It is a core element of any digital city guide: The event engine. Listings of concerts, meetings, sports events and literary nights. Reviews of restaurants and night clubs. In short: What to do in the city?
But under the hood to create a service like that is usually a big database of events and places, designed to spit out listings for any imaginable things to do in a useful way for the users. To build a good event engine can be a quite sophisticated task.
Now Event Engine 2.0 is ready from Schibsted Norge Digital´s team in Krakow. Instead of making separate solutions for each newspaper, the new solution offers a joint database for several media houses and with lots of flexibility through APIs to present the data in different ways for the users.
Scalable event engine
– It is a scalable product that can be used by different media houses. You can also easily make national listings of events using data from all the participants, says Tomasz Zakrzewski, team leader for SND Editorial (Schibsted Norge Digital Editorial).
The event engine project is typical for projects developed by Schibsted Norge Digital (SND), which is a joint developing unit for four Norwegian subscription newspapers. SND is Schibsted Tech Polska´s largest partner – and prioritizes solutions that can be used by more than one media house.
Such as the event engine.
– The team in Krakow consists of very good programmers. They have worked together for a long time – and know each others strength and weaknesses. Therefore they are also very good in assigning tasks to each other, says Vegard Nekstad in the media house Fædrelandsvennen, who was product owner for the project.
The product owner and tech lead Kim Robin Gule met with the team on video conference three times weekly for so-called stand-up. They also met face to face several times, both in Krakow, Oslo and Kristiansand.
At the most six programmers in Krakow worked on the project.
The event engine will first be used by the city guide KRSby.no, a product that was developed in Schibsted Tech Polska earlier this year. Stavanger Aftenblad has also decided to use the new event engine and have started preparations.
– One of the most important new functionalities is that organizers and users can add new events, such as an exhibit, themselves, says team leader Tomasz Zakrzewski.
He lists some of the technologies used to build the event engine:
- Angular.js for creating a “single-page” back office administration application
- Java with Jersey framework for creating the RESTFul JSON API
- MySQL database with Hibernate
- Apache Lucene full text search engine
– Angular.js was a new technology for us. But we found it was fun to work with – and easy to learn, says Zakrzewski.
Criteria for success
Tomasz Zakrzewski was one of first employees in Schibsted Tech Polska and has seen the company grow from a handful programmers to almost 150 employees today.
He lists three criteria that in his experience are essential to succeed with a development project between a Norwegian partner and programmers in Poland:
- Good communication
- Daily stand-up
- Both parties are committed 100 % to the project
– How would you describe your experience working closely with Norwegians?
– I am not sure if it is because we work with Scandinavians or because I am in a different sector. Before I used to work in the banking sector. Our projects there were much more formal. In Schibsted Tech Polska we have much more freedom and the development process is not as strict as I was used to before.
Can be used by external companies
Because the event engine has a full API participating media houses can use the data as they would like to. How listings will be presented, for instance, is entirely up to each partner.
Product owner Vegard Nekstad says it therefore has been discussed to open up the event engine also for external partner companies.
But first Schibsted´s own media houses will make use of it.
And thousands of people all over Norway who will find what to do on their spare time in a much quicker way.
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