Choosing the Best Tech for the Project: Why Elixir Was the Winner

In December, 2016, Jeff Hart became President of Mike Albert Fleet Solutions, the first non-family member to hold this position in an effort to accelerate growth. Early decisions made by Hart and his leadership focused on aligning everyone around the client, designing operations to enhance the client relationship while accelerating investments in technology.

To start, Mike Albert examined their mobile experience. One group who experiences Mike Albert Fleet Solutions directly—and frequently—is the fleet drivers. Initially, drivers just entered their monthly mileage in a web portal and could search for maintenance or other vendors online. From Mike Albert’s perspective, however, it needed a true mobile experience.

“If you’re a provider of any tech and you don’t have a solid mobile presence, you might as well not exist,” says Brian Brown, VP of Information Technology. After all, more than 50% of all internet usage is now mobile. “Five years ago, nobody really asked about your mobile experience. But they were starting to,” he said. So they kicked off their customer experience reinvention by developing a new mobile experience for drivers.

What language will work best?

Another question to answer early on was which programming language to use. For this, Brown turned to his Director of Development & Infrastructure, Brian Bathe. Bathe said, “We wanted to build using technology that’s highly productive and doesn’t make it difficult to adapt or scale as products mature and become more sophisticated.”

Gaslight recommended Elixir, a newer language with the frameworks, libraries and development toolchain that make development and deployment much easier—but a growing language that isn’t yet an area of expertise for all dev shops. Fortunately, it is for Gaslight, which excited Mike Albert.

“The Elixir frameworks borrow a lot of conventions from established frameworks like Rails,” explains Bathe, “We have traditionally been a JEE shop, but I wanted our developers to experience new paradigms to provide an environment here at Mike Albert that attracts and retains passionate, energetic, and creative people. A lot of factors go into creating that environment, and being progressive about the technologies we leverage is one of those.”

There are a million reasons why we love this language, here’s a list of them. Gaslight has since produced seven projects in this language, and plan to keep going!

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