Meeting the Voxer Staff: Part III
This is the third in a series of “Meet the Voxer Staff” posts. Today, we’re getting a bit more technical and are introducing the world to three Voxer engineers, DShaw, Ashkan, and Julian.
DShaw, Node.js Engineer
Technically speaking, what makes Voxer a unique app?
The unique blend of live and asynchronous communication is amazing. I use Voxer to communicate with my friends, family and co-workers in realtime when that’s most convenient and time-shifted when it’s not. If my wife or I are overseas, we’re often 9 hours apart and it’s hard to find time to communicate live. Voxer works so much better. We can message each other when it’s right for us and respond when we can. Also, groups. Group communication is amazing. Heading to an event and getting everybody synced up is so much easier when everybody’s on Voxer.
How is Node.js different from other server side software systems? What advantages does it give Voxer?
Voxer handles an amazing amount of realtime data. Node.js is a perfect fit for I/O (input/output) intensive apps like ours. We’re a leader and innovator in the space and Node.js allows us to be nimble and focus on our code by being lightweight and staying out of the way.
Ashkan, iOS Engineer
What was your technical background / experience prior to joining the Voxer team?
I have a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science from University of Utah. Previous to Voxer, a few friends and I cofounded lolo (lolofit.com) in 2010, which is a mobile fitness company. All of us had worked on different health and fitness related products and services before, so we all combined our expertise and focused on the emerging mobile market.
What is the biggest technological challenge facing Voxer and its goal of continuing to be a global messaging service?
To be able to deal with a large number of connections we had to use some radical, new and somewhat unproven technologies. We think the technology we use is the right tool for this job, but with any new technology, there are uncharted grounds. No one else has pushed this technology stack to the limits like we have, so it’s natural to find cases where unexpected problems come up. We’ve made tremendous progress so far and will continue to improve every aspect of our system.
Julian, Node.js Engineer
From a technological perspective, what did you find exciting/intriguing about joining Voxer?
I was excited to join Voxer to get a chance to use cutting edge technologies like Node.js, Riak, and Redis. It’s also awesome to get a chance to use these technologies at such a large scale.
Technically speaking, what makes Voxer unique?
Voxer is unique because everything in our system speaks HTTP (Hypertext Transfer Protocol — the foundation of data communication on the internet), which is not what most people would imagine when transmitting live audio. Also, the way that our system is distributed using consistent hashing algorithms is pretty cool.