A Blank Canvas: How We Built the Technology Platform for Zylo

Ryan Carroll

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Over the past few weeks, my wife and I have been planning our final remodeling project for our house that we moved into almost ten years ago. I enjoy remodeling projects, but by far I enjoy the planning aspects of the remodel the most. Planning requires you to take into account all of the decisions of the project and what impact they will have on the overall finished product. Doing the work is also rewarding, but I quickly get bored when removing multiple layers of wallpaper.

When we started Zylo in early 2016 with the vision to create the leading cloud intelligence platform, that similar excitement happened as we had the opportunity to start selecting technologies for our platform. One challenge is that there are more technology choices than styles of carpet and tile at your local home improvement store. Every day a new library or framework is added to an already cluttered landscape. We wanted to choose technologies that were solid and proven, but still pushing the envelope so our customer experience is always first class. As Eric, our CEO, always stresses, we are building the foundation of our company with “only good bricks.”

Technology Allows Us To Deliver Faster And With More Flexibility 

The first decision we made was how to separate responsibilities within the code. We adopted the API-first methodology, which meant that the API would be the driver of all scope and access to the platform. This decision allows us the flexibility to change how we communicate to the user, and makes sure we properly secure all access points since they will be publicly available.

Next up was the decision on our frontend framework. React allows for faster development with reusable UI components, and has an amazing community support since Facebook made the library open source. There are many libraries that you can add to React and we are excited to use Victory for all of our data visualizations. We frequently get compliments that the application seamlessly matches what was created by our product designers, and a lot of that is made possible by Victory.

For the API layer we wanted to stick to a single language across both the frontend and backend, so we chose NodeJS with Express. One benefit is that engineers who are primarily working in React are able to easily switch over and make changes in the API without the need to remember the different syntax. On the database side, we are sticking with what some would call the boring choice, Postgres. While that may sound like a negative, we are perfectly happy with the proven and reliable choice. With the addition of JSON support, and other flexible field types, Postgres has everything you need in a traditional database with the added flexibility of other NoSQL options.

Zylo Is Set Up For Success

Lucky for the team, when joining a new startup there is no existing wallpaper or shag carpet to remove. We were able to take our technology stack decisions and start building the product. With the technology choices we made, we believe that it will allow us to deliver a faster and more flexible product than any of our competitors.

Interested in learning more about managing cloud software in your organization? Download Zylo’s latest resource, “How The Cloud Shift Can Drive IT Procurement Strategy” for insight on how to be proactive and drive strategy.

Also, check out these blog posts for more resources on SaaS:

The SaaS Landscape Is Changing Procurement Forever. Here’s Why:

“Buyers” Move Over. Why The Subscription Economy Is The Future.

About the Author

Ryan Carroll

Ryan is the Co-founder and VP of Engineering at Zylo where he leads the development and strategy of Zylo's platform. Prior to Zylo, Ryan spent 15 years as a developer and manager at companies such as Salesforce, ExactTarget, and iGoDigital. Despite being a Purdue alum, Ryan is an avid Hoosier basketball fan. A runner, golfer, and proud dad of two young girls, Ryan came to Zylo to build another team from the ground-up.