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Issue 115

Startups and microservices - interview with Richard Rodger

Ovidiu Mățan
Founder @ Today Software Magazine
INTERVIEW

Has the pandemic time changed the direction of your Voxgig startup ?

Richard Rodger: Yes! Completely. Our original business was an events platform for technology companies, to help them manage their speakers and exhibits. Exhibits really need physical events to work properly - you need to be able to take sales prospects you meet at an event out to lunch etc. I know there are experiments now to do this online, but the problem is that all the previous exhibit activity is way down, and will take years to build back up again (as far as we can see). 

So we've decided to take our platform, which is very very flexible as it was designed to offer many mini-apps to speakers, exhibitors, organisers, attendees, etc, and convert it into a no-code platform. This means we are offering a SaaS platform-in-a-box as our new product. This is different from the drag-and-drop UI builders that comprise most of the no-code offerings. Also, our no-code product is actually "for developers" - why can't us developers benefit too! Less code is always better code!

What's the best approach in defining the model in a microservices system?

Richard Rodger: Start with the messages. Define these formally. Then, you can have the mental model of assigning message handling and generation to individual services as needed. You can split services apart, join them up, scale them, as your applications need change. Trying to design the services in advance is hard, and if you do not keep your messages as the primary design focus, you can get stuck with mini-monoliths.

What's your microservices strategy for connecting the core business logic with other endpoints like the UI?

Richard Rodger: It's messages all the way down! The front end also generates messages, and these are transported into the front line services. This gives you a unified data flow model. Lately, we've also added GraphQL so that we can leverage that ecosystem too. We have used plain old REST adapters in the past, but have moved away from that approach, as it did not give any additional benefits (whereas GraphQL does). 

Which will be the next main milestone for Voxgig ?

Richard Rodger: Our no-code platform will be mostly open source. We are preparing the codebase for this and will be making a series of releases over the next 6 months, starting with the base components.

What was your impression and feeling while being a speaker at this year online edition of The Developers conference?

Richard Rodger: It has become easier to give talks online. Perhaps it is just practice. At the start of the pandemic I found the lack of immediate audience reaction difficult. But now it is the new normal.

The big advantage of online is that you can participate without the cost of travel. I used to turn a lot of invitations down because of the time and travel commitment. Now I can say yes to most things! Such as The Developers online - nice and smoothly run and zero technical issues - I always appreciate that from the organisers. 

When should we be looking for your next book ?

Richard Rodger: I don't have any book plans at the moment - maybe in a few years after the pandemic!

VIDEO: ISSUE 109 LAUNCH EVENT

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VIDEO: ISSUE 109 LAUNCH EVENT