Sloboda Studio Reviews
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Sloboda Studio is a web development agency offering complete Ruby on Rails development and consulting services to clients in Europe and North America.
Sloboda Studio is a modern software house using newest technologies like JS, AngularJS and Ruby on Rails. For our Customers from all around the world, we build web applications from scratch or develop existing products.
We gathered expertise in developing apps built on Ruby on Rails/JS/AngularJS:
- Finance news analytics (data science, machine learning, crowd curation)
- Booking systems (taxi and real estate)
- E-commerce (Full featured CMS and self-made shopping platforms)
- Gambling Services (Resources for players, poker tools)
- VoIP (browser video conferences)
Prospect Nauki 45b,
Prospect Nauki 45b, Kharkiv,
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Gustazosgo GO (gustazosgo.com) is the go-to website in Puerto Rico that empowers people to experience the best of life, giving them access to dining experiences, travel, adventure and much more. A trademark website owned by Social Media trademark, LLC, a limited liability company in Puerto Rico, Gustazos.com is a global relationships company with open markets in Canary Islands, Jamaica, Dominican Republic and Panama.
Gustazos GO allows users to discover restaurant offers, create parties and invite friends using a mobile application. Users can view maps with restaurants providing Gustitos (discounts), book a place in one of those restaurants, having pay for a Gustito upfront. At the venue, the claim and redeem amount spend for booking a Gustito is deducted from the user’s bill. Also, the user collects bonus points (rewards) to be converted into Gustazos credits.
CHALLENGES AND SOLUTIONS
The idea was already tested at other markets (hotels). The company has good reputation and extensive knowledge in providing similar services, therefore the client decided to try it with restaurants.
The application consists of API, web interface, and mobile application. Web interface allows users to manage merchants, locations, working hours, and different types of offers. API is built to be used by Android and iOS mobile applications.
Public Beta of the product is being tested by several restaurants to collect feedback and introduce possible improvements.
Sloboda Studio has developed the back-end part (API), the admin interface, push and SMS notifications. API is also used by Android and iOS applications. The main challenge in the project was to enable broadcast notifications, so that Admin could send the notifications to various mobile devices directly from the merchant app.
Boss Ranger (bossranger.com) helps poker players improve their ranging skills in the real game environment. Basically, it’s just like playing real poker but instead of deciding which action to take (bet, raise, call, fold), the aim of the game is to work out which hands you think your opponent might have in their range. For this goal, the simulator for guessing opponent’s cards was developed. It’s the first poker tool of its kind, it allows poker players to test their hand reading abilities versus other poker players. Boss Ranger allows players to practice guessing player’s hand ranges in a real game scenario. After guessing they will get an immediate result. Boss Ranger profits by charging players a monthly subscription fee, which will give subscribers access to the entire library of games.
Many poker players seek to improve their skill of guessing opponents cards. Our customer wanted to build a new tool that poker players of any experience level could use to train and thus improve their ability to use deductive reasoning to accurately estimate opponents undisclosed hands in a real game situation.
As an input, the founder (Will Weeks) provided very precise specifications and deadlines. Our goal was to rapidly develop an MVP so Rails stack of technologies was a perfect match. It gave us the ability to build the software quickly and won’t limit us when the application grows.
We built back-end part on Ruby on Rails framework, for data persistence we used PostgreSQL which was accessed by Rails’ ORM ActiveRecord. Front-end part relies heavily on jQuery library and Administration panel – on ActiveAdmin library. This is a fairly common stack for such applications and because we specialize in RoR, so we just needed to apply our knowledge and concentrate on specific business logic.
CHALLENGES AND SOLUTIONS
Our customer wants users to have the possibility to analyze any poker games they played before (including other poker sites). We needed something that would convert a text file with previous game information (copied by a player) into a graphical presentation so that players could train their guessing skills and improve them. We found a parser that was already written in .Net and then we turned it into an API, to insure its smooth integration.
The biggest challenge was the implementation of a module for scoring calculations. It was built to reduce complexity and optimize querying to the database.
Because Boss Ranger profits by charging players a monthly subscription fee, we integrated Braintree, a PayPal payment processor.
We also customized a ready-made Gem module for comments that would also allow upvoting, downvoting, deleting or changing comments, etc.
We used agile practices and continuous delivery to ensure a smooth and efficient development process. Every day we had short team meetings where we discussed the current state of development. The whole team was involved in the code review which helped us deliver a high-quality product.
On a daily basis, we wrote automated tests for all new features. This helped to prevent tricky errors during the development phase and made the codebase maintainable. Furthermore, we deployed new features as soon as it was delivered. This gave us a platform to get a regular feedback that allowed us to correct and adapt the product accordingly.
Aquinium (aquinium.com) is an online environment filled with intelligence games for people to train and sharpen their cognitive skills, whilst on the other, it is a powerful tool that helps gather scientific data in a controlled environment to facilitate research on individual magnitude estimation, wisdom of crowds, and decision making processes relating to trade on beliefs.
All games at Aquinium simulate the process of forming estimates about things of value using signals, and trading based on the subjective beliefs formed; players offer to sell or to buy goods given their estimates, and earn virtual funds based on their accuracy.
Members can either play against each other, with online users being matched by the software algorithm developed by Sloboda Studio, or play against AI agents, who base their estimates on the AQ model of judgment developed by Ulrik W. Nash, PhD.
The main idea of the project was to create a game platform where players can compete based on their judgment accuracy, and subsequently trade virtual resources to gain positive or negative profits. The players compete against other people, and against AI agents, and they are rated based on their performance. They can invite their friends, compare their ratings, and see their progress visually using time series charts.
Keeping in mind the double application of the platform, Sloboda Studio needed to provide a user-friendly front-end, while ensuring great stability and accuracy of the game platform, to facilitate proper collection and processing of players’ statistics for research. Moreover, an extensively customized administrative area was needed to run highly customizable games or experiments.
CHALLENGES AND SOLUTIONS
We started the project with the semi-finished MVP, built by the client, therefore we had to recode and refactor it substantially. Our experienced team-lead offered a viable solution to make the system more flexible and stable in terms of loading.
We wrote reliable scoring algorithms, paying attention to proper input and output data analysis. There will be a couple of game modes differentiating in the game process. But evaluations should be the same across each of the game modes in order to keep the data integrity and valid format for analysis. As we have to manipulate the data between users and store statistics according to data selected by users, we decided to implement WebSockets technology and use it in each game room by creating a channel for each pair of users and trigger actions according to the data they send. This approach proved itself to be much more effective than the alternatives, like long-polling.
For scores and game process calculations, we had to use advanced algorithms according to the client’s specification.
There are often situations in a game when a user leaves the game room unexpectedly, and in such cases, we needed to inform another user accordingly and prompt him to start another game. The current game session should be destroyed, as the data can not be used for further analysis. We solved this problem successfully.
Another challenge was to make the application as scalable as possible in order to maintain at least 500 game rooms, which results in 1000 players online, and playing simultaneously. During the stage of project planning, we noticed that this project requires proper and complex DB structure for storing relations between users and computer users, games statistics, and for making the analysis and results export as simple as possible. Therefore, we produced a highly organized DB with complex relations and dependencies. After that, the platform passed load-testing successfully.
For exporting and importing data, we decided to apply two approaches. First, we used ActiveAdmin as the admin side view. Second, we used CSV to batch import images. We developed a powerful, highly customized and detailed admin panel that not only has usual features, like downloading pictures of goods, but gives the administrators and researchers unlimited possibilities to create a game with practically any desired parameters, like playing only against AI agents, or people, and setting the skills of AI Agents. Indeed, as previously stated, the admin environment makes the platform a controlled environment for the research.
Working with the project that uses algorithms so heavily, we also faced integration challenges. We had to integrate the AQ algorithm for AI Agents into our Ruby project. We also integrated the Elo rating system known from chess. The ready-made module did not process player’ inputs properly on our platform, as initially, it used the Gem library. The integration of this standard module would require a cumbersome architecture. We therefore ultimately customized the existing module to ensure its smooth integration into our game platform.
Applift (www.applift.com) is a leading mobile ad tech company that empowers mobile app advertisers to take control of every stage of the app marketing lifecycle.
AppLift’s programmatic platform, DataLift 360, enables advertisers to launch their apps as well as grow and retain quality users from one interface. With DataLift 360, app marketers can programmatically access all major mobile ad inventory worldwide and control their campaigns through a single proprietary technology platform, which provides advanced data integration as well as extended targeting and audience management capabilities. DataLift 360 helps acquire and retain the most valuable users.
With DataLift 360, you can:
Access all mobile channels through one unified platform.
Monitor and manage all your campaigns simultaneously.
Choose from the advanced reporting options and targeting options.
Use audience management function.
Optimize your campaign performance by seamless integration of your users.
The developers of Sloboda Studio created a part of the dashboard, several modules for generation of demo data, worked on reports building logic and provided user alert notifications system to notify users of different events related to their advertising campaigns.
Before the beginning of the project, our developers got familiar with the client’s business to better understand the business model and nature of future tasks. They have daily standups with the customer to synchronize the work progress. They are fully engaged in the working processes and practices of AppLift (Scrum, continuous planning, code review, automated testing, etc).
Founded in January 2016, TikkTalk (tikktalk.com) is an open digital marketplace that offers interpretation services over video conference and phone conference on a number of platforms (web, Skype for Business, mobile apps). TikkTalk connects interpreters with businesses, governments and individuals, providing private meeting rooms with an in-person assignments. Anyone can sign up, prove their skills by uploading their certifications and get access to interpretation jobs worldwide. Governments and businesses can get direct access to a global pool of interpreters, sorted by language, certification levels, and ratings. TikkTalk is not just a booking system, it is a powerful platform that facilitates communication and business processes.
The project was called Skiwo. Recently, it has been rebranded to TikkTalk. We developed the platform from scratch. We started from the development of layouts as a trial, and then the team was extended with backend developers. Our initial goal was to build a Minimum Viable Product that would allow showcasing the most important features to the first users and investors. As with any startup, time was of the essence.
We started with 2 back-end, 1 front-end developers and 1 QA engineer, and got the MVP done very quickly, in three months. The application supports two types of users – Interpreters and Businesses.
Working on TikkTalk project, we use Agile practices (standups, retrospective, demo, grouping tasks into sprints, sprint planning) to ensure timely and efficient implementation of all project’s features. We have daily stand-up meetings to better coordinate our efforts and respond to any possible changes, plus weekly calls, where customer discussed the project with the whole development team. In general, we adapt our management practices to the current development requirements, providing continuous delivery.
CHALLENGES AND SOLUTIONS
The main challenge of the project was to make a user-friendly platform with simple and low time-consuming processes. We needed to take into account the many peculiarities of interpretation processes so that interpreters could work from any place they liked.
To make it all happen, we provided an efficient, reliable and highly customized solution. We needed to find a relevant video conferencing platform that would enable working with various hospital devices during interpretation. Initially, we tried to customize several WebRTC-based solutions, but, after our research and trials, we decided to use Pexip API as our Voice & Video Messaging system. Working on TikkTalk project, we often face a necessity to search for non-standard approaches.
Taking into account the nature of the business, we localized the project in two languages, Norwegian and English.
After the MVP, we started Private Beta, adding more new details. At the same time, our customers had a lot of meetings with interpreters and government employees to know their needs and build TikkTalk to address them.
MyPassPro (mypasspro.com) is a community manager and a social network sharing tool that launches targeted campaigns (newsletters and personalized content) to your network, tracks and measures engagement, and gives you a precise picture of your marketing efforts.
You can create mini sites for your company, manage your social accounts, plan your campaigns, autopost newsletters and unique personalised content to your potential and existing customers, selecting any date and time. With MyPassPro, social media will be at your fingertips!
We started the project from the meticulous analysis of the customer’s business model. Our first goal was to create an MVP that would showcase main features of the product. The MVP included the possibility to create an account, import customers’ contacts into MyPassPro, and link their social accounts, i.e. it had integration with social media. Now, with our Public Beta in place, each customer belongs to a vertical (initially 2 verticals, real estate agents and accountants, then at least 8 verticals are planned by 2017), supplied with a personalized content. Our customers have their own back office to plan and manage their marketing activities (sent newsletters and social posts), tracking the results. A minisite (business profile) at MyPassPro presents unique content and social posts of the company and helps them collect leads.
CHALLENGES AND SOLUTIONS
Creating an MVP always implies adding new features, based on feedback from investors and customers. To gain this so much needed flexibility, we spent a lot of effort preparing the best possible architecture for the product and succeeded: now, with our cleverly designed architecture that contains no hard code, we can add any new feature 2-3 times faster than before. It also helped us get ready for the scaling up.
Developing a community and content manager with such a huge amount of personalized content, we had to elaborate a wise scheduling. We deployed the best talents (marketing experts, QA, UX/UI staff) both in our team and in MyPassPro to prepare a perfect schedule for auto posts (date and time).
We also had to ensure a pinpoint accuracy of posts and newsletters scheduling, avoiding duplications of posts and newsletters both for any individual customer and among the customers in general. We have honed a scheduling algorithm that keeps the posting to the preselected sequence.
To measure the KPIs of the campaigns, we developed clean statistic tools that filter bots and provides true, accurate data from mini sites, newsletters and social posts.
CityFALCON (cityfalcon.com) is a 21st century financial news aggregator which provides comprehensive, relevant, personalised and real-time news feed for fundamental investors, powered by crowd-curation, social media and machine learning.
CityFALCON Score rates financial tweets, news and authors, using Natural Language Processing and E-learning. If there are 200K stories for oil, CityFALCON Score can give you the top 30 relevant stories, while its proprietary technology creates a different newsfeed for every person based on their profile, their interaction, and their preferences. Currently, CityFALCON collects and rates financial information from more than 100 leading financial sources, including Twitter.
CityFALCON is there to make investing and trading decisions easier, and its team is happy to support those who are still looking for their way in the financial world. CityFALCON’s customers are investors and traders, both professional and amateurs. The fintech start-up also provides services for corporate clients, who want to include CityFALCON’s API to their trading platforms.
Our first goal was to launch a new, improved MVP with a focus on clean and simple UX that would better demonstrate huge potential of this Social Media Aggregator. It was all started with a small team of engineers and a designer. We worked with Ruzbeh to outline our strategy and then got to work. Our server-side part was implemented using Ruby on Rails. This choice was made by Ruzbeh and the first version of CItyFALCON was actually coded by him!
CHALLENGES AND SOLUTIONS
When we started the project, the MVP was already there. Implementing a project with a preliminary MVP has both disadvantages and advantages. On one hand, many developers prefer building MVP from scratch to avoid working with a code written by somebody else. Such MVP might have legacy code and bad architecture that would create problems for scaling up. On the other hand, with MVP in place, it’s simpler for developers to understand ideas and user stories, especially when dealing with a complex fintech product, like CityFALCON.
Any project at Sloboda Studio usually starts with our meticulous analysis of customer’s business model. CityFALCON, a financial news aggregator, creates a new market. It aims to democratize the financial news industry and “Bring Bloomberg to the consumer”, giving all investors and traders an equal access to financial information. As any innovative product, it poses many challenges, requires flexibility and super efficient solutions. That is why, first of all, we had to master all the intricacies of FinTech field within the shortest possible time to better understand the nature of the project, avoid unnecessary amendments in the future, and build an efficient architecture from the very beginning.
We did our best to learn basic characteristics about financial assets. Working on this project, we had to think not only as developers, but, to some extent, as financial experts (or financial analysts). For us, it was crucial to get ourselves adapted to the business processes of the client, providing full-scale support to CityFALCON, concentrating not only on ongoing tasks, but on the entire product.
We use Agile practices (standups, retrospective, backlogs, etc.) to ensure timely and efficient implementation of all project’s features. Moreover, our client has direct access to all the developers in the team, and can assign them tasks himself. This partnership approach helps us earn the customer’s trust, maintains positive atmosphere, ensures rapid skills development, and keeps our developers strongly motivated while creating extra value for the customer.
We also work with the distributed team of non-tech staff from India, Israel, Australia and Vietnam, who help Ruzbeh with content management and marketing.
As we started the project with the already built MVP, we knew we would face scaling issues. As soon as first users appeared, number of records in the DB increased a hundredfold, and many shortcomings of the old front-end became obvious, combined with back-end rendering and a lot of asynchronous JS. To eliminate the scaling problems, we added several servers to the DB, reducing the burden on the main server. We also reduced the time for requests processing and the number of requests, added caching of the most frequently used data, and used a load balancer for the web-servers. We took measures to filter spam bots and block useless crawlers. Another solution that helped us avoid scaling issues was splitting the application into separate components (Enterprise API, web, processing engine).
Our solutions were put to the test during Brexit, when the number of DB records rapidly grew by 6 million within several days. We passed this test successfully with our product processing 100 articles per 1 second. Thinking mobile, we also helped to develop CityFalcon mobile app. It offers:
* Up to 10 watchlists with up to 25 financial assets. Your watchlists are synchronised between the app and web-version.
*2000+ financial assets – stocks, commodities, forex, indices to choose from, and the number is growing each day. Customise the news feed as you like – e.g.
top stories from the last day, latest streaming news, exclude/include tweets.
Founded in April 2013, Batte.re AG (www.battere.ch) offers the most convenient solution for people on the go to recharge their smartphone.
Users pick up a pre-charged power bank, charge their smartphone on the go and return the power bank at any other point of sale.
We’ve provided many functionalities to Batte.re, among these there are two tasks we would like to point out (point out suggested).
The first was he development of a logistic web-app that would track locations of power banks, purchases of new power banks and also identify those delivered to the storehouses. This app was also intended for accounting purposes – employees needed to assign QR (inventory) codes to every power bank and add them into the database.
The second task was to add several new functionalities to the admin panel used by Batte.RE employees, so that they could generate invoices from their database.
CHALLENGES AND SOLUTIONS
The project was quite simple. We developed the first app based on a code written in React.js and Ruby, and elaborated a relevant architecture. For the admin panel, we integrated a ready-made module auth0 (authorization) that connected the existing front-end with the Ruby back-end. We also implemented refactoring and fixed several bugs for both projects.
Ham Farms http://www.hamfarms.com is a family business website dedicated to organic products. It contains detailed descriptions of products and production technologies, various healthy recipes, blogs, and company info. Also, you can pre-order organic food from the site.
The customer wanted a simple website that would enable pre-orders, and would offer comprehensive information about the company’s products, growing and production technologies, and healthy recipes. The customer came up with a clear idea about the website structure and provided his .psd files. We had 100 working hours to complete the task.
We implemented the project on Ruby and also used Refinery CMS. Our team delivered the website within the specified time.
Outsource People is an online-platform that facilitates coordination and management of a specialized business conference for owners and managers of IT-companies. This IT event is held semiannually, giving key ideas and inspiration to CEOs, Sales Managers and anyone who wants to bring their businesses to a new level.
Our main goal was to create a full-service platform that would provide all necessary services both for participants (registration, payment, notifications, etc) and hosts of the Outsource People conferences (CRM, CMS components, gamification elements, etc).
CHALLENGES AND SOLUTIONS
Up to date, we have created 7 versions of the platform (one per each of the conferences, each obsolete version replaced by the most recent one). We started the project from scratch and developed it according to the client’s specifications.
One of the main challenges in the project was ensuring a smooth payment process. We had to take into account all payment systems used by conference participants and integrate them into the platform. We carefully tested each of those payment systems (manual testing).
Within the platform, each participant has their own private account where they can see a list of other participants, their contacts and tons of useful information pertaining to the event. We did our best to facilitate the registration process: if a participant faced any troubles during the registration and the process was interrupted, upon their request, the system generated an individual reference and sent them right to the stage where that fault had occurred. Thus, the participant had no need to restart the registration from the very beginning.
Apart from the payment issues, the key necessities of any event are interactive elements, greater flexibility and responsiveness to any last-minute changes. Therefore, we delivered a multifunctional administration panel that covers all those needs. These are only some of the main functionalities of the system.
Production of badges. Generating and printing out conference badges and packages (both individual and corporate) with JPEG to PDF conversion. Randomly generating team’s mascot images and adding them to badges (all participants take part in competitions and earn scores, all team members are selected randomly)
CMS and interactive components. Automated creation of subscription banners, possibility to upload conference programs, photos of speakers and participants, announcements and ads via admin panel, demonstration of team scores (gamification element of the conference), broadcast of twits marked with the OP conference hashtags with the help of sliders in real time.
CRM and KPI tracking components. Automated calculation of discounts (both for individual and corporate participants), set up of currency exchange rates, set up of deadlines for discounts and price changes. We also provided the possibility to conclude agreements for participation in the conferences (upon request of corporate participants).
Also, an OP customer can track how many participants bought their tickets from a certain sales manager, how and when potential participants were engaged (UTM marks), etc. With the help of our special billing feature, our partners have possibility to track all participants that used their promo code.
Working on this version of the platform, we had to overcome some difficulties with different time zones. The site is hosted in Ukraine, but we needed to switch it to the Poland time zone, as the current conference will be held in Poland.
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