Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Engineering at Borentra

Software Automation and Pipeline... I wish software looked like this!

Built into the very DNA of Borentra is the essence of moving fast, failing fast, and evolving quickly. As the BORG would say -- "we adapt". From an engineering perspective, our tooling isn't complex at all -- we do our best to keep things lean and fast -- just so that we can quickly respond to customer feedback. That said, we are ever so focused on providing the best customer experience in the social space. Furthermore, in order to achieve these goals, we always need the latest tools that will allow us to ship faster and respond to the amazing feedback from our users.

For source code hosting, we use GitHub and we've adopted the GitHub Flow which basically means master is always deployable and we use feature branches when working on bug fixes, enhancements, or user feedback. Once a feature is ready to be deployed to production we send a pull request and if the code is good to go (code review and tests pass) we merge it into master. Once the merge happens, we have Jenkins listening for a webhook payload which basically means master needs to be tested on our CI server (Jenkins) and deployed to production (Azure).

A very lean process lets us ship fast. One of the first things we put in place was continuous deployment to Azure without even having a database! With a deployment pipeline in place, we are able to rely on so much automation to get from zero code to a feature on production within a short time span. As mentioned above, we are fully deployed on Windows Azure. We currently use Blobs, CDN, Azure Websites, SQL Azure for our web stack and then we have a few sprinkles of NodeJS and Neo4j for lookup services (Quick Add widget) that encapsulate power tools, trending books, Halloween costumes, Xbox360 games, PS3 games, Magic The Gathering cards, and Pokemon cards.

The last 4 months have been hectic but putting an upfront engineering investment for a deployment pipeline has been absolutely vital. Without speed and efficiency, you can't respond to solving problems that your target users are having — as an early stage startup, our biggest advantage is that we can quickly evolve the product so that we can continue to focus on increasing user engagement, as well as, user growth.

Have questions about what it's like to be in engineering at Borentra? feel free to tweet us on Twitter or mention us on our Facebook wall!

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