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RACES – The Application layer

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While the Tech Platform deals with the hardware layer, what the runners really experiences is the Applications that run the service offering. So this post deals with how all the best technologies are customised and weaven together to offer a compelling experience to the running community.

The Philosophy:

As a philosophical approach we chose to not pile on unnecessary costs, where avoidable. We thus wanted to do away with the crippling licence costs that the Microsoft suite of products entail.  We went Opensource and pay for licensed software / pluging / extensions where applicable. Except for two desktops needed for Tally and for the Printer, rest of our desktops run on the Linux Ubuntu OS.

The WordPress Platform:

Gone are the days when a website would be built from scratch. Now the approach is to use a platform and build the site on top of the platform. WordPress is one such platform. It is the worlds most popular Content Management System ( CMS ) Platform. It powers 60 million websites worldwide with about 100,000 being added every day. http://www.forbes.com/sites/jjcolao/2012/09/05/the-internets-mother-tongue/
Some of the world’s most leading websites use WordPress and the support community is amazing. We have paid for and installed a licenced version of WordPress on our Amazon Web Services ( AWS ) servers.

MySQL Database:

Did you know that MySQL is the worlds most popular opensource database. Why even Facebook, Google, Twitter, Flickr and YouTube use MySQL to power their websites. This wikipedia entry gives a nice overview http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MySQL

Application:

The actual software that serves the application form is a WordPress plug in which has been extensively customised to meet our needs. While retaining the core which is common for most events, a huge amount of customisation has gone into making it relevant for the Indian running community. More importantly we own the code, so we can tailor things for each event organiser in a short timespan. Our principle is that the application must support the event organiser and he should not be told to fit his event into a cookie cutter event registration offering.

Payment Gateway

Our Payment Gateway aggregator is PayU. They aggregate stand alone Payment Gateways and offer a bundled service. What this means is that if we had chosen only one Payment Gateway we would be locked to just that one. But thru PayU we are linked to three payment gateways. HDFC, SBI and UnionBank. Transparent to the runner, the transaction is taken to the server that has the best response level at that point in time.  Our API level integration and access to a full suite dashboard  gives us greater control over our account.

Jabong, Snapdeal and Zomato are some of the sites using PayU

SMS Gateway

We are integrated with Exotel for their SMS services. We can thus send out Transactional SMSes ( the ones that you get when you register ) and marketing SMSes ( the ones that tell you an event is open for registration etc ) . We can customise the SMSes as per our choice., pick variables from an excel and even send out 1000 character long SMSes.

Email Gateway

Our Email gateway is SendGrid. Offering us a whole host of features, it ensures that our emails do not go into spam but to the Promotions folder of Gmail. Each email incorporates technology that enables us to track each one. Mailing campaigns can be thus  effectively monitored.

The RACES solution is thus a tightly knit application incorporating some of the best tech solutions.

In the next post we will see how this is all monitored and managed.

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