In a recent “end of year” type conversation in the team IRC channel we were talking about the range of external providers/third party services that we’d worked with / integrated to over the course of 2011.
Here’s the list we compiled – I still have a nagging feeling we’ve missed a couple, but nonetheless it’s a pretty varied range of products and services that we’ve worked with on top of our standard stack of ASP.NET WebForms, MVC, and jQuery.
Google Commerce Search – working with the latest version of this while the documentation was being written/revised was certainly a challenge, however GCS is something we’re looking forward to seeing the results of. The work we did with this should be going live sometime in early 2012, and it’ll be interesting to see the difference it makes to conversion rates. While we’re not an official “integration partner”, I think I can say with a good deal of confidence that we’re possibly one of the most experienced companies when it comes to working with the latest version of GCS in New Zealand.
Klarna – Now Klarna on the other hand, I can say we’re definitely the most experienced in New Zealand with this. If there’s other NZ companies who specialise in implementing Scandinavian payment providers then please get in touch, as I’m sure we could all swap some interesting stories.
Postoppkrav – the same goes for Postoppkrav! We do a lot of work for our good friends at Netthandelen over in Norway, and part of the fun there is working with providers such as this that we’d otherwise not have a chance to be exposed to.
TradeDoubler affiliate tracking – TradeDoubler has quite a range of offerings available, from simple tracking pixels through to slightly more complex referral systems. After 2011’s TD work I can comfortably say we’re experienced in working with their offerings at both ends of that spectrum.
Paypal – whether you love or hate Paypal, you can’t deny that they offer a cost efficient way to take money online. If you’re creating some quick buttons using their wizards then you can get up and running pretty quickly – however if you need a more comprehensive implementation solution then things can take a bit more time. Paypal’s quality of documentation varies, and there’s some slightly convoluted ways that certain things need to be done. In 2011 we worked more with repeat/recurring payments, which cemented our opinion that while pretty much any developer can get something built using Paypal’s systems, it can definitely save you time and money if you pick a development team who’s worked with them before.
DPS Payment Express – DPS on the other hand just works, and works well. Again, we’re not an official integrator, but we’ve worked with different types of DPS products for many of our NZ based customers.
BugNET and Exchange EWS – we spent a bit of time improving our internal systems this year, and now have a pretty neat system setup where an Exchange mailbox is monitored using a service and EWS. All emails sent to this address (Ssssh it’s for customers only!) get converted into BugNET issues, and the Ignition team gets notified. It also supports converting replies to comments on existing issues. This sort of thing is an example of better living through technology – as there’s nothing too complex going on here, however the results that this solution delivers helps save us all time.
Living Social – With the increasing popularity of these sorts of group deal providers, we spent a bit of time enhancing the Site Foundation Framework so that we’re able to easily run Living Social promotions. We already had a promotion code implementation, however this was a chance to extend it.
AWS S3 – Everyone loves the Cloud, and we’re no exception! While we run some servers on EC2, there’s not really any integration work that we did there. However we did continue to tinker with some direct S3 integration – Sam through creating his KOMPRESSOR (that will KRUSH) utility that allows you to Zip files and copy them directly up to AmazonS3, and Doug through some work he did with a VSTO plugin that allows direct saving to a S3 bucket. Cloudy!
Other things worth mentioning
Titanium Appcelerator – this is one of those things that people either love or hate. Either way, you can’t deny that Titanium lets you get building iPhone/Android apps pretty quickly. We tinkered with Titanium a bit in 2011 through working with one of our partners.
XCode – Working with Titanium inevitably lead to doing more work in XCode. We have a couple of small iOS based projects in the works currently, stay tuned for more information and updates on those in 2012.
jQuery Templating – this year we did a lot of work with jQuery.tmpl while it was in beta, and so we cringed a little as the project got put on hold and turned into JsRender. jQuery templating is a great way to work with web services and JSON, and we’re pretty excited to get our hands on JsRender once it matures a little.
Azure - We also started looking into Azure, but it’s early days there. We’re excited about Azure – even though we’re happy with AWS EC2, as a .NET shop Azure just feels like it’ll allow us a bit more of a seamless integration into our toolset.
So there you have it! Our list of things we played with in 2011. See anything on the list that you’ve got plans to use in your projects for 2012? Drop us a line if you’d like to talk more about a technology or about your next project.
It’s certainly been an exciting and varied 2011, and we’re looking forward to taking a short break before getting back into things in 2012. From the team at Ignition Development, we hope you have a Merry Christmas and a great break over the holiday season.