Cake Solutions offers an interesting view into the decision process behind evaluating and onboarding new technology providers, and how those choices can improve delivery times, product quality and reliability.

About Cake Solutions

Formed in March 2001, Cake Solutions Limited is an enterprise software solutions provider that architects, implements and maintains modern scalable software, and provides mentoring and training services. The core members of the team are all published authors, prolific bloggers and have extensive experience with large-scale projects in Scala and Java. The Scala projects typically use Akka and Play or Spray, while the Java projects typically comprise the Spring Portfolio.

Cake embraced Scala as a core skill, recognizing its value in producing software fit for purpose. The advantages the Lightbend Platform provides in the software development cycle, enables us to work more efficiently and effectively, both in terms of innovation and speed to market.

Combined with its ‘fit for purpose’ design and toolset it gives us the perfect tool to take on future of modern application development.

Guy RemondCEO Cake Solutions

The Challenge

Cake Solutions strives to keep ahead of the technology curve by constantly evaluating the marketplace for products worthy of inclusion in its portfolio. This method offers Cake Solutions’ clients the very latest technology, which in turn equips their businesses with the technical advantage over their competitors. The Lightbend Platform is a perfect example of a modern tool that Cake Solutions implements and uses to offer clients this advantage.

The Lightbend Platform has enabled Cake to develop highly complex and technically challenging products very quickly. Combined with its agile project management competencies, Cake Solutions is able to get a client’s product to market very quickly when compared to more traditional technologies and methods.

Cake has strived to keep ahead of the technology curve since 2001, so finding the best talent in the marketplace has always been a challenge. Cake’s most recent task was to find new engineers and to train current staff for the Lightbend Platform.

With offices in Manchester and Oxford, Cake provides consultancy and software development services to a wide range of sectors with a focus on the financial, manufacturing and professional services sectors. Cake is currently working on Scala systems for a manufacturing company and several financial organizations.

As most of Cake’s customers are investment-backed start up companies, a late or non-functioning product has a dramatic effect on both investment pipelines and ROI - a late or non-functioning product cannot happen. Under the Cake Invest® banner, Cake backs a number of these start-ups each year by investing in the new companies. This underlines the confidence Cake has in its ability to deliver cutting edge, innovative solutions that bolster its clients’ technological advantages over competition.

Cakes measures the following metrics during its engagements:

  • Quality of code
  • Speed of delivery
  • Transparent project management
  • Team development

Cake Solutions works extremely hard to produce the highest quality software for its clients: not only in respect to the codebase, but also by striving to improve their clients commercial ideas through technical innovation. This means ruthlessly reviewing the teams’ work, refactoring and improving whenever possible. Cake shares much of its experience and knowledge with the community through frequent blog posts, open source projects, and the Open Source Journal.

Evaluation Process

Cake favors quality and stability over anecdotal evidence of best practices, and an open source and active community over commercial guarantees and closed source.

Cake is a long-time SpringSource partner and Spring Framework user; it evaluated the Lightbend Platform against Spring Integration, Spring Data on the Java platform, and non-Java platforms Erlang/OTP and Go. Cake felt that it needed to move to a more expressive language, but Erlang or Go were too radical steps. Scala offered the safety of the Java platform and allowed Cake Solutions to adopt the Lightbend Platform at its own pace.

Customer Deployment

Cake now has a deep bench of engineers proficient in the Lightbend Platform for delivering custom solutions to customers, consisting of:

  • Four core teams with 22 developers in total - with plans to 30 over the next 12 months
  • Four current concurrent projects - expanding to 6 over the next 12 months
  • Average project duration is around 10 months to release 2.0

Before using the Lightbend Platform, Cake used the Spring Portfolio; namely Core Spring, Spring MVC and Spring Integration together with their Java EE siblings. The Lightbend Platform made Cake consider asynchronous and non-blocking programming techniques well ahead of their wide adoption in the industry, allowing the creation of some breakthrough applications. Indeed, the Lightbend Platform has allowed Cake to take on complex projects that are not possible using more traditional languages and methods. The combination of powerful and unobtrusive language, and the flexibility of the frameworks that use the features of the Scala language, allowed our engineers to think about writing more complex software; software that they would not have attempted in Java and Spring Portfolio.

We have challenged our programmers to expand their knowledge and to adopt new programming approaches. This means that our teams have gained new skills and now see more of the computer science world that still lies ahead of us.

Guy RemondCEO Cake Solutions

The Benefits

Bringing the entire Cake team up to speed took approximately 12 months; at the end of that time the team was releasing enterprise level software solutions on the whole Lightbend Platform.

As a direct result of the move to the Lightbend Platform, Cake’s business has doubled its turnover in the last 12 months. Compared to more traditional programming methods languages such as J2EE and Spring, Cake’s clients have benefited from very fast time to market, where in most cases the first version of a solution can be delivered within six months. Cake’s ability to undertake very complex projects using the Lightbend Platform and deliver them quickly not only gave its clients a rapid time to market, but also a technical advantage. Cake’s ability to offer a full end-to-end service, from the greenfield architectural ideas, right through to a scalable and resilient version 1.0 release, and then go on to production ready hosting on cloud platforms such as Amazon gave its clients exactly the service and quality that new world applications demand. The Lightbend Platform has been designed with this in mind and gives Cake the tools it needs to remain competitive in this more demanding world.

Cake Solutions adopted the Lightbend Platform early on, which allowed it to become one of the major players in the marketplace. Cake Solutions is now seen as expert in large-scale, concurrent and reliable systems, which gives it big competitive advantage. Moreover, the advanced features of the Lightbend Platform push the Cake Solutions engineers to continually learn and share. The Lightbend Platform brought not only the technical advantage to Cake Solutions; it also boosted its team’s expertise, drive and re-ignited the passion for proper computer science.

Doing multiple operations in parallel, then pushing a message to you when everything has completed is simple, intuitive and yet surprisingly hard to do outside the Lightbend Platform. This kind of intuitive, human-like programming approach allows us to deliver true value to our customers.

Jan MachacekCTO Cake Solutions

Inspired by this story? Contact us to learn more about what Lightbend can do for your organization.

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