NEW! Dev Blog Series: A Look Under the Hood | The fp. Magic Room

Everyone at fp. knows of a mystical area within the office. This area is housed by many high level magicians that bestow many high level enchantments and cast a plethora of powerful spells that affect our application everyday — ahem, sorry I got carried away there!

Today we’re starting a new blog series called “A Look Under the Hood” which focuses on the development team and our many trials and tribulations in our quest to provide the best software for creative agencies. So stay awhile and listen travellers, and become enchanted with tales of wondrous magic and myth. Prepare yourselves as we delve into development team at fp!

Each engineer at Function Point brings his or her own unique flavor to the fp. team. We’re able to brew all these different ingredients together into one elaborate mixture, and we take that as is a strong point for us.

Over the past few months we’ve been able to harden our development processes for the way we structure our application. The essence of the “Magic Room” comes from the fact that all of us are in one room! This allows our creative juices to magically combine to form a complex and elegant piece of software for ad agencies in what we like to call Function Point.

Additionally you could say that we talk to computers, and that in itself is pretty magic. But like most well oiled machines, there is a driver behind the wheel. This is where our VP of Technology enters the scene.

If you’ve ever been in contact with our VP of Technology either through upgrade processes, support calls, or just wanted to call and chat, you’ve probably noticed that Alon Sabi has put most of his skill points into his intelligence stat. He’s the highest level warlock here in the Function Point dev team not only because he’s been here the longest, but because, working with him personally, he’s the smartest guy I know when it comes to thinking logically; coding is all about logical thinking! Ask any engineer here and they will tell you that he’s solved many, many problems we’ve run into simply by presenting a really “wow that’s awesome” alternative method of doing it.

All in all I’d say that everyone in the development team has put one too many points into intelligence. Every engineer, Trevor, Gary, Sarah, Samson, Thomas, and myself have spent a lot of energy (mana) making Function Point better every day, and this is apparent with our latest releases, our new release strategy and timeline, and the way we’re bettering ourselves with communicating these changes with our clients.

For example, have you seen our new Business Intelligence graphs for the dashboard? They’re flippin’ cool, and this was made possible by two of our very talented engineers Gary and Trevor. They mashed heads together to produce one of the most appealing visual experiences in Function Points history. That’s magic!

Unfortunately, a lot of magic that happens in the magic room goes unnoticed. We’re constantly making changes to security, response time enhancements, bug fixes, and a lot of other really cool miscellaneous things, but they’re not immediately visible.

For example, when we upgraded our printing mechanism (we upgraded our printing mechanism if you didn’t know) a large part of the upgrade included offloading a significant portion of the processing to another server. This is known internally as “Print Server” (how original, I know, but if you like print server…).

The amount of work it took to bring this project into fruition was enormous, but there was no visual component to it, and therefore nobody really knows it exists. Such is the life of an engineer, though!

Slaying dragons! photo credit: Dagny Mol licensed by Creative Commons 2.0

So those are some of the things that make the Magic Room magic. Of course you might say “well our company’s development team is the same”, and you’re probably right. At Function Point, we like to mix it up and have fun with these sort of things. Perhaps your development team, or other departments within your ad agency are magical in their own way. It is important to have that sense of togetherness and family feeling within your company. It boosts spirits and keeps self-esteem and productivity high. Try it out!

— Travis Ryder is a software engineer and system administrator at fp. He’s slayed many Dragons in his time and claims that he severed all the heads off a hydra without any of them growing back!

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