Website Update: Leveraging Our Core Technologies

May 19, 2017 Steve Kotsopoulos

Earlier this year, the time came for Architech to retire our old brand and put a fresh face forward. As part of this rebranding effort, we’ve undertaken to re-develop our website – keeping what’s been working and building in new content and functionality to improve the overall user experience. Currently, we’re 6 sprints in to Project Sparkles (our project code name!) and plan to launch the new site this summer. 

Before I walk through the plans for the new site, let me tell you a bit about the existing one. The current site was built with angular.js, and all content updates had to be performed by the development team. Our Marketing Team wanted to be able to make quick changes to content and copy on a regular basis so it was a natural choice to implement a CMS-based solution using Architech's Core Technologies. 

We believe there's no better platform designed to meet our technical requirements and fulfill our content needs than dotCMS 4.0.  In addition to giving us total development freedom, building on dotCMS allows our content authors to easily modify content anytime they want. And, the new angular2 administrative interface in the 4.0 release provides a much-improved user experience for anyone updating or making changes to the site.  

 Now, let's get technical: 

Our HTML CSS, Java, and javascript/ES6 code is being built, tested, and deployed by a Jenkins server - providing a fully automated continuous integration and continuous deployment (CI/CD) environment. This approach radically decreases deployment errors common in systems lacking such automation. 

Integrations to 3rd party services are being provided by a Java Spring Boot backend - making it easy to integrate and expose REST APIs to the front-end. And, with Spring Boot Actuator, we can have a single health monitoring URL to ensure all components are available. This allows quick diagnosis in case a component fails.  

All servers are running on Redhat Linux - providing a secure, performant, and reliable operating system for all components in our architecture (dotCMS, Jenkins, NGINXSpring Boot backend). The deployment and configuration of all of these components is fully automated with Ansible. This means we can create an entirely new environment with a few commands and know that everything is configured correctly. From a productivity standpoint, this puts us miles ahead. 

All of our servers are hosted in the Cloud on Microsoft Azure - Architech was an early adopter of Azure and last year we won two Microsoft Impact awards for IoT Innovation and Open Source on Azure. We leverage the Azure CLI (command line interface), ARM (Azure resource manager) templates, and custom script extensions to fully automate the creation of our virtual machines, disks, backups, and load balancers and to securely manage access keys in Azure key vault. 

So, as you can see, there’s lots going on under the Sparkles hood – and we didn’t even talk branding. You’ll have to stay in suspense for the updated look and feel. Want to be among the first to know when we make the switch? Sign up for the real-time update, here

About the Author

Steve Kotsopoulos

As a Technical Lead, Steve mentors his teams in the delivery of agile software projects. He is a big fan of open source - his favorite technologies are Spring Boot, Spring Cloud, Node.js, MySQL, NGINX, ansible, vagrant, GIT and Linux. In his free time, he enjoys skateboarding, biking, and cooking.

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