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This is the latest in our “Inside the Stack” series featuring Underdog.io customers. Today, we hear from JP Grace, Director of Software Engineering at LiveIntent. The LiveIntent team has made one hire through the Underdog.io platform; they are planning to hire many more across a number of departments.


Describe LiveIntent in 2-3 sentences.

The LiveIntent platform is a smarter way to buy and sell ads in email. LiveIntent delivers your message to people, not pixels; the email address is the only ID that’s tied directly to a person. LiveIntent was named the Fastest Growing Technology Company in New York by Crain’s in 2014 and Forbes recently named it to its list of Most Promising Companies.

What are your primary programming languages?

PHP and JavaScript are our primary programming languages and they were chosen for their ubiquity and the sheer number of developers proficient in them. Hiring talented developers is one of the hardest parts of scaling a tech startup. It’s important not to start off behind the eight ball when trying to scale quickly. Being able to hire from the largest pool of developers has helped us meet these growth goals.

What are your primary web frameworks?

We’re in the process of rolling out our next generation web app built on NodeJS. We chose the platform for a few reasons: the JavaScript language is in the skill set of our existing developers, the ability to implement isomorphic javascript reduces maintenance costs, improves performance and perceived load times. The NodeJS platform has been proven and battle tested and reliable, and the asynchronous event loop baked into its architecture makes it super fast. The bottom line, is that it’s great for what we needed, a middle tier, an aggregation layer if you will. We needed a way to not only serve up static assets but also to aggregate calls to our secure, private, restful API.


What are your primary databases?

As part of our migration to NodeJS, we chose Redis as our primary database. We chose Redis because it’s simple and fast. Like really fast. We’re only using it to store server sessions and log distribution. Everything else is stored within a different layer behind a secure private restful API.

Which DevOps tools do you use?

It would be unrealistic to list all of the tools that we’re using, or plan to use, from a DevOps perspective, so I’ll focus on just a couple. This year we implemented Vagrant and Ansible. We use them to spin up development environments for new developers. This has helped to reduced the amount of time needed to spin up a production-replica, development-ready environment from “days" to “minutes" and improved our overall new developer on boarding time from “weeks" to “days". That said, we’ve got a lot more DevOps plans queued up that will, even more drastically, improve our day-to-day development workflow.

Which part of your stack are you most excited about and why?

I think its safe to say that with 30+ developers on 3 continents we have a lot of favorite parts to our stack. Depending upon whom you asked, you might get a different answer each time. I’m personally very excited about what is possible with NodeJS and its asynchronous event loop. Once we’ve had some time for the dust to settle on our migration, I could imagine a few very cool implementations utilizing WebSockets that would be game changers for our UX.

Thanks to JP and the whole LiveIntent team for a great post. Visit liveintent.com to read more about the company and to see their technology in action. Companies: email [email protected] if you’d like to be featured in this series.

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