2016 is in full swing and it’s long overdue to take a look back at the past year and what happened then. This is part one of four in a series of posts about 2015.
2015 started out in the startup world. I was still part of the Bloglovin and we were finally getting ready to launch some of the work of me and my closest colleagues.
Push and Facebook mimicking
For me my first feature to launch was push notifications. When I first joined Bloglovin I was tasked with building the backend that handled our users’ notification subscriptions across all of their devices and ensuring that messages was routed correctly whenever any of our backends wanted to notify a user about something. We initially launched on iOS with follow notifications to try the systems out and then later on added notifications for new posts as well.
Next major feature of mine to launch was an improved metadata fetching for the blog posts. The platform featured a lot of gorgeus images and of course we wanted to present them the best way possible and I wanted to try and utilize the very same metadata that Facebook spearheaded sites to achieve that for us. That meant going beyond the metadata of the RSS feeds and pull down the actual blog posts, which were quite a few, and pull out that open graph data from them. Me and awesome devops Love did a successful experiment with utilizing Amazon Lambda to launch a fetching at that scale and amazingly saw it scale fairly easily to the full firehose of all new blog posts imported into Bloglovin (and that’s not few). Lambda really left an impression on me – it’s a cloud service that really deliveres on the promises of the cloud and is certainly something I want to return to in the future. After we have had the parser running for a while we also open sourced the very code behind it, metadata parser, to make it easier for others to also make use of that same data so that all of us could have better metadata to show to our users.
While working on the metadata fetching project we also had a great gathering of the entire Bloglovin team in Stockholm where lots of amazing ideas were discussed – some truly inspirational days with great feedback and some great shout outs from members of the team. When working on a mostly remote team days like these are extra joyful.
Widgets and smart feeds
Then came the smart feed. Me and my colleague of the Malmö office, Hugo, were tasked with creating a new API endpoint that could weave additional kinds of content, eg. recommendations, into Bloglovin’s classic blog post feed. Through close cooperation with the iOS team and some great feedback from Jared and others we designed what I believe was a pretty solid and flexible API that could scale to most feature requirements and have lots of room for future experimentation – all while still remaning compatible with and presenting a good experience for all those who doesn’t update their apps the second a new version comes out. It was a great experience to have to design such a flexible API for an environment such as iOS with the different limitations it has compared to the web and the adaptions one have to make to accomodate for that, especially when it comes to supporting legacy versions of an application – something one can often avoid in regular web development work, perhaps to the harm of the API design of those.
Then came summer and it became time for the Skåne team of Bloglovin to leave. Each one of us found we wanted to move on so as summer got closer and closer more and more of us left. For me it had become ever more apparent that me and Bloglovin had different visions on how to move ahead and I then felt it was best for us to part ways. So at the end of June I left the company and followed the example of Simon, who had left just before, and started to freelance (Simon later on got an awesome opportunity to join Filibaba where he’s now part of producing amazing vegetarian recipe apps – exciting stuffs!), while Hugo around the same time decided to join up with the local major newspaper HD-Sydsvenskan (where also he is creating some rather amazing, although so far less visible, stuff – Go-driven newspaper will be the thing of 2016!).
I’ll soon publish part two in this series of four post about my 2015 which will take a look at what happened in the IndieWeb world.