Working in the tech team at Liftshare

What is it like working in the Product Development team at The Liftshare Group? 

The Liftshare Group has several products, some of which have been around for over 20 years – But that doesn’t mean they use old technology! Our CTO, Ross Hewitt, has ensured our product suite is updated frequently, and works closely with our head of product, Sarah Roberts, to ensure larger scale refactor/ rebuild projects are factored into our development roadmap to ensure we keep our systems up to date.  

We asked Ross a few questions to find out more! 

 

So Ross, what technology is the Liftshare system built on and what’s great about it? 

Our main framework is .Net 5 (and by the time anyone reads this, probably .Net 6). Liftshare has always had its roots in the Microsoft ecosystem going all the way back to version one built in classic ASP. These days things are much different. C# is a great language to code in with modern support for asynchronous programming, generics, and language integrated query. Both .Net and C# have seen continuous and rapid evolution over the last few years, which has resulted in tangible improvements in speed, resilience, code quality and enjoyment in using it. The shift to open source and cross platform has also been amazing, contributing to the huge community of open-source projects that support innovation. 

Our current front-end framework of choice is Vue. We chose view because of its small footprint, fast rendering performance, and the core framework includes all the essentials like routing and two-way model binding. We also liked the readability of the single-file component structure.  

Lastly is our hosting and DevOps. Liftshare has had a roller-coaster ride with hosting, from its early days of shared hosting, then dedicated servers, then AWS, then back to more dedicated servers, until finally we have settled down with (unsurprisingly for a company with a history of Microsoft tech) Azure. Our CI pipelines in Azure DevOps allow us to maintain multiple environments, automate testing with both unit and integration tests, and most importantly maintain a high cadence of releases without compromising quality or security.  

 

What’s the coolest technology you’ve done recently? 

It’s difficult to talk about some of the more interesting stuff without revealing our secret sauce, but I personally enjoy some of the more complex concurrent and parallel workflows we use to process our MobilityWays data. When you are hitting the enterprise level rate limits of services from Google and AWS, you know your code is working well.  

 

What’s the training opportunity for the development team like at Liftshare? 

The training at Liftshare is as much or as little as each developer wants or needs. We are a relatively small team, so we put a strong emphasis on self-reliance, self-learning, and independence, while making sure we all support each other. We ensure every developer has a personal development plan with both personal and professional goals. 

Liftshare has a specific budget set aside for all employees for training and mentoring purporses. We’ve had developers use this for udemy courses, Microsoft qualifications and even just some lunch reimbursments for when they’ve found a mentor.  

Liftshare encourages the development team to attend conferences and will purchase the tickets for us, we had a great time at NorDevCon before the pandemic hit in March 2020!We try and go along to the local development conferences like Sync Norwich and Tech & Beer to keep  

 

What project are you most looking forward to in the near future? 

Liftshare has several projects, sites, and internal tools. We have been iterating, refactoring, and all out rebuilding them all over the last few years. We still have one or two projects using the old windows only .Net 4.x framework. I am very much looking forward to retiring the last Windows only tool; once that has been done, we will be looking to moving over to orchestrating some lightweight Linux containers with Kubernets. 

 

Photo: Taken 8am on a Tuesday morning, after a 5.30am start when half of the Product Development team went up in a hot air balloon!

 

Interested in the joining our team? See our latest positions here:

Front end developer

Sarah Roberts

Author Sarah Roberts

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