Geiz Dental: Webshop development
Geiz Dental GmbH, based in Leipzig, Germany, specializes in wholesale trade of dental equipment and supplies. The company has a small in-house team of php developers developing and maintaining its web shops.
Minds was contacted by Global Brands, a Bulgarian subsidiary of Gezi Dental GmbH, to provide external resources for the development a new web shop.
Minds gathered a team of 7 people for Geiz Dental GmbH to create a web shop targeting dentists:
- The entire UI, frontend
- The backend
- Performance optimization
- Mobile-optimized version
Project:Web shop targeting dentist
Geiz Dental had recently acquired a sector player dealing in oral care products and dental equipment. The client wanted to build a new web shop, incorporating the entire product range of the recently purchased company.
The existing php dev team was already overloaded with ongoing projects. In addition, the task at hand had some relatively complex technical aspects that required deeper expertise to handle.
The above, coupled with the client’s reluctance to engage in a potentially slow in-house recruitment process, were the main reasons why Minds was assigned the project.
The first phase of engagement involved on-site execution. Minds sent a senior PHP developer to the client’s office in Germany, for an initial 3-month training. During this period, the developer also performed the tasks and followed the business and technical processes of the client’s in-house team, in order to adapt to their work style.
Since the second step was introducing a remote team (in Bulgaria), the purpose of the on-site engagement was gathering as much information on the assignment as possible and keeping to a minimum the initial inefficiencies of integrating a remote team.
This led to a top-down approach from MINDS in supplying first the senior management, preparing the senior management for the long-term goals to build and manage a team, and then using the practical knowledge and skills gained during on-site engagement to build a team of 8 people in Bulgaria.
Upon the successful completion of the on-site phase, Minds recruited an eight-strong team, comprising:
- 2 backend developers with extensive PHP experience
- 1 frontend developer focused on HTML and CSS
- 1 UX and graphic designer
- 1 SEO specialist
- 1 QA tester
- For the web shop’s backend, we used Magento and Zend
- The UI was based on HTML5 and CSS/SASS
- We used AJAX, jQuery for the dynamic sections, and for the version optimized for smaller screens
- The Shopping Cart functionality included implementation of credit/debit card payment, using a 3rd party bank API
- The underlying product list, including all properties (price, category, manufacturer, sizes, colors, etc), was in a legacy Open Edge database.
- We decided that instead of transferring the data to a MySQL database, we will create a SOAP interface that will handle the communication with the legacy Open Edge database through secure HTTPS requests.
- As expected, the Magento-based front end had serious performance flaws. This required an optimization round for the UI rendering – it was heavily customized in order to load faster
- Prices of all product groups had to be updated from within a centralized UI. That was the reason to preserve the legacy database. By doing so, we avoided having to sync data.
- The above approach also allowed us to preserve another legacy requirement – the prices of some product groups had to be updated from within 3rd party web apps.