Rebuilt ramps up Ruby on Rails

New widgets and API in the works

Property portal has been re-engineered from the ground up with its legacy Perl codebase being replaced with Java and Ruby on Rails.

The site began in Melbourne in 1998 and after a shaky time during the dot com boom the REA Group has grown to become a $200 million business with Web properties in Australia, Italy, France, Germany and Hong Kong.

REA Group chief information officer, Daniel Oertli, said last year a lot of “effort and capital” was spent to launch the new platform.

“We have data centres around the world and use in-house skills and the best global providers,” Oertli said.

Last month REA advertised for Ruby on Rails developers to work in its Melbourne office.

“We have way to much work and way too little Rails experience on the floor here,” the ad read. “We need good, experienced Rails developers to step us up a little. JavaScript skills will be highly regarded, as will Java.”

REA has a “massive amount of work” planned for the next 12 to 18 months and a lot of that will be done with Rails.

The Rails work includes a re-write of one of the major Perl subsystems from the ground up, a new suite of widgets the developers have started on (including a self-serve site on which partners can assemble and configure their own widgets) and a new RESTful API in which is already in development.

REA is agile “in a big way” and engages with ThoughtWorks and Cogent Consulting.

Oertli said the new API is key as syndication plays a part in “reaching more people the way they choose”.

“We have an iPhone app awaiting Apple’s approval and our future direction centres on customers, consumers and vendors,” he said.

Speaking at the launch of hosted video company Brightcove’s Australian operations, Oertli said REA is just starting up its social networking journey and the next wave will be video.

“Videos play a dimension photos don’t,” he said.

Brightcove has appointed former Frost & Sullivan sales manager Peter Graves as regional sales director.

Senior vice president of marketing at Brightcove, Jeff Whatcott, said the service spans the desktop, mobile devices and IP TV and its support for HTML 5 on mobile devices without Flash has driven many people to the company in the past year.

Rodney Gedda is Editor of TechWorld Australia. Follow Rodney on Twitter at @rodneygedda. Rodney's e-mail address is Follow TechWorld Australia on Twitter at @Techworld_AU.

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