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Meet Our Development Teams: Top Gun

Tiina Kotamies May 12, 2020 2:42:02 AM

Team Top Gun operates in the very core of our platform. They create feed-based dynamic advertising products and build a feed management system that processes customers’ product catalogs so that their contents can be used as building blocks for ads. The team faces a diverse set of challenges: the feed management system handles large volumes of data that have to be digested and distributed to different Smartly features in the right formats and the system has to be compatible with all emerging advertising platforms. Team Top Gun is planning to revamp the whole architecture to be able to stand up to the challenge. 

We feel the need — the need for speed

As the Smartly platform becomes more versatile, the requirements for feed management get more complex. Team Top Gun is working to modernize the existing system and build new solutions for emerging advertising platforms, like Pinterest that became generally available for customers in April. “We have big advertisers using our product and they might have hundreds of millions of products in their catalogue—it is critical that the system performs”, Top Gun's team lead Janne says. “We are looking into evolving the architecture into a feed management platform, where one core service will process feeds and filter the data to relevant parts of the platform. ”

“We operate at the intersection of data and multiple requirements. On one hand there are the massive product catalogs and on the other the limitations of the APIs Facebook offers. We also need to take into account what kind of data and in what format different solutions require. We are trying to decrease the amount of data going through this funnel to increase performance” Janne continues. “If we don’t always have to upload all the information when only some parts of the feed have been modified, we can operate more efficiently. Close collaboration with Facebook is crucial in accomplishing this.” 

Close partnership with Facebook, one of the fastest growing tech companies in the world, is no piece of cake either. “The feed-based dynamic advertising product our team owns is a concept originally created by Facebook. Our customers want to be able to use it on our platform, which is why we constantly monitor how Facebook develops their solution to ensure feature parity”, says Janne, the team lead for Top Gun. “With the help of our Product Manager, we try to innovate on top of Facebook’s solution to unlock even greater performance for our customers."

Coordinating and cooperating with multiple stakeholders

Top Gun works with many different internal and external stakeholders. Customer feedback doesn’t just reach them through their Product Manager, but also Customer Success Managers from around the world as well as the customer support. The team also talks directly with customers to build their roadmap and create hypotheses. “In the future, we aspire to use machine learning to monitor the product catalogs” Janne says. “The better our system for automated anomaly detection is, the more value we create for our customers. I hope that one day we can even make tailored suggestions for creatives based on customers’ feeds.”

As the Feed Management system is closely tied to the work of the other Smarly.io developer teams, especially the ones building emerging platforms. Top Gun needs to keep the lines of communication open and do a lot of planning with the other teams. The team lives up to their name — they are praised for being quick to respond to questions and solving problems related to their services. “Everything we do eventually affects the other development teams. We face a lot of interesting technical challenges in architectural planning due to this overlap” Janne says.

Now hiring a Frontend and a Fullstack Developer 

Top Gun is currently a team of six developers, but it’s looking to grow. Janne, Zoltán, Artturi, Alexey, Timo, Alexander and the team's product manager Annabell are hiring a Frontend Developer and a Fullstack Developer to strengthen their team. They are looking for developers with work experience in converting business requirements into technical solutions. Top Gun offers a place to work in the very core of Smartly.io where developers have an important impact on our customers and our business. 

In team Top Gun, developers get to work on a broad spectrum of technologies. The backend and the newest systems are mainly built with Ruby on Rails using PostgreSQL and Cassandra, combined with React in the frontend. However, the original product was built with PHP and AngularJS using MongoDB, and sometimes the team still makes modifications to the old codebase. “We all work fullstack to avoid dependencies within the team. However, that doesn’t mean we wouldn’t have our own individual strengths and skills” Janne says.


Learn more about being a developer at Smartly.io at smartly.io/careers/developers.

Author
Tiina Kotamies

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