By, Doug Carruthers
If you give a man a fish, he will eat for a day.
If you teach a man to fish, he will eat for a lifetime.
On October, 22nd Geo-Connections moved forward with one of the most important changes we have ever made to LoopLink and to our company. We transferred LoopLink in its entirety to a more robust and scalable hosting configuration and we took control of our source code.
A New Home For LoopLink
The transfer of LoopLink to its new home went off without a hitch thanks to the hard work of our former development team (more on this later) and our new hosting provider, CoSentry. With our new hosting configuration in place, we are better able to minimize downtime in the event of network outages, DNS shenaniganery, power interruptions, acts of God etc. We also have the room to expand and co-opt more resources as needed over time.
At first blush, it would seem that transferring our entire software system to a new location hundreds of miles from where it once was is the more significant of the two changes we made. In reality, this was the last step on the long road to the new and improved Geo-Connections.
Controlling The Source
To those outside of our company, this may come as a bit of a surprise... we didn't code LoopLink. We came up with the concept, got together all of the necessary equations and designed the interface but when it came time to put it all together and make it work, we hired third-party software developers.
A Brief History
LoopLink started out as an Excel spreadsheet that we used internally. It was massive, complicated, hard to navigate, impossible to add features to and a nightmare to debug. As cumbersome as it was, that first spreadsheet was more accurate and capable than the software that could be purchased at the time. We knew we had to get this thing into the hands of system designers but we also knew that what we had wasn't fit for human consumption.
We were at an impasse. We had a proof of concept but we had neither the technical ability nor the income to support a staff that could produce what we wanted. Outsourcing was our only solution so, we started the hunt for third-party developers.
We found our perfect match in a Sioux Falls based company that doesn't actually do custom programming. Our new developers had a product of their own that earned them their bread and butter but thanks to a personal connection and a little bit of geothermal curiosity on their part, they started work on making the mother of all spreadsheets into what would become LoopLink.
This company (who will remain unnamed) not only took on the task of building LoopLink with us, they helped teach us how to maintain and develop it ourselves. For the past three years they have worked with us as contractor and mentor. We learned the programming languages, frameworks, versioning systems while they built the backend and answered all of our NOOB questions. Now, with LoopLink's release and two major updates under our belt, we are ready to fly solo.
Back To The Future
This transition marks a very important time in our short history as a company. We are now more than a software distributor - we are a software developer. We have the resources, technical ability and people necessary to handle all aspects of LoopLink development in house. In other words, our products, services, and everything else we offer will be created, marketed and sold by us, and us alone. We are now in control of our own destiny, and we can't wait to get started!
What This Means for LoopLinkers
Many of the improvements we have made since our original release are a result of LoopLinker comments and suggestions. We would take your ideas, flesh them out and then turn them over to our developers to implement. Now, great ideas come from you and get built in as fast we can code and test them. We no longer need to pass them off!
To all of our customers - from LoopLinker #1 to our latest trial user - know that the buck truly stops here. From this point forward, we design, code, write, illustrate, market and do everything else necessary to provide for the success of our customers and our company. If you need help, have suggestions, find a typo, whatever... call (866)995-4449 we are never so busy we can't talk to our customers.
On A Personal Note
To our former developers, we would like to offer a public, albeit slightly anonymous, thank you for your hard work and support. We have been very fortunate to work with professionals of your caliber and we wish you continued success in all ventures you pursue.