Build Systems Properly, Plan for Change
Whether you are creating a simple website or building a web application that you hope will one day dwarf Google, begin on the right foot. That means proper architecture. It is easy to build applications quickly; however, if the architecture isn’t based on a solid plan and a good model, it won’t be long before changes become costly and time-consuming.
At Moveable Online, we’ve been building web applications and websites for the past decade. Our core team members have been here since the beginning, and many have been building systems for a lot longer. We’ve led or contributed to the creation of a host of sites that are still in use. Some have been extraordinarily successful.
The prime lesson we have learned along the way is to make sure that the architecture of the system is well thought out and can handle where the business needs to go. Nothing ever stays the same. The system had better be able to handle growth and change.
Good Technology Makes Good Sense
Part of building the right system is choosing the right underlying technology. Today web applications are built on fourth-generation frameworks like .NET, Java, Cold Fusion, Witango, PHP, etc. Smart systems are designed to talk to a database, and many systems interact with third-party web services or receive information from outside sources in numerous ways.
At Moveable Online we use two primary technology platforms for web application development. For large-scale deployments and big budget projects, we recommend using Microsoft’s .NET framework. We’ve invested heavily in this area and are very capable in producing solutions using C#.
Our secondary framework, Witango, is also able to manage large-scale deployments. It isn’t quite as well known as Microsoft’s platform, but it’s substantially less expensive to work with and is an exceptional choice to build systems quickly with the capacity for rapid change. We’re one of the most experienced development companies in the world with this platform and are able to produce exceptional systems at extraordinarily low rates.
Our database of choice is Microsoft SQL Server (currently 2008). Our team is intimately knowledgeable in the development of complex multi-tier, high-availability databases using this technology, and we’re outstanding with integration services and managing high load.
We’ve chosen to work with Microsoft technologies because of the extremely wide adoption of that framework and the enormous number of extensions available. These enable us to produce high-quality, exciting user experiences at very reasonable rates. Plus we suspect that Microsoft won’t be going out of business any time soon.
Proper Web Services Architecture Is Essential
Creating a logical, high-availability web services environment that is secure and scalable is crucial to any business application that relies on disparate system connectivity. At Moveable Online we’ve been down this path many times. We’ve architected mission-critical solutions for Bell, Football Fanatics and many other clients that enable their systems to talk to other systems reliably and with full accountability.
In addition, it is wise to create flexibility in your services that enables changes that don’t require release of a new WSDL. The last thing you want is to support multiple releases of web services, because it is difficult to get clients to update to every new release.
Plan for Heavy Loads and Sleep Well
Proper architecture will enable your system to get the most out of your hardware. When you create an application, however, it is wise to plan to offload processes that may become cumbersome and cause unnecessary latency throughout the system. At Moveable Online we’ve been there, we understand this kind of problem first hand, and we’ve solved a lot of them.
We design web applications and websites that can handle heavy loads, backed by our wide experience and plenty of time in the lab. Our architecture models typically involve identification of potential problems, and we model solutions to those problems before they occur. There is no truth to the saying “too much traffic is a good problem to have”. If you have too much traffic and you can’t handle the load, you’re losing revenue – not only from the growth that the traffic would have given you but also from your base, because nothing will work well under too much weight.
Experience in the Trenches
Moveable Online developed the business systems for Football Fanatics, which ranks among the top 300 online retailers in the United States. Under the direction and business vision of Moveable Online's CEO Peter Dobbs, Football Fanatics grew from a small startup in 1999 to the largest web distributor of licensed U.S. college sports apparel and gear, with online sales of $200 million.
Every year during this time, traffic more than tripled from the year before. This was no small feat considering the limited technology budget and the fact that we were a pretty small company in the early days.
Those years of fighting fires and learning how to grow quickly and stably really helped us to earn our spurs. Today we’ve fought some pretty big financial and technical challenges and have won each time. We’re seasoned and very
Don’t Spend Foolishly
One of the lessons we’ve learned from over a decade in this business is to plan systems in phases. We’ve seen them time and again: big ideas and big budgets that take a long time to implement and need to be changed within months of deployment. In contrast, we take a big idea, break it into a series of smaller steps and build each in the right order. With the right foundation, you can always add more features tomorrow.
We are a great resource for understanding how to build cost effectively in phases. We can help you plan effectively and come out ahead by working through a smart model allowing you to build, deploy, and let your results drive the next step.
At Moveable Online, we’re looking for substantial, long-term relationships with our clients. We don’t believe in overselling and trying to get as much out as quickly as possible. We believe our clients have good business ideas, and will be successful given the right development plan.