SMZ: Mr. Hofmann, the Facebook app for user support, for which SMZ led the technical development, was launched on April 22, 2013. What can the app do?
GH: Lots of training portal users are also active on Facebook. Whenever they have a question about one of the different training devices, they can post it via our app straight to Facebook. This allows the brand experts to provide faster and more convenient support than was previously possible. What’s more, users don’t have to create a new login and password; instead, they can simply use their existing Facebook account to leave comments, share content and communicate with support specialists.
SMZ: What role did SMZ play in the technical development of the app?
GH: Facebook only provides simple fan pages. SMZ, however, created a completely new application with complex features. Thanks to our long track record in agile software development and in the application framework used, the entire production process only required a relatively small amount of time and resources. It took us less than a month to build the complete app. We also set up the infrastructure and provided the visual design.
SMZ: What were the technical challenges involved in building the app?
GH: The biggest challenge was meeting the app’s various requirements. On the one hand, the app was supposed to be available worldwide; on the other, an uptime of 99.9% was necessary – plus, the app was supposed to be highly scalable. This meant we had to develop a solution that was appropriate for all three requirements.
Thanks to the intelligent and extremely efficient utilization of Amazon Web Services, we were able to implement elastic caching on a global scale and prevent downtime during deployments. To achieve a high level of scalability, we used dynamic virtual servers that can be replicated and activated for use when there are high loads of traffic. Our flexible utilization of virtual private cloud (VPC) infrastructure puts us far ahead in this area.
If you want to learn more about SMZ’s innovative solutions for Facebook app development, please get in touch with our CTO, Guido Hofmann.