Cloud Applications & Using 3D on the Web – Newbury Summer Meetup 2016

Last month Exonar hosted the fourth event of ‘Silicon Canal, Newbury’ Meetup. The Meetups were started with the intent of connecting IT professionals and passionates with different backgrounds and to give them the opportunity to share knowledge and experience in building and deploying leading edge software applications and technological approaches. By documenting the Meetup sessions we hope to encourage more leading edge technical folk in our area to join the community and further all of our education and experiences.

This month focused on 2 core areas:

  • Utilising webgl and 3D on the web
  • Moving a legacy application to the cloud.
  • Insight was delivered by Exonar’s Nesh Thompson and Russell Foster.

Russ’s talk on ‘lessons being learnt from moving a legacy app to the cloud’ was given with the driver of discussing with others the peaks and pitfalls of putting the theory of application conversion into practice. When asked about its importance in industry Russ explained that ‘There is a ongoing move to the cloud and by taking the lessons we’ve learnt I hope to help other companies avoid some of the traps we fell into.’ The talk considered the whole process, giving attendees insight into what they should consider when doing this themselves by giving insight into the process that Exonar has undertaken.

There was focus on each step in the journey towards completing a move. As a start, he showed Exonar’s initial plan to move noting:

  • It’s not a ‘one time’ job
  • Understanding your stack complexity and business pressures is key
  • Utilising Java/Python portions that communicate over the network eases the process
  • Ensuring the business agrees with the plan and approach and is ‘bought in’ is a must
  • Understanding what your app can and can’t do is critical
  • Consider carefully a multi-tenancy backend versus deploying Physically separate
  • Calculate how many users
  • You must also understand your cost

All of these allowed attendees to consider the points and what that means for their own business. Following this the presentation took a step by step approach looking at what it takes to make the move including moving the app as a whole, splitting it up, getting it ready for the outside world and going live. This approach presented a realistic outlook on the time and effort it takes, as well as being honest about the new issues that can arise after the move.

Attendees appreciated the realism of the approach and were able to raise further insightful questions and engagement later in the evening.

Our second speaker, Nesh, discussed using 3D on the web. Nesh was responsible for deploying ‘Webgl and 3D on the web in our first prototype UI’ and following this he wanted to discuss the journey he’d had and what he’d learnt. His talk focused on a practical guide to Webgl and its uses within the industry. Nesh explained that for the past 3 years Exonar’s own app front end has featured heavy use of Webgl, a Javascript api that allows the browser to render 2D/3D graphics without plugins. By using this, Exonar is able to view complex data using an extra dimension which gives people the ability to see information trends in new ways. The big problem with Big Data is that it’s difficult to understand it all on a 2 dimensional screen!

Nesh also talked about reasons to use webgl and further resources adding that 3d on the web isn’t and shouldn’t be used for everything. Where appropriate, a third dimension can give the ability to view data in useful ways and give a greater understanding within an organisation. However, Nesh added that while 3D is obviously useful for things such as games and animations, not everyone can view 3D so the target audience is important to gauge and understand when it is appropriate to use 3D in the context of your audience and target market.

As per tradition, the evening closed with conversation, drinks and pizza between attendees and speakers. The talks inspired both conversation and questions throughout the evening, as well as eagerly anticipating our next meetup.

We’re keen to welcome as many people and ideas as possible at these events. If you would like to come along to our next event on the 3rd October, or if you would like to be one of our speakers then visit the website for more information about the event and fellow attendees.

We look forward to seeing you!

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