Digital Labour – automate your business with bespoke web applications
Bespoke web applications that act as our own robot army
Contra builds bespoke web apps that we use internally to streamline our business and automate processes that typically require person power. We are proud of our inventions and continually invest in tuning and refining them.
We do this for lots of reasons:
- We would much rather invent something than do a repetitive task. It keeps us sharp and allows us to practise what we preach.
- Humans make mistakes, building autobots to perform tasks allows us to repeat processes and ensure consistency.
- A bot can do the work faster.
- We can scale the process more easily.
- We can be more competitive.
A great example of this is around our auto-update-bot…
Our bespoke system continuously checks each of our clients websites that we have built and maintain to see if there are any updates pending to the core or any plugins/modules. If it finds any it will download it to a separate copy of the site (not the live one), perform the update and commit the changes into version control (the system we use to track changes and revisions in each of our clients sites). It then creates a task in our studio management system which automatically schedules time for one of the developers to manually check the site (often updates come in batches so we group them together unless they are zero day security updates).
We keep a record of each update and any issues discovered so that subsequent updates can be cross-referenced and we can ensure the maximum uptime of each site. When we’re ready to deploy to the live site, our system takes backups of the live database and automatically applies the update to the live server. The developer then checks it all again for good measure.
Simple… Each part of the process that can be automated has been with ‘people power’ being placed where it is best served and no compromises made!
A real world example for a client…
One that comes to mind is an application we created that facilitates and coordinates the collection of TAX rates across the globe, manages the QA and validation steps and publishes the results in interactive charts for one of the BIG FOUR accountancy firms (we are not allowed to say who). Without this application it was impossible for them to systematically approve and check the information they were publishing reliably and meant they were too heavily reliant on email and people’s ability to input data correctly.