Wiring

Web Services used at ImpulseFlyer

I thought it’d be interesting to share the tools and services we use to run ImpulseFlyer. A lot of these are personal preferences as I’m in charge of the technology/design side of things. And we pay real money to most of these people, the biggest endorsement I can offer.

Heroku

heroku.com

I’m basically in love with Heroku. I’m a terrible SysAdmin and pouring over Slicehost tutorials trying to get a feasible Rails server running wasted a lot of time in my early Rails days.

So I leapt on Heroku. Sure you can probably get bare-metal or VPS hosting cheaper, but the knowledge that when my server goes down that a) it’s not my fault and b) a team of people, smarter than me, leap to get it back online is priceless.

Plus my deploy process is ‘git push’. It still freaks me out how awesome that is. It lets me focus on the design and development of my app, where I can really add value. And that frankly is the key.

S3

aws.amazon.com/s3

All our images are on S3, we’re looking at cloudfront for these, and our assests, during our cycle through performance in the next week or two.

Campaign Monitor

campaignmonitor.com

We’re in the flash sales business, which means we send quite a bit of email compared to other businesses. Whilst our transactional email is dealt another provider, it’s important to have a human friendly system for our regular outreach emails. I don’t want large-scale marketing emails generated by a machine.

I’ve built relatively advanced mail templates to allow our content director to add some visual spice to our emails. The content is mostly a regular format, but not one that is completely static, it needs (and our customers deserve) a human touch. Equally I don’t want to engage any engineering time every time we want to add a new section, hence CM’s web interface is perfect.

We maintain state with our app through their comprehensive API and webhooks.

DNSimple

dnsimple.com

Just a lovely interface for domain registration and DNS services plus it works sweetly with Heroku (particularly for SSL). I use them personally too. Godaddy can die in a hole.

Github

github.com

At this point a necessity. Most good developers are already on here, it’s ease of use is great and we’ve experimented with pull request style development but at this stage of our development team, we’re still mostly rebasing into master.

Google Apps

google.com/apps

I have my own personal dislike for new creepy, ‘social’ Google, but everyone uses their free email for domains and so do we. Some of the business guys use GoogleDocs as well, but i just can’t stand the browser as document editor thing.

Pivotal Tracker

pivotaltracker.com

It took me a long while to love Tracker, but when you fall, you fall hard. Pretty essential and they seem to be iteratively improving their UI, most of the edges I used to chafe against have gone.

I’m intrigued by Thoughtbot’s Trajectory but haven’t had the urge or need to play with it yet.

Dropbox

dropbox.com

We operate a central ‘business’ dropbox account and share specific directories to team members individual dropboxes.

Intercom

intercom.io

It’s rare that you come across a revolutionary product, but Intercom seems to be it. It tracks your users engagement with your site and also allows you to have an on-site asynchronous chat with individuals or make an announcement to everyone on the site.

Steven, our CEO, is in love with this tool. It lets us speak to our user base human-to-human, and the feedback we get from our users is invaluable.

Vimeo

vimeo.com

For hosted videos like our ‘On the Fly’ series. It’s just nicer than YouTube.

This somewhat epic list shows that modern development isn’t just coding. It is as much about utilising a whole suite of existing tools and knowing where best to apply your skills and where to let it be someone else’s problem.


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2012