Sunday, August 3, 2008

man me pt. 2

Music Choice was for me where my career became interesting. My role there was to architect a product that was to be a mirror of their full proposed television product for the web. This included, the live streaming audio channels, as well as the on-demand music videos and user customization features of creating play lists and run-time generated channels based on genre preferences. It was a living, breathing product the scope of which included not just the customer facing product, but the entire infrastructure: pl/sql stored procs to pull scheduling and meta data from the Oracle db, shell scripts to FTP the data to the web db servers, DTS packages in SQL Server to import the data, WScript to pull the data and export to xml nightly, front-end caching routines to hold the data client-side to ensure that the only trips to the database for an average session were mainly to transmit usage data, console applications using the Windows Media Encoder SDK and Windows Media Rights Management SDK to transcode and DRM videos for distribution, license generating scripts on the DRM server, scripts to distribute the content to the providers, web services to abstract business logic, usage gathering and reporting scripts. And finally once the application was done I had to come up with a mechanism to monitor each step of the piece and report it to a 24/7 operations department.

This was a two and a half year project, where I led a team of four core developers with several other developers cycling on and off for one-off tasks. To this day it's easily my favorite project.

Once the application and infrastructure were complete we began doing R&D, which was really fun. I set up an infrastructure to make use of the web services to feed a mobile component. I created a demo of an iTunes-like application that used the BITS SDK to sync up user playlist information created on the web app with mobile devices they might have connected to their pc.

My time at Music Choice was one of the best experiences in my career. I made many friends there, became a mentor and met my own mentor there. It was the first time I managed a large group of developers as well as external interfaces. It was my first exposure to web services and the power they have. The first time I created a mobile application, and the first time I had R&D time to really go nuts with the technology.

It also gave me a template for migrating enterprise applications to an SOA architecture and expanding product offerings to mobile applications, which I took with me when I moved on to Toll Brothers.

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