Supporting Millions of Rewrites in Nginx with Lua and Redis

About a year ago, I was tasked with greatly expanding our url rewrite capabilities. Our file based, nginx rewrites were becoming a performance bottleneck and we needed to make an architectural leap to that would take us to the next level of SEO wizardry.

In comparison to the total number of product categories in our database, Stylight supports a handful of “pretty URLs” – those understandable by a human being. Take http://www.stylight.com/Sandals/Women/ – pretty obvious what’s going to be on that page, right?
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Ideation Camp @ STYLIGHT

Three months ago, we had our first ShipIt day in the Product and Engineering departments of STYLIGHT. Employees had the chance to work on anything that relates to our products, and deliver it during ShipIt Day, our 24-hour hackathon. We created teams, everyone felt energized and motivated, and the results were pretty fascinating.

That sparked our interest in posing a similar challenge for the entire company, in order to create an open space to bring ideas, criticism, and feedback. In the first Ideation Camp at STYLIGHT,  we followed the approach of Design Thinking to leverage on the multi-disciplinary, international staff we have and to show them methods to shape their ideas.

Design Thinking is a methodology that helps you solve problems like a designer. It emphasizes empathy building, problem framing, ideation, and validating potential solutions.

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Why work at STYLIGHT

The other day I was to re-vamp our job ads for engineers. One part is to inform and appeal possible candidates about STYLIGHT. I wanted to provide arguments to “why work at STYLIGHT?”. Being a co-founder a might have different answers than my fellow STYLIGHTers. I believe  authentic reasons are the strongest, so I just went ahead and asked them (anonymously).  Here’s what they responded (I grouped them and fixed typos):

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STYLIGHT ShipIt day

Last week we had our first ShipIt day at the STYLIGHT IT department. It’s a 24h hackathon where you can work on your own ideas to improve the product or workflows. Get creative, get radical, learn something new & have fun. Do stuff you normally don’t have time for or is not your responsibility. Team up and pitch the outcome on the next day. Here is a quick overview of our projects: Continue reading

IE-friendly mobile-first CSS with LESS

With the last big design adaptions of the STYLIGHT homepage, we finally committed to go completely mobile-first in our design & development process. Starting with Sketch files, over prototypes, to CSS & JS –  the mobile viewport is always the starting point. It helps to focus on the core of your products and delivers more benefits! Nevertheless, it also introduces some issues if you want to support a good experience on legacy browsers like IE8. Continue reading

Developer Conference Hamburg 2013

flight

From the 7.-8. of November the well known Developer Conference in Hamburg took place, with more than 120 speakers. The talks covered a big range from frontend to backend and also marketing specific topics. So a small delegation of our STYLIGHT engineers packed their bags, left behind their beloved alps and travelled to the north of Germany with two talks in the luggage. Continue reading

Continuous Integration Tightens the Feedback Loop

This week ushers in our first CI (continuous integration) server at Stylight. With almost 300 tests running, we want to ensure the feedback process from end-user to developer is as automatic and fast as possible. Just how fast? How does under three minutes sound? We achieved this using a variety of tools, platforms and web services. If you’ve never heard of Jenkins, Selenium or HipChat read on for a short introduction to how we joined them together to build and deploy a high-quality website even faster!
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The blog about the technical challenges and solutions of STYLIGHT