An Online Community Built by Its Members

"We didn't feel any other platform could perform as well and be as agile as Heroku."


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Cloudspokes Makes Crowdsourced Development Possible

When CloudSpokes first launched in early 2011, the team was looking to disrupt the sofware development industry. The idea: to leverage cloud platforms to fundamentally shift the way businesses met their development needs. Thus was born Cloudspokes, a crowdsourcing marketplace that connects development platforms-as-a-service (PaaS), developers, and companies that need to get work done.

The Online Community Built by a Community

CloudSpokes is an online crowdsourcing development community and marketplace that matches companies who need mobile, API and cloud development work with a worldwide community of experts. Jeff Douglas, platform architect at CloudSpokes, says the team took an innovative approach in enlisting the community to do most of the work. Over a period of just three months Douglas pushed out challenges to the community of developers to build the site’s features, from interface to advanced search functionality, and launched on Heroku.

“We need a true platform-as-a-service. We need a platform that facilitates daily deployments and that can respond to an agile development process without a DBA and a team of developers,” says Douglas. “Our 70,000 community members want features and expect a quick turnaround on our development cycles, just as we expect the same from them on our CloudSpokes development challenges. We quickly realized that we needed Heroku.”

Increased Productivity with Heroku’s Git-Based Workflow

Douglas credits the turnaround time to Heroku’s ease of deployment and git integration. The CloudSpokes team could release the right features the moment their community wanted them.

“One of the reasons we went with Heroku was the time we could get code out,” says Douglas. “For example, early on we received feedback from one of our top members that our commenting process was difficult enough to negatively affect participation. We added this to our sprint planning and since it was an easy fix we had the process updated within days. This is a small example, but it’s key to the health of our community to be able to respond in real-time to requests and bugs like these. Heroku gives us exactly the response time we require.”

Effortless Scaling to Meet Demand

Since the move to Heroku, Douglas says that they’ve not only enjoyed a smoother, faster development cycle, but seen a drastic improvement in performance.

The CloudSpokes team saw a 400 percent improvement in page load times by switching to a combination of Heroku, Ruby on Rails, and Node.js. “It’s blazingly fast!” says Douglas. Heroku’s instant scaling allowed CloudSpokes to push their outreach efforts harder than ever before. Douglas explains that CloudSpokes has run some challenges and promotions that would bring thousands of the users to the site every day for a month.

“We had to scale up to 20 dynos to meet that demand. We usually run at about 5 or 10 dynos,” says Douglas. “With Heroku its a minimal command line prompt. It’s ‘Heroku scale = 20’ and you’re done.”

The focus on scalability has paid off. Since the launch almost two years ago over 65 challenges have been kicked-off to continuously update and improve the site. “The site is now running over 10 unique Heroku apps, including the CloudSpokes API, all built in various languages,” says Douglas. “Heroku being language-agnostic here is key. We can use the same Redis server with any language, so we can concurrently run a node app and a ruby app and there’s no tradeoff in performance or configuration.”