Problem: location/maps APIs are inadequate for developers to build location tracking features

Over the past year, we have interacted with thousands of developers from over 30 countries and as many industries. These conversations have helped us understand the use cases that compel developers to build location tracking features into their products. Turns out, they are forced to build and operate complex location tracking infrastructure to make the features work.

HyperTrack APIs have been built to enable these use cases such that developers can focus on features that are core to their business and not have to worry about the infrastructure. In this post, we draw a distinction between location tracking features and infrastructure, and propose a better primitive to solve the problem. In the next post, we walk through the HyperTrack API framework and how the building blocks work for your use case.

Continue reading “Problem: location/maps APIs are inadequate for developers to build location tracking features”

Dealing with database transactions in Django + Celery

Celery is an asynchronous task queue/job queue based on distributed message passing. We are big fans of Celery and it’s an important part of our stack. As with any distributed system, Celery comes with it’s own set of challenges. In this post, I specifically want to discuss how we use Celery to push webhooks to our customers and the race conditions caused because of using database transactions. Continue reading “Dealing with database transactions in Django + Celery”

How APIs make build v buy irrelevant

A traditional distinction that often comes up for users considering HyperTrack (especially business users) is – should I build location tracking in-house or outsource? The thought process then moves on to whether this is a core feature in the product. If so, “we are going to build it in-house”, they say. If not, “we are looking to partner with someone to implement it for us”, they conclude and that usually means an enterprise-y application with customizations, integration services and operational roll-outs. Continue reading “How APIs make build v buy irrelevant”

Solving true time at HyperTrack

One of the major problems that affects the operation of real-time location tracking is patchy mobile network connectivity. Our users trust our SDKs by plugging them into their apps that are out in the big bad world. We guarantee uninterrupted operation of the app regardless of network connectivity. Our SDKs are built to be offline-first. Collecting and handling location data on the smartphone is resilient against bad network. As a result, it is considered to be the source of truth for all data including time – a crucial dimension for real-time location tracking.

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echo tech team geeks out with location tracking

As engineers we want life to be easier than breathing. We want apps to replace unnecessary (random) human interactions, bots to replace assistants, even swiping left or right over the awkward effort of initiating contact the 90’s way.  Usually, these thoughts find little resonance with the ‘others’ but here’s a use case where we finally felt accepted, understood, at one at last with those who think Calculus was primarily a Tintin character.

Every other evening, we’re out for drinks, or a movie or some other shindig. More often than not, one person in the group reaches the venue first and then either waits around thinking about the cosmos or for the more frantic kind, starts calling everyone else with the usual questions, “where are you at?”, “how long are you going to take?” and so on. This is usually frustrating for both parties – the one that needs to chill and the one that needs to be more punctual.

Continue reading “echo tech team geeks out with location tracking”

Using Adapter Pattern for Viewing Multiple Tasks

In a previous post, we talked about our end customer tracking experience. HyperTrack’s Android and iOS Consumer SDKs enable developers to implement a smooth real-time location tracking experience in their consumer apps. Until now the SDKs were designed to view only one task at a time on the map. And then developers at echo plans requested a feature to view multiple tasks simultaneously on the same map view. echo plans is an app for groups of friends to plan meetups. Check out their blog post to learn more about echo plans and how they implemented location tracking with HyperTrack.

We redesigned the Consumer SDK to enable the feature for echo plans. In this post, we elaborate on the design pattern we followed. UI elements on the Consumer SDK – map markers, info layouts – can be customized to fit into the theme of the host app. Our goal was to make the new code design extensible and comprehensible, and thus make the Consumer SDK integration easy for the developers.

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Rendering realtime list using Angular2

We have built HyperTrack’s dashboard ground up using angular2. Oh and we released a brand spanking new version yesterday that you should check out if you haven’t already. Our dashboard provides realtime visualization of geospatial data for business users. One of the more popular views is the task page that lets you track all live tasks being performed by the workforce. Continue reading “Rendering realtime list using Angular2”