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Jan 18, 2017 | 4 min read


Behind the scenes of FABERNOVEL.COM

Julien Mession

Head of Innovation

From the end of November 2016 to mid-January 2017, the FABERNOVEL group redesigned its website. It took 1 week of framing and a 5-week sprint to get this – wonderful – result, using SCRUM and Angular2. Julien Mession, Head of Innovation of FABERNOVEL CODE, tells us about this adventure.

At the end of November, the FABERNOVEL group came to us with an internal need: rebuilding FABERNOVEL.COM, the group’s website. At that time, it was a simple webpage created in no time during the rebranding of the business units in May 2016. A landing page redirecting you to the websites of the different units. This new version aimed at displaying our different business skills, showcasing the diversity of our talents and gathering all the offers and business units in a same place. We needed to build a meeting point that incited contribution from everyone. It had to be user-friendly but not simplistic. With a specific care for design and SEO. In 3 weeks of development, tops.
“Just another WordPress Website”?

We usually are compelled to go for a WordPress website with a custom theme and get our webpage in no time. Because there is no time to lose.

But we could not miss the chance: an internal project with well-defined, functional stakes and a real ambition for design. We had to take up the challenge.

Angular2 has just released its first stable version and ranks ahead of the many frameworks redefining the approach to front end (Dojo, Backbone, Knockout, Ember, Vue, and React, among others). Beyond the exciting technique, it is mostly about strengthening our skills in the face of a market landmark: the JS stack is taking over the market in every field – front end, of course, but also back end, data, real-time and IoT, to name a few. And the minds of our young graduates have little space for anything else.

We agreed upon a mix of the most exciting technologies of the time: a Single Page Application with isomorphic Angular2 / Node JS and API-ized back end. 5 sprints later, we hope this V1 lives up to expectations.

Angular2 allows a fast ROI

The learning curve of Angular2 seems less steep than that of Angular1 in the long run. Just remember:

From www.bennadel.com

It is true that the beginning can be rough if you have get the hang of Typescript and Webpack. But once you are all set, the progress is constant. The Bushnell’s Law guarantees a couple of feverish all-nighters but they are worth it, because Angular2 is good enough to be read everywhere (as opposed to V1, this time, it’s true 🙂 ).

Angular2 is no update. It is a complete rewrite based on the feedback of years of hassle development on Angular1 and other recent frameworks. It is:

– much faster,

– simpler,

– based on standards (component-based approach, Typescript by Microsoft),

– and independent from the platform.

Independence from the platform is essential because it shows a radical change of paradigm: Angular2 is more than a front end framework: it is a software platform.

The code can be run outside of a browser. It introduces the end of the historical separation between “mobile” and “web”. When you design application software, you design it natively for all supports.

Besides, this execution capacity on the server side is very useful:

– The pages thus generated can be read by search engines (Alright, Google can interpret Javascript, too, but it is much less predictable).

– Internet users directly see the requested page, without the browser building it. You save valuable milliseconds.

Universal Angular to reduce time to market

In line with Universal Javascript, Universal Angular offers a very useful bootstrap to initiate an isomorphic project: it uses the code’s capacity to be run in the browser or on a Node JS server, for example. This bootstrap allows for a rapid lay-out of solid foundations for the technical platform with a continuous integration framework. You can save a lot of time, on the webpack configuration for example.

This recent project is constantly evolving. For us, the trickiest part was to insert in the header all the vital SEO data for a good ranking, but also for high-quality sharing on social networks using good Open Graph tags. The skills of our friends from Data & Media allowed us to check at all times that we were in line with the most demanding SEO standards.

Our technical platform is at the fittest

To be honest, these 5 sprints were intense. But all parties were involved in the SCRUM and it allowed us to mix learning and production with full transparency. V1 is encouraging and the backlog of V2 is already quite full.

We now have a complete front and back V1 bootstrap from which our clients’ future products will benefit.

Our next challenge is to develop more interactive software because our current system is mostly used for consulting. Future app projects will also benefit from these changes through Electron and Cordova. All the while, we will keep an eye on the promises of NativeScript. We have some interesting work to do.

Note from the group:

Julien forgot to tell you about the SCRUM methodology used to think, design and develop this website in only 5 weeks. For some time now, FABERNOVEL CODE have been designing their clients’ projects using these methods. And it works. Of course, it implies friction, discussions and necessary mediation. It also implies near-full availability on the Product Owner’s part. We will tell you about it in another episode.

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