I’m Marc Volgers, one of the developers at SURFmarket. This is my first blog post for SURFmarket and it will be a great way to give you a glimpse behind the scenes at the more technical ups and downs of SURFmarket. Let’s start off with a short description of how development actually works, from a request to a new version.
We have a number of applications that we manage ourselves and continue to develop. What does a developer actually do? It’s really quite simple: a developer develops software. By using a language that the computer understands, I create or improve existing features (for the programming enthusiasts: my favourite language is C#).
It all starts with a request
How does it work? First a request comes in: sometimes from internal users and sometimes from clients, such as through the Customer Satisfaction Survey (CSS). A functional developer then works through this request to make sure there are no misunderstandings about what exactly needs to be done. Once all that is clear, then I can get started. That’s the fun part!
A development environment in our system allows me to make as many changes as I like. The challenge is coming up with and implementing a good technical solution. It gives you such a rush when you click a button at the end of the day… and it works! I enter the changes into a test environment. In the best case scenario, the change works straight away. And sometimes… it still needs a bit of tweaking. Only after a change has been approved can it be included in an update.
After a period in which we design, develop and test the changes, we release the update. We obviously do this outside of normal business hours so that our systems won’t be down for too long. If any serious problem comes up, we also release an extra interim update.
From time to time, you might therefore see new features on SURFmarket.nl, for example. Recently a great deal of emphasis has been placed on customer requests from the CSS, such as a new layout, enhanced ordering options and the possibility to save the shopping cart. Other changes are implemented in the internal system, and these go unnoticed by visitors. This will also be a focal point in the future. It’s fulfilling for me when the changes go live, and if I indirectly get a compliment from the client then that really makes my day.