Compass Tech Looking Into 2017

2016 Review

2016 was another huge expansion year for us. We expanded into 3 new cities (one 3 months ahead of schedule!), and doubled the number of real estate agents we work with. We improved traffic to the site by increasing the number of pages indexed by search engines by 4X. All of this progress resulted in our latest investment round valuing Compass at $1B, and we announced that we made $180M in revenue!

Engineering in 2016

We launched 6 major new products across web and mobile, and improved integration between different products to improve user experience for users.

Front End. Our front end foundations engineering team created a number of reusable components such as table and card view components, avatars, and many others. Along with adopting the components, we implemented consistent design system across the site, and made a number of improvements to our front end tooling and developer experience. Most of our front end is now using EcmaScript6.

Backend & Infrastructure. We invested in a number of foundational services on the backend and our microservices count grew 3 times (and number of production server nodes 4 times). We adopted gRPC and added Golang to our stack. We developed a new API framework that automatically converts from Thrift to RESTful APIs, with client code generation in Swift, Golang, JavaScript and Java. We matured our operations by implementing centralized logging, and improved our security infrastructure. We scaled our search server to index and serve more data, and released fun features such as ability to search custom shapes on maps.

Mobile. Our crack mobile team rebuilt our iOS Apps in Swift 3 while simplifying our code base, improving velocity and open sourcing an observables framework for Swift.

End of Year Hackathon. Our November Hackathon had 22 projects and truly showed the power of our technology, with a number of new features, ideas, visualizations and even product prototypes developed in 36 hours. Some projects are already running in production!

Exciting Tech & Products in 2017

2017 promises to be an interesting inflection point in our products and technology. We will continue our growth, and are focusing on improving a number of KPIs (key performance indicators) around several key areas. To learn more about our different teams, see this post.

Our Frontend Foundations team (aka DevOps for frontend devs) has recently rolled out NPM Enterprise, which is making our dependency management much easier. This is a first step toward a new frontend architecture that will allow teams to work on and deploy applications independently, and also potentially choose their own frameworks for their projects.

On agent tools team we launched Collections late last year, we have been iterating and adding many features based on agent feedback. Those have been very well received, resulting in agents truly adopting the tool.

1-Minute Collections Overview

The collections backend is becoming a platform for powering multiple products and we will be continuing that work throughout the year. We recently were able to reuse the infrastructure to launch public collections (in just 3 weeks!), a new experience focused on helping agents share their expertise. Here is an example our CEO put together of some of the most beautiful homes. Forbes called collections the “Pinterest of Real Estate”.

We also started a new platform-level product called Marketing Center, focused on helping agents market themselves (update — launched in July!). This will form the basis for a lot of future innovation and will subsume several existing products. We will also be building some systems that help us integrate our internal systems and connect them with our products for the next phase of growth.

Data Pipeline. Our data pipeline team will soon finish a big investment project around streamlining our core data model, which will clean up a lot of technical debt and allow us to improve our data quality and usability. We are continuing adoption of Spark and AWS ElasticMapReduce, and adopting new persistence mechanisms to make our data ingestion more robust.

For mobile, we are launching a new version of our app for our agents and growing our team, and migrating some of our legacy apps to the latest Swift goodness. (Learn more about our mobile here).

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