floreysoft brings companies, colleagues and customers together with Google App Engine

Only in the Internet economy could a handful of software developers and designers bring millions of people together from halfway around the world. That’s exactly what Hamburg, Germany-based floreysoft has done with its successful apps Universal Contact Manager (UCM), Shared Groups and SmartMail. Floreysoft’s apps have been built from scratch to integrate seamlessly into the Gmail and Google Apps user experiences, delivering secure, scalable solutions for contact management, contact sharing and email campaigns.

Challenge

The floreysoft team needed an app development and hosting environment that could support highly scalable and secure applications. “Privacy is very important to our customers,” explains Daniel Florey, CEO of floreysoft. “They don’t want to expose their private contact groups and customer information to just anyone. The fact that Google App Engine supports OAuth 2.0 and OpenID Connect out of the box and runs on Google’s highly scalable infrastructure made it a natural choice.”

Floreysoft’s success has already been directly linked to Google products, because floreysoft’s apps add advanced contact management functionality to Gmail and Google Apps. Due to this interplay, the company was keenly interested in Google App Engine from the beginning.

Solution

After a few Python-based proofs of concept, floreysoft began building real-world applications in Java on the Google App Engine platform. There was an initial learning curve as the company adapted to the highly scalable data models used by the Datastore Application Programming Interface (API). As floreysoft soon discovered, however, Google App Engine’s differences are what make it a more robust and scalable platform.

“ The features and functionality of Google App Engine really make it stand apart.”

Daniel FloreyCEO, floreysoft

“The features and functionality of Google App Engine really make it stand apart,” Florey says. “Its scalability, Java/Eclipse support, application monitoring and the simplicity of the development model let us give customers the features they wanted in a way they wanted them.” The built-in APIs available with Google App Engine enabled floreysoft to extend the functionality of their applications and provide a richer user experience. The OAuth API supports secure access to floreysoft’s apps through existing Google accounts, which provided better integration and ease of use for millions of Gmail and Google Apps users.

Since floreysoft’s customers prefer to manage their contacts in a single, trusted environment, the security and simplicity of a single sign-on were especially important.

Google App Engine also provides secure, personalized storage environments so enterprises can run an application like floreysoft’s Shared Groups in their own securely partitioned piece of the Google cloud, enabling them to manage permission settings and generate separate log files.

For floreysoft’s SmartMail application, customization was a key consideration during the development process. Through the Mail API, SmartMail can quickly personalize thousands of emails through a simple database link, or re-use snippets of text according to specific groups. Floreysoft also used the BlobStore API feature to quickly serve email attachments and images from Google App Engine’s distributed image cache. “The Google App Engine APIs have enabled us to rapidly develop a lot of exciting functionality in our products,” Florey says.

Results

The scalability of the Google App Engine environment quickly paid off, as floreysoft’s Universal Contact Manager product grew from a small number of records to many millions of records in a short span of time without suffering any impact on performance. Today, floreysoft’s apps power millions of emails and individual connections with a robustness that belies the company’s modest size. Reaction to its products from satisfied customers speaks volumes about floreysoft’s success: “Great product”; “Brilliant – works seamlessly;” “Wow!”; “Best product on the market.”

Google not only drives floreysoft’s applications, it also powers its technical support, sales and marketing. From the beginning, floreysoft has leveraged YouTube™ as its primary channel to distribute video-based tutorials and screencasts. The first floreysoft screencast has logged more than 30,000 views, and the company continues to load new content on YouTube and measure its effectiveness through analytics. Floreysoft also gets the word out through Google AdWords and sells its products through the Google Apps Marketplace and Chrome Web Store. The company even uses Google Docs to generate, track and monitor its invoices.

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