As a software company with a growing client base, we have two challenges that never go away. First, the load on the system increases every year. We have more users, more features, and more registrants for camp. Second, as soon as we release something, it starts to become obsolete.
CampBrain has a group of software engineers called the “Platform Team” whose full-time job is to address these two challenges. They improve the infrastructure behind the software to handle the growing load, and they respond to changes in the computing environment and replace the aging components.
Just prior to the summer, the Platform Team deployed the final piece of a new component called “The Service Bus”. The service bus is an internal mechanism to handle minor interruptions in connectivity. One of the realities of software in the cloud is that connectivity between the various components is not always reliable, and it’s our responsibility to architect the software so that it handles those blips with grace.
Prior to releasing the service bus, the system immediately wrote all data edits to the database. But, if there was an interruption in the connection to the database, the data wouldn’t save, you would experience an error, and we would have data cleanup to do. Now all changes to the data run through the service bus. In the event of a connectivity blip, the service bus safely holds those changes until the connection is restored.
We deployed the service bus in gradual stages. Since the service bus handles so much data traffic, we developed the capability to turn it on for only a subset of users. We could then monitor it and be 100% certain that it was ready for widespread release. Under the leadership of Cecily Thomas, CampBrain’s Software Architect, the Platform Team designed and developed the service bus, with Cecily and Brad writing the majority of the code.
Our incredibly QA Team played an essential role. Cecily described their function as “basically re-testing every part of our software” since EVERY change passes through the service bus.
Since its full release in May, the service bus has performed fabulously, and there have been ZERO data issues from minor connectivity interruptions. While it’s not exactly a glamorous, high-profile feature, we’re certainly celebrating the success of it internally, and we wanted to brag about it and point it out as a great example of our long-term investment in our platform.
Love Your Software,
The Platform Team