'You shouldn’t have to care where your servers are located’
Our marketing manager Christa is proud to be working with PressPage’s technology, but admits she knows little about the work that goes into its development. She sat down with software engineer Eugene Storchevoy to learn more about his work.
Tell me a little bit about how the development team is structured, and about your role within the team.
‘We work in two main teams, frontend and backend, which use Agile and Scrum methods. Currently I’m not really part of either team. I kind of hover over them and assist where I can; right now I’m working on one of our APIs. What we try to do is always use the latest technologies. We aim to immediately start working with the latest capabilities, so in a year’s time we will hopefully still be working with something that is relatively new and popular.’
Is that because everything gets outdated so quickly?
‘Yes, it’s crazy how quickly that happens. Lately we’ve been updating and replacing things on a monthly basis, at minimum. For example, Amazon Web Services just launched a number of new technologies during their re:Invent event, and it’s really fun to see which ones we can start using right away. We’re moving more and more tasks from software solutions to Amazon’s cloud environments. We’re able to focus more and more on logic and “magic”, and leave the boring stuff to whatever environment we’re using.’
Those services aren’t free, though?
‘No, but that also means that you don’t have to worry about fixing or replacing broken pieces of software or technology. You’re paying for full service, which takes a lot of work out of your hands. You can just continue working on your product.’
Do you have an example of one of these new possibilities?
‘We’re really interested in new ways to work with data analysis, like making predictions based on data, but we don’t have any specific applications for that yet. What we will be looking into right away is the new Lambda model for Amazon CloudFront: an “intelligent” way of processing HTTP headers at a location close to the customer. And with Amazon Simple Queue Service (SQS), we can start using First-in, First-out (FIFO) queues for applications that require messages to be processed in a strict sequence and exactly once.’
What will this mean for PressPage newsrooms?
‘Newsrooms which are run and hosted in Europe, for example, are then accessed in India and the US at the exact same, high speed. People shouldn’t have to care anymore where their servers are located, just like you access Google all over the world without ever wondering where their closest servers are. Google and Amazon already had this infrastructure in place, using it privately, and are now monetizing it through services we can all benefit from.’
Are you looking at any programming languages and/or frameworks which you think are becoming more relevant and essential to master?
‘It really depends on what you’re working on and what your requirements are, but I do notice that Python and Node.js are really popular right now. Python is a 25 year old programming language, but is really suitable for working with contemporary technologies. We’re presently working with PHP, which meets all of our requirements, but Python could definitely be something to start looking into.’
Are you able to set time and budget aside to update skills like these?
‘We’re currently exploring what more we can get out of PHP, and are getting acquainted with the Silex framework for the development of our APIs. But also, we don’t just want to think in terms of languages and frameworks, but focus on solving problems more on abstract levels. We like to look for the best possible solutions on a more case by case basis. If it turns out the best solution involves picking up another language or framework, we’ll incorporate that into our schedule.’
What if PHP turns out not to be the best option at all anymore? Would you have to rewrite and replace your whole technology in another language?
‘Not at all. If we feel that one of the components would be better off written in another language, we can just replace that one component, or several for that matter. Again this is all thanks to contemporary architecture, which enables you to switch and replace individual components within the technology or infrastructure without hampering the rest.’
People shouldn’t have to care anymore where their servers are located, just like you access Google all over the world without ever wondering where their closest servers are. Google and Amazon already had this infrastructure in place, using it privately, and are now monetizing it through services we can all benefit from.
PressPage is the leading content-sharing-platform technology provider for social newsrooms, virtual press centers, and online media hubs. Our technology is uniquely designed to add workflow efficiency and distribution effectiveness; allowing brands to tell an engaging and optimised online story that is published straight into the search and social worlds.