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Opinionated software

What is opinionated software?

When considering buying vs. building software, there’s one crucial factor to keep in mind: How closely will the software work within our company’s operations?

There’s an ongoing debate about how opinionated this off-the-shelf software should be when developed. Many Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) companies are building their products around their own opinions of how you should run your company. This trend, called “opinionated software” is in stark contrast to “enterprise” software which can be endlessly configured, customized and tweaked with to fit your implementation.

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Sitemapwireframe

What's the Difference Between a Storyboard, Sitemap and a Wireframe?

Do you know the difference between a sitemap and a wireframe? What about a storyboard? All three are very useful tools that help to ease the otherwise complex process of designing and build a website or application. Although they are similar in nature, each has unique qualities that help in different ways.

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Social

Lifespan of Social Media Posts in 2021: How Long Do They Last?

Knowing the lifespan of your social posts can help you better plan your marketing strategy. We explore what those lifespans are and how they effect your content plans.

When you're in the process of building a social audience for your brand it can sometimes feel like you're posting into the abyss. Interaction may be low at the onset and it can be tough to stay the course and keep posting when you're just not sure you're being heard.

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Peter b lewis building

The Refinery Takes 1st Place in Case Weatherhead 100

Each year The Case Western Reserve University Weatherhead School of Management recognizes the fastest growing customers in the Greater Cleveland Area. The Refinery was awarded first place in the Upstart category for 2016, with an annual growth rate of 635%.

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Laptop

Pure CSS3 Accordion UX & Semantics

There are many examples online of pure CSS3 accordions. Many of these accordions use a combination of anchor elements with the :target pseudo-class while others use a combination of labels and checkboxes with the :checked pseudo-class. Either approach is certainly functional, but which is the right way? Perhaps the better question would be is there a right way? I believe the answer can be found in the underlying accordion UX and semantics.

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Office collab
Dave Goerlich

Ruby on Rails Sparkpost RubyGem

If you have a Ruby on Rails app sending email through Mandrill, you may be feeling a bit squeezed right now. Mandrill’s recent announcement, to combine the service with paid monthly MailChimp plans, caused us some problems with our low volume services.

As a result, we’ve moved several of our applications over to SparkPost.

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Budget

How to Manage Budget and Deadlines on Agile Projects

Software projects are notorious for taking longer than expected to deliver. As a result, those projects cost more than expected. Usually the fingers point at project managers in those situations, but that's not always just. In my experience, those original expectations are to blame.

These expectations are unreliable, and often untrue. Hanging your project plan from a scaffolding of unrealistic expectations is dangerous. There is a better way.

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Awards

Refinery and flourish win 2015 Addy Awards

We're proud to announce that The Refinery, in conjunction with our fantastic partners at flourish agency, brought home two Addy Awards from the AAF Cleveland Chapter.

Both awards, a Judges Choice and a Gold Addy, were for our work with GoodGreens, a local wellness bar company.

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Fidelity

The Dangers, and Benefits, of Software Fidelity

Cost is a fundamental constraint of all software projects. Engineering software is a complex practice, full of rabbit trails and unexpected twists and turns. Agile methodologies guide us through these precarious situations by embracing the reality that they will happen — keeping us on our toes. This keeps timing and costs visible at all times, so that we make smart decisions in the face of uncertainty.

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Peter b lewis building

The Refinery Recognized with Case Weatherhead Upstart Award

We're proud to be included in a list of so many great entrepreneurial companies in Cleveland, and we look forward to collaborating in the future.

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Approach

Introducing The Refinery

The last 10 years have been an amazing start to our company. Dave and I have grown this little startup from a few pennies in our pocket to what it is today. We're unbelievably proud, and sometimes surprised, of what we've been able accomplish in that time.

In that time we've built dozens of websites, ecommerce stores, and marketing products. More than that, we've launched internal corporate applications which have made people more effective at their jobs at some of the worlds largest companies. We've worked with 1-man startups and the Fortune 100. We've built intuitive products for elementary school students, the worlds leading surgeons, and everyone in-between.

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Ideation

Five Things Every Executive Needs to Know about Ideation

All successful people are big dreamers - creative in every aspect of managing their career. However, when in a position of power or management do they use that creativity in changing the trajectory of the company they are employed by? Why take such minimal risks when tasked with "changing the paradigm?" Ideation is a great process that can unlock new views on design, process, product, price, convention, curation, competition and strategy. No – Ideation is not all about working in a creative office space it is a method of success that should be encouraged at all levels of an organization.

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