Collaborative social networking, sharing content

Vizrea/WebFives, Inc.

  • Access to a development team to speed-up the implementation of the product quickly.
  • Access to specific knowledge to develop unique features.
  • WebFives/Vizrea was a photo and video sharing platform that allowed users to upload, organize, and share their media files.
  • One of the notable innovations that WebFives/Vizrea brought to the market was its automatic syncing feature.
  • Users could upload their media files to the platform, and the files would automatically sync with all their devices, including their computer, phone, and tablet. This made it easy for users to access their media files from anywhere and on any device.
  • The platform aimed to solve the problem of storing and sharing large media files, which could be cumbersome and slow with traditional email or file-sharing methods.
  • It was initially launched in 2005 as WebFives, but the name was later changed to Vizrea in 2007.
  • At the time, WebFives/Vizrea had more than 500,000 registered users. After the acquisition, Microsoft incorporated some of WebFives/Vizrea's technology and features into its Windows Live and Windows Mobile services.
Technical Details
  • Desktop – .NET C# application
  • Server – ASP.NET sharing software
  • Mobile application for Symbian phones, which sync pictures to the server
Other links
Challenges and SolutionS
  • Vizrea searched for a development team in order to speed-up the implementation of their product and make it ready for the US market.
  • Project started in August 2005 with a quite big team from the beginning. There were 10 developers and analyst on the project during the peak times.
  • The project used new concepts and user interface features: social networking, image manipulation, photography ...
  • The team grew fast, which lead to communication challenges. External teams and contractors involved in some specific tasks.
  • Challenges with distributed development environment - USA, Czech Republic, Slovakia
  • Different project modules, different platforms and technologies (.NET, mobile technologies)
  • Communication between the teams was the most critical part of the development process. There were several different systems and tools used to ensure that everybody has the information needed and the project is moving in the right direction. Weekly reports, high-level meetings about the main milestones, resource issues, central issue system for bugs, feature requests, peer code reviews, Skype/e-mail for daily communication, automatic build server, and deployment scripts.
  • Changing business requirements were addressed by quick iterations and tests
  • Using the resources and the knowledge of or development and test teams Vizrea was able to speed up the delivery of the product for the US market. This goal was attained by using the most cost-effective resources available.
  • The development teams created a unique technology. Picture manipulation, social features and sync features are some of them
Key Takeaways
  • The communication was the key. The teams met regularly in person, even though teams worked in Czech Republic, Slovakia and USA.
  • The teams were not separated, but merged so they can work efficiently.
  • One of the co-owners was always available, in person, to the dev team to discuss different technical solutions.