For our latest installment from the Code-Monkey Corner, we had a conversation with our amazing Director of Engineering, Will in order to find out more about what his engineering team (they call themselves the Devmonkeys) has been up to this year. In the spirit of the season, Will and the Devmonkeys first want to express how thankful they are to you- our amazing customers- who encourage and challenge them to build cool new features in order to make our service even better and more fun to use! Now let’s find out what these monkeys are all about. Take it away, Will.
We here in Engineering have spent a lot of time overhauling our technology stack to move to a service-oriented architecture and you can start to see the fruits of our labor in our new Analyze Beta. The new Analyze is a fantastic improvement and will help you to easily make sense of your survey responses and answer questions like, “For users who answered True to Question 1, how did they answer Question 2?”, as well as generate spiffy-looking PDF reports. These improvements with the Analyze product thus far have been a major initiative for us here in Engineering, and beneath the hood, we built a powerful engine and client-side web application that you will soon find will give you even more powerful tools and features to utilize. Rev those engines!
In a similar vein, the Create team is not far behind, and we are just starting our initial beta program that will hopefully be expanding soon. We incorporated the best features of our already intuitive survey creator and modernized it to make use of the latest browser technologies. Another engine upgrade! We also added some power tools for you such as keyboard shortcuts so that creating your surveys becomes an even smoother ride.
On top of that, we are also running our new Address Book Beta that makes it much simpler for you to add and manage your contacts. Adding to our list of accomplishments is a slew of smaller features, from Quotas and nicknames for our power users, to providing easier logo and title tools to help make your surveys look even more amazing. And that was just 2012! Just wait until we release the features we have planned for 2013.
One of the features we are really proud of and thankful for this year, is our self-serve SurveyMonkey Audience product. For years, it seemed as if only the big shots in the Fortune 500 companies had the ability to send surveys to random respondents who fit a certain demographic profile. No longer. Our Audience team built a self-service tool which gives SurveyMonkey users access to 3+ million people. Want to know what to call your swanky fusion cuisine restaurant in downtown Manhattan? Simply create a survey, move some sliders around to find your target demographic, and then ask them which restaurant name they like best. It’s inexpensive, easy to use and even better, comes straight from your target demographic!
Last but not least, the Devmonkeys would like to thank all of our technology partners. Without them, we could not have built the platform we have today and we certainly could not have kept up with the pace of projects needed to complete in order to keep making SurveyMonkey better. For localization, we use Smartling [http://www.smartling.com/] which makes localizing our product into 12 different languages a snap. On the old stack, we use a lot of technologies from old Papa Microsoft [http://www.microsoft.com], including .Net and SqlServer, which is lightning fast. Our old stack also uses ScaleOut [http://www.scaleoutsoftware.com/] for its cache, which has been a reliable friend during peak traffic. On our new python stack, built on Ubuntu [http://www.ubuntu.com/], we obviously want to thank the Pythonistas [http://python.org/], as well as our primary web framework, the mighty, might Pyramid [http://www.pylonsproject.org/projects/pyramid/about], and for connection pooling, SQLAlchemy [http://www.sqlalchemy.org/] We use both Redis [http://redis.io/] and Memcached [http://memcached.org/] as well as some experimental jaunts in Solr[http://lucene.apache.org/solr/]. From the frontend perspective, we are very thankful for jQuery[http://jquery.com/], Mustache [http://mustache.github.com/], SASS [http://sass-lang.com], as well as our new best friend, PhantomJS [http://phantomjs.org/]. Our QA and DevOps would feel naked without our Jenkins Servers [http://jenkins-ci.org/], as well as Selenium [http://seleniumhq.org/], our frontend automation tool of choice. And for keeping our source code cozy and safe, we are very thankful for Git and GitHub[https://github.com/].
2012 has been a wild ride and our team wouldn’t have it any other way. From the entire Engineering team to you, we wish you all a great Thanksgiving and thank you again for all of your continued support. We wouldn’t be able to keep making SurveyMonkey better without you!
See you next time and thanks for hanging out in the Code-Monkey Corner!
As you can see, the Devmonkeys are much more than primates with wrenches; you’d be hard-pressed to find a more professional, seasoned team and they are excited about what lies ahead. In fact, if the idea of building ambitious products at a large scale and creating dynamic web applications that use the latest trends and best practices floats your boat, then we’re looking for people like you.