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How Cygnet guided a thriving social networking application towards unprecedented success

Cygnet Infotech

A few years back, an entrepreneur from Australia launched a disruptive social networking web application for academic institutions. The application was successful due to its potential to connect everyone within the academic institution to better communicate, collaborate, establish a support community and promote a participatory culture.

From a business standpoint, the application grew in popularity and adoption as many universities started embracing this mode of education.

Initially, the application was deployed in two universities and was being tested for two more; however, limitations in the existing application architecture and database took its toll on performance of the application.

This is when, the client approached Cygnet via an independent software vendor who recently got a product re-engineered. 

In the first phase…

The client wanted Cygnet to deliver a stable web application within three weeks without modifying the existing codebase and database structure parallelly keeping security, design, performance and compliance intact.

Time was a critical factor as the client wanted to capitalize on start of the new semester to increase user base, attain greater popularity and ensure retention of existing customers with a stable release before launching the new and improved version of the application in the second phase.

To fulfil client’s expectations within the time constraints...

Our team minutely scrutinized the existing application architecture, modules and database, and identified issues such as,

  • Request failures due to misconfiguration of Varnish (Cache and reverse proxy)
  • Improper Object-relational Mapping (ORM) integration
  • Site performance issues – every page took a minimum of 20-25 seconds to load
  • Missing relationship between tables in the database

Our team resolved infrastructure issues, refactored the ORM, established the required relationship between tables, and achieved page load time of 2-4 seconds.  

Server migration was also aligned for the first phase…

The server for the solution was in Chicago (US) and needed to be migrated to Sydney (Australia) as a part of compliance.

Unfortunately, the server vendor did not support direct server or image migration between different data-centres.

As a solution to this, our cloud architect created servers with automated scripts and synced them with user sensitive data. He auto-scaled the vendor’s infrastructure beyond its then capability.

The QA team automated testing of the modules and database using selenium, which helped to quickly identify and fix the bugs, and release better version of the application within the allotted time.

The application received great reception among students and academicians presenting a gulf of opportunities for the future.

Now, it was time for the second phase of development

The objective of the second phase was to augment technical sustainability of the application and make it future-ready with new features, and custom iOS and Android mobile app development to leverage the mobile user base to improve market penetration.

To achieve this, it was important to boost capabilities of the application with better technologies

A highly experienced team of business analysts, solution architects, developers, QAs and UI & UX experts who knew all aspects of reengineering and ways to extend web-experience on mobile were brought on board.

Tech-leads recommended following technologies to update and transform the application.

Technology:  PHP, MySQL, jQuery, AngularJs
Server  and Shell script: Linux, Apache, Memcache, Bitbucket, Python
Hosting: Rackspace (Multi Staging Environment)
Framework: Code Igniter, Doctrine ORM
Interoperability: SSO, LTI with LMS
Integrated API: MailGun, MixPanel, Urban AirShip
Mobile apps: Native iOS and Android
Testing Tools: JMeter, Testdroid

Analysts and UI experts shaped pixel perfect designs

Based on the application logic and usability, analysts readied the wireframes. UI and HTML experts formulized a roadmap to incorporate selective (minimalistic design), but right design elements, which are more standard, innovative and crisp to ensure rich and dynamic user interfaces with real time collaborative features.

The team established a design pattern for mobile and web, which ensured consistent design throughout, making it easier to test and maintain the mobile and web application.

For development, our project manager introduced,

  • A well-defined release plan and strategy
  • Sonarqube to maintain standard of the code, and code commenting up to 60%
  • Single point of disaster recovery for quick turnaround time
  • Centralized log storage to keep track of all activities

The team,

  • Updated PHP, CodeIgnitor, Doctrine and ORM framework
  • Re-engineered the database structure and code base modules
  • Revamped the infrastructure architecture
  • Introduced a multi-staging environment
  • Continuously integrated the build
  • Wrote PHP unit test cases with more than 65% code coverage during the development phase itself

The all-important testing phase

The QA team performed manual and automated testing (on Development, QA, Staging and Production servers). QA team used JMeter to load test the functional behaviour of the new architecture and measure API performances for 100 concurrent users.

Approximately, 100 API for web and 100 for mobile applications were tested for security and performance. More than 2200 test cases for both: mobile and web were written.

In the end, the QA team performed Functional, Integration, Monkey, Load, Web services, Data-Driven and Big Data Testing.

To ensure continuous deployment on staging and production servers, our team developed a one-click release system using Python Scripts.

To avoid any chaos, the team also provided 24/7 support during the development journey.

In the end, the team delivered new version of the social networking application having a reliable architecture and engaging features for students, instructors, staffs, clubs & societies and academic institutions.

From the initial implementation in two universities, the mobile and web versions of the application have now been successfully tested and implemented in more than 10 universities in Australia. The application has simplified education and improved the learning outcomes.

The zealous and persistent efforts of our team of eight tech-geeks augmented capabilities of a thriving social networking web application, and delivered native iOS and Android mobile applications in a complex environment.

We implement best techniques and smart frameworks to ensure rapid roll-out of web, custom mobile (native, cross platform) application development services and enterprise mobility services.

In you are looking to transform your business with smart and scalable web and mobile solutions, Contact us now.

Cygnet Infotech

Cygnet Infotech is a CMMi level 3 and is ISO 27001:2013 and ISO 9001:2008 certified, 18 year old global technology provider enabling ISVs & enterprises through emerging technology, software engineering, technology consulting, SAP Implementation, advisory & maintenance services. It’s proven 18-year track record boasts of successfully delivered 1400+ valuable software solutions to its diverse clientele across the globe using a global delivery model.

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