Nokia was falling behind Apple in the smart phone wars. They needed a new developer platform launched in 90 days.
A global group of mobile app developers was the audience. The developer support team was our client. Jobs were on the line.
An internal Nokia team had been working on the new developer platform for a few years. Their progress was slipping and a hard call had to be made.
The Nokia Developer Portal consisted of tens of thousands of pages and served tens of thousands of developers world wide.
Solspace conceived and built the front-end code and back-end systems that ran developer.nokia.com
We built four custom API integrated modules from the ground up to extend the capabilities of the underlying CMS to meet Nokia's business needs.
90 days later we launched our site and dramatically reduced our operating costs. The Solspace team was efficient, adaptable, and dealt with an unrealistic deadline with supreme professionalism. Next time I'm calling Solspace first and saving myself some sleepless nights!
We had worked with various Nokia teams over the years as they had started adopting inexpensive and highly flexible LAMP stack CMS's like ExpressionEngine. A new Java version of their developer platform got off track. So they called us in to see how quickly we could build and launch a LAMP stack version of their platform. We built the first proof of concept in 3 weeks. We launched the production version 3 months later.
Some things may look impossible, but with the right process, almost anything on the web can be done.
Let's not forget the fundamentals. When you are on an incredibly tight timeline with very high stakes you want the most seasoned and experienced experts doing the baseline platform set-up. Even stuff that is supposedly easy to do is always done faster and better by someone with wisdom and experience.
For Nokia we established the data model in the CMS, creating the fields, containers, sections, categories, and the like to support the storage of site content. We also built out the templates that represented the different views of the data. Member permissions and business logic also needed to be established with an eye toward future enhancements.
This is the simple stuff, but if not done by an expert, it can get complicated quickly.
We had 3 weeks to build a proof of concept for Nokia and 3 months to launch the production site. In order to hit these impossible deadlines, we had to bring out the best of what we call Creative Development.
Creative Development is an approach to web development that emphasizes simple, practical, reliable solutions to problems. In order to identify a simple and practical solution you first must apply the creative mind to identify the problem to be solved. The creative mind cuts through existing attachments and preconceptions. It seeks out assumptions and attempts to debunk them. When a problem is understood from the creative point of view, the opportunities wrapped inside a challenge are revealed.
When you and the members of your team find yourselves saying, "Why don't we just..." you know you are practicing Creative Development. Quick, simple, inexpensive solutions to problems are the hallmark.
Through our Creative Development practice, we guided Nokia through a very challenging timeline and helped them launch a platform that served it's users well and remained secure and manageable.
Nokia had developed a federated user-id system for all of their web properties. This system supported single sign-on which would allow a developer to access multiple Nokia properties with one login session. This was a level of convenience and reduction in friction that was essential for Nokia. They wanted to treat their devoted developer community with respect. Respecting their time and safeguarding their convenience was key.
One of the core resources provided to the Nokia Developer community were SDKs. These Software Development Kits helped app developers get their ideas up and running more quickly and easily. Providing access to these SDK resources was one of the primary functions of the site.
Nokia required that only logged-in developers access these resources. Tracking of usage and popularity were important features. This meant that the downloadable resources had to be accessible only through the CMS.
We built a module for the CMS which allowed developers to easily access their SDK resources while at the same time not widely sharing the origin URLs of the files. Included in this system were tracking and other stats tools of use to the Nokia teams.
Nokia had several security teams that each had a set of requirements that needed to be met by any web property bearing the Nokia name. These security teams conducted regular audits of our backend code as well as front-end vulnerabilities. Some of these audits were based on automated Veracode scans of system code. These automated scans turn up various types of issues across the security severity spectrum. False positives are an inherent part of automated security scans.
The Solspace team worked through each and every noted issue pertaining to the ExpressionEngine CMS being used. We remediated issues where appropriate and we communicated extensively with the security teams to address false positives and minor issues.
Thoroughness is the rule in security work. We took on the lead role in assuring that the CMS and other systems being used for the Nokia Developer Portal were airtight.