 5800

Botanichesky Lane, 5
Moscow, 129090, Russia

+81 6 4560 5490

3‑6‑1 Kitakyuhojimachi, Chuo‑ku
Osaka, 541-0057, Japan

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