Node.js to deliver Yahoo7’s online services

Head of technology plans to switch out proprietary PHP-based system

Node.js will be at the heart of how Yahoo7 serves pages across its online properties under a project earmarked in its current 12-month technology plan.

“We’re changing some of the technology we’re using to deliver our pages,” said Yahoo 7’s director of technology, Paul Russell.

“Technology changes relatively fast and it’s time for us to update that, so we’re moving to Node.js, which from a tech point of view is pretty interesting.

“It’s a great opportunity for us to reset things ... and will help us deliver for our business in terms of the speed we can deliver product.”

Currently Yahoo7 employs a proprietary PHP-based system to serve content.

“It was great at the time and it’s just that it has come towards the end of when it will be useful,” Russell said.

“Whatever we were going to swap it out for, we were always going to get something that was more productive, more straightforward and used some more up to date skills and technology, so that was one element of [the decision to use Node.js].”

The digital media company is a 50:50 joint venture between Seven West Media and troubled US tech company Yahoo — that latter of which has employed Node.js to a significant number of sites.

“As part of the joint venture we use a lot of Yahoo technology and Yahoo has embraced open source a lot over the last while — and Node.js is part of that. In terms of the options, that was a great one for us to choose.” Russell said.

Read more: Yahoo7 targets local app developers with mobile ad offering

The Node.js rollout forms part of the high-level Yahoo7 technology roadmap for 2016, which is subject to change during the year depending on the needs of the business, Russell said.

“We’ll absolutely get elements of it live this year. Do we get it all done? We’re an agile business — the world will change between now and the end of the year — and we’ll need to react to that.”

Other tech priorities include continuing development of the company’s Apple TV app, which launched in December, and work on personalisation.

“We use a lot of personalisation and recommendation technology, but in the year ahead we’re going to use that a lot more,” Russell said.

“We’ve got a lot of fantastic content but bringing it to the surface and getting it in front of people is always something you can do better. That’s going to be a focus across a number of our properties in the coming year.”

Also on the cards is a BI project for the business.

Russell joined Yahoo7 last year. He has a background in digital media, including stints as the head of technology at Network Ten, CIO at Fairfax Digital, and executive general manager, technology and delivery, at Salmat.

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