Monitive Platform Rewrite  —  Codename “Freyja”

4 min read
"Freyja" by Maja Topčagić

The general advice I’ve been receiving in the past few years is that in business, it’s almost never a good idea to rewrite the core platform from scratch.

Not even Uncle Bob, in his Clean Code video training sessions, recommends it. He says that if you make a small team that has the sole purpose to rewrite the whole product while another team is dealing with day-to-day maintenance and development, the rewrite team will never be able to catch up with what the daily activity of the development. And he’s most likely right.

However, I’ve decided otherwise.

The Monitive service that runs today was written mostly in 2010, towards the end of the year. I’m referring to the core of it. Along the way, lots of tweaks and features were added, but that’s when it was built. Back then, single page apps weren’t very far off, Laravel, InfluxDB and VueJS did not exist, and PWA were just three letters that didn’t mean anything to a developer. So, Monitive was built on Kohana, a PHP framework long-dead after a few years of being advertised as a better version of CodeIgniter.

Fast forward 7 years, Monitive is still working like a ticking Swiss clock, checking thousands of sites every minute, from dozens of corners around the world, sending out alerts, crunching data, sending outage alerts, reports, and last but not least, autonomously switching to a failover location if the main system fails. And most customers are happy with the way it is.

However, I — as a founder, manager and developer — I am not happy. The web has evolved since, and even though it’s still fit for the market, working as expected and fulfilling its purpose, I’m not happy with it. I’m that guy who, although aware that perfection doesn’t exist, still strives to achieve it.

Hello Monitive “Freyja”

That being said, a few months ago I’ve decided to rewrite the whole product from scratch, using the latest and finest in terms of technology stack, in order to provide customers with the best user experience there is. After seven years of running this business, and in all modesty, I can say that I have learned a whole lot more about what Customer Success is, about User Experience, about what matters and what doesn’t.

The fact that Monitive is currently just working and being fit for its use is also the reason I’ve never written a blog post about what’s going on behind the scenes. It just works, but there’s nothing spectacular in the back stage.

Therefore, get ready to see a brand new Monitive, built with today’s tools, for the people of today. A good salesperson is someone who can successfully sell a crappy product to a lot of people. That’s not me. I need to be proud of what I’m selling. And that’s what we’re building right now. And that’s why we’re building it.

And no, the new Monitive will not have a ton of new features, it will probably have only half of what it currently offers, since I’m aiming at delivering a simple, fast product that does one thing and it does it wonderfully: uptime monitoring. It will not cook you dinner, it won’t walk your dog. It will just bring you peace of mind, by keeping an eye on your online presence. It will bring you clarity, focus and hopefully — mindfulness. It will let you concentrate on what’s truly important to you and your business, leaving the unexpected to us. If anything serious pops up regarding whatever you’re monitoring, “don’t call us, we’ll call you”. Faster than your customers will. Because, even after seven years, computers still crash, humans still make mistakes, and you still want to be the first to know if your site is down. And I don’t see that changing anytime soon.

Transparency

One of the values we have and preach is transparency. There’s way too much paranoia in the world, people scared of losing their knowledge. That’s not us. Not me, at least. I believe that knowledge is worth spreading, and that everyone can benefit from getting smarter, better and wiser. If we had 1000 “Elon Musks” instead of one, we’d be booking holidays on whatever planet is our favorite color instead of choosing between mountain or sea-view. Everything around us would most likely run on green energy and the world would be completely different. But no. Instead, we have patents, corporate security, conspiracies, and wiki leaks. We have poverty, politics and religion-driven wars.

But, let’s go back to transparency and knowledge. Since any startup struggles with the ups and downs of the real-life, and since there are already too many books about the theory, I intend to showcase our progress. You’ll see what we’re doing, how we’re doing it and what challenges we’re facing… crystal clear. You’ll see theory versus real-life practice. Because behind every service, every product, every company, there are the people. Real people, full of life, with dreams and goals, with love, passions and hobbies. And we can benefit from sharing.

Because sharing is caring.

Photo by Maja Topčagić.

Interesting read?