Futourist Development Update — September 2019

Gorazd Rajar
Sep 9, 2019 · 4 min read

Dear Futourists.

The development of the Futourist platform is underway once again. Much on that has been said in the previous blog posts. My job today is to let you know what we have achieved since and what is the development plan for the future.

But first we’d like to express the fact mentioned in the previous blog post — a part of our team is involved in the work-for-hire market. The development progress I’m outlining in the following paragraphs was paid for by the hard work of the part of the team not working on the Futourist project. This means that investors’ assets are not being burned for the time being. On the other hand, it means that the part of the team working on the Futourist project is smaller and therefore slower. This is the current situation, which will not stay this way forever.

Backend development

As you might know, we were using Cloudinary as our media backend provider. Cloudinary is an extraordinary tool, a platform with all the video and image manipulation tools you might need and a solid delivery system. But it comes with a price, a price no platform looking for scale can ever pay. As we found out the hard way, even development and testing gets expensive on Cloudinary. The plan was to migrate off of Cloudinary after the product MVP was launched and market-fit proved, but the financial situation forced us to switch early.

We migrated our image storage off of Cloudinary and on to the Firebase Storage (basically Google Cloud Platform storage) and are handling all the image manipulations ourselves.

The video storage, manipulation, and delivery were also migrated off of Cloudinary. We’re using Mux.com now, which doesn’t have all the beautiful features of Cloudinary, but it offers a video streaming solution that fits the needs and it is relatively cheap compared to other solutions.

Elastic Search (Algolia)

We’re now using a proper search solution, for users to be able to freely search through all the content of our platform. The principle is called ‘elastic search’ and our provider is Algolia. The system has been tested out and the development version of the web app is already using this solution (see the web app section).

With Algolia’s solution implemented, users will be able to execute a geographic search (find places in a specific city or nearby). They will be able to execute a keyword search which includes typos and mistakes. And they will be able to sort places by relevance and distance. None of this was possible before, with the simple search algorithm we used.

Legacy code cleanup

Work was done to sustain the existing code base by refactoring some of the backend features. The code is now clean, is much more readable, has fewer bugs, and is ready for a case where a new developer would have to take over.

Web application

Most of the work done on the platform in the last month was done on the web app front-end. We’ve redesigned it slightly to include new features like elastic search and reviews. A new front-end implementation is in progress as we speak. I reckon the upgraded platform will be released to the public in 2 months’ time. A lot is already done, including the submission of the video and photo reviews and the implementation of elastic search. But there are still things to be done before we can deploy it to production. Once that happens, adding and watching reviews will finally go live!

Mobile App

A new app design document is being made as we speak. We’re not changing much. Some features (search) have been substantially upgraded. Others have been put aside for later releases. The decision was made to find a partner to help us with the mobile app development in cooperation with our developers. We already found a suitable partner for this, one with a good track record and a hard-to-get price/performance ratio. At this point, we can not talk about the details of our partnership, but the important thing to know here is that the battle plan for delivering the mobile app is set and the execution is well underway. As for the delivery date of the app, we don’t want to promise too much, history proved wrong a couple of times now. There’s a lot of things to consider and prepare for when releasing an app to the mobile app stores. Timing included. If all goes well, we should have the version 1.0 done around new years.

More updates to follow during Q4 of this year.

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