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July Hack Day 2016

Microservices. React Native. DynamoDB. Buzzwords.

At GoSquared we have a hack day once a month where the team can build whatever they want. See previous hack day roundup posts from April, May and June.

Summer already seems to be coming to an end here in London.

Even with the weather becoming decidedly less sunny, that didn’t stop the team from putting together some exciting hacks for our July Hack Day.

Lambda-ify all the things

Having recently attended AWS’s London Summit this year, we’ve been even more keen to experiment with new serverless ways of running our software. Tools like Lambda could help reduce the time we spend on managing virtual servers.

Geoff decided to look at architecture through the serverless lens, and experiment with a new stack running the same workload on a different combination of AWS services. The result was a better understanding of the pieces involved, so we can make better calls on how we’ll design our internal tech going forward.

Stackdriver for monitoring our servers

Aside from this, we’ve also been keen to overhaul our tooling for monitoring infrastructure metrics, identifying anomalies, alerting, and better insights from application logging.

Stackdriver caught our eye when Google announced it would join Google Cloud Platform in beta as their new monitoring tool. So Geoff also spent some time setting up the Stackdriver service and exploring it as a potential new tool for us to use internally.

Connecting GoSquared Live Chat with Close.io

We’ve found the addition of live chat to our marketing site has increased our customer communication significantly. The ability to engage in conversation with visitors and users has created a new source of sales leads for our growth team.

Our growth team currently makes use of the Close.io sales CRM to keep track of any potential opportunities. Russell wanted to have the ability to see a record of chat conversations with prospects in Close.io, to have as much data as possible related to the opportunities in one place.

Thankfully, through the help of Zapier, GoSquared Chat integrates seamlessly with Close.io. Russell was able to integrate the two so that when a chat message is sent from a prospect, it can be used as a trigger to record a new note with the message content in that prospect’s Close.io profile.

Now all conversations with a prospect, whether through email or chat, are visible in their close.io profile – giving our growth team even more data and tools to close more sales.

Lambda-ify more things

Similar to Geoff, JT came away from AWS Summit with a good deal of Lambda Kool-Aid. He decided to have a go at breaking out some of our admin system functions into their own Lambda-based microservices so they can be developed, tested, deployed and scaled completely independently of other parts of our infrastructure.

The end result is that all of our email content-generation and some of our user-authentication systems now live inside Lambda. So if you’ve received any email from GoSquared in the last few days, chances are it was put together by a Lambda function.

We’re hoping to continue with more of this microservice-based decoupling through Lambda. Stay tuned for an Engineering post about some of the lessons we’ve learned along the way.

Enhancements to our mobile apps

GoSquared iOS app beta screen recording

For Ben’s hackday he went and added a basic version of People to the iOS and Android apps (currently in beta).

It may be hastily made but it has the ability to go through your People Smart Groups, view a profile and check out all the information you have on them.

Even more enhancements to our mobile apps

GoSquared iOS app with Broadcasts screen recording

As the beta of GoSquared Chat gathers pace, Ben has been working with Leo, the newest member of our team, to make Broadcasts a fully-fledged part of the product. In the web app, you can now find all the chat messages you’ve sent with Broadcasts in one place.

Following on from this, Leo’s hack day was spent diving into app development with React Native, so that Broadcasts now has a home within the app too.

Until next time!

It’s been another feature-packed hack day in July, and we can’t wait to bring many of these improvements into production over the coming weeks and months. See you next time!

Written by
JT is a co-founder and the lead front-end engineer at GoSquared. He's responsible for the shiniest of the shiny projects we work on.

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