Build It Or Buy It – A Developer’s Tale

By Andrew Gretton

Here in the development team, we’re always kept on our toes by the pace of dotMailer’s growth. (dotMailer recently passed the 10,000 user mark, and our user base continues to increase rapidly).

As well as adding new features, we’re all eager to trim down on the resources taken up by our existing code, to make your sending, segmenting, and surveying happen faster than ever.

This optimisation is something we managed to do in a really big way recently.

Because we’re an ESP, you probably think of us as an email sender – and we’re proud to say we’re very good at it!

But we are of course an email receiver too – not only do most email marketing campaigns generate reams of “out of office” messages, bounces, and replies – but we do get sent a fair chunk of spam too. One of our big challenges is to make sure you get all your replies, and none of the spam.

Until recently, we’d been using a great piece of software developed by another company – this handled our inbound mail very well.

Software development is constantly about the “build it or buy it” dilemma, and whenever the development team has a requirement, we’ll first check out what’s available already.

If we find a good commercial or open source solution, that’s great – it can speed up delivery times of the features you’re all requesting.

Several years ago, we felt happy that buying was the answer for this part of our infrastructure. As our client base has increased, though, it’s become clear that we needed a solution that could grow as fast as we are.

So we sat down and built our own.

And so the LIME was born: the Lightweight Inbound Mail Engine. This nifty piece of software performs the same task as the old one; but it uses only 5% of the resources, and runs much faster too.

All of which means that behind the scenes we’re continually developing a faster, leaner, meaner dotMailer, to make sure you can turn your campaigns around in double-quick time, and get fast efficient reporting.

All this, no matter how many thousands of your fellow marketers are using dotMailer at the same time!

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