Catching Up With Some of Boomcycle’s Best
In the past year, our team has been busy with a number of projects, both for Boomcycle and independently.
Project Manager and Lead Software Developer Jason has been working primarily on two websites:
- Erepairables.com — Boomcycle was brought in to assist this company when their site started to encounter growth problems with their asset import system. The system imports a data feed of damaged vehicles each night and must import numerous images for each vehicle. The original script was taking more than 24 hours to complete the import of 10-20,000 images each night — it would still be running when it was supposed to start again the next day. To remedy this problem, Jason wrote a custom, multi-threaded image fetching system that could fetch many images in parallel. He further enhanced the system by implementing a cloud-based auto-scaler that automatically fires up multiple virtual servers in response to heavy workload and spins them down when the work is complete. This dynamic server allocation provides tremendous cost savings (approximately 70-80%) relative to the cost of keeping ten dedicated servers running. The system has also provided the headroom our client needs to grow their catalog and, subsequently, their business. Jason is currently putting the finishing touches on an extensive site upgrade to improve the user experience and also simplify the back-end code, which has grown quite complex as the system has grown.
- MyPlan.com — We migrated the system (originally built in 2003) to the cloud around ten years ago and are in the midst of a redesign that will migrate the old code forward to PHP 7 and a modern framework and DBMS for the backend to server responsive page layouts suitable for modern devices. The site is data-driven and comprises nearly a hundred thousand distinct URLs and serves 2.6M registered users.
Jason is a certified tinfoil-hat wearer when it comes to security and enjoys novel programming problems and unusual challenges that require next-level skills like encryption, multiprocessing, and novel distributed processing.
Software Architect Will has been working on several projects, including:
- A centralized single-sign on with account and entitlement provisioning that is now used by roughly 1/3rd of the cabinets in the state of Kentucky. This system allows consumers (other systems owned by various state cabinets) to define their authorization requirements (workflow for requests, approvals, denials, revocations). It is also now mandated that this system be the central authentication gateway for any new development done in state of Kentucky.
- A system that allows exporting, transferring and importing configuration data, rules and more between instances for a massive platform (consisting of over 9000 unique pages). The platform is used in many states and countries; essentially a competitor to SAP. This tool supports multiple gigs of data over the cloud to provision customer environments wherever they are. It also has a large need to support any type of customization our clients can do with the system – and since we are an ERP platform, there are many intricate customizations.
- Currently architecting a new security subsystem that will enable us to integrate with most other 3rd party authentication and identity systems, as well as providing more security features such as multi-factor. This all must be extensible since our customers (state/country government entities) define a lot of their own providers for such things. This is being fitted into a system that is well over 15 years old that still uses a lot of old legacy technology and did not start out in life with any real architectural guidance. It’s no small feat.
Will was the architect of Kentucky’s Health Benefits Exchange. Will’s exchange was one of a very few to be delivered on time and worked from day one. It went on to become the model system for a lot of other exchanges.
Our front-end guru Rich has been busy as well.
At Disney Interactive, Rich was part of a media platform team that built a Ruby on Rails media asset engine and content management system that today provides all assets (images, videos, audio, game metadata) for all Disney media websites and all mobile games around the world (over 10,000 Unity, Flash, and HTML5 games). Rich helped integrate the asset engine for use with the release of the Star Wars portal (StarWars.com) and LucasFilm.com, and the engine now currently serves all media for Disney.com and DisneyJunior.com.
When Rich worked at Linden Lab in San Francisco, he built a new registration flow for the infamous virtual world, Second Life. The flow is still in use today at https://join.secondlife.com. Rich was the lead front end engineer and helped build a slick interface (at the time) that decreased user friction and simplified a complicated signup process. He worked with a team of translators, and it’s been internationalized for 7 different languages. Over 10,000 people sign up with it every day, and about 20 million users have registered with it over the years. After that, Rich worked on HTML5 multiplayer real-time game prototypes and helped build the first web-based games that Linden Lab built aside from Second Life.
Rich understands how to architect scalable and efficient front ends and deploy them across different systems. He also has a deep understanding of automated front-end testing, front-end A/B testing, continuous integration, source control for large projects (especially git), and optimizing and caching of media assets for large-scale websites. Naturally, Rich has an excellent understanding of responsive design, device and browser compatibility, user accessibility, third-party advertising, and sensible SEO practices as it pertains to front end code.