Sensational AG is the company I founded together with a collegue back in 2000. Ever since then, we had a very nice combination of fun, interesting work and a very successful business.

We’re a very small team - just four programmers, one business guy and a product designer. Me personally, I would love to keep the team as small and tightly-knit as possible as that brings huge advantages: No politics, a lot of freedoms for everybody and mind-blowing productivity.

I’m still amazed to see what we manage to do with our small team time and time again and yet still manage to keep the job fun. It’s not just the stuff we do outside of immediate work, like UT2004 matches, Cola Double Blind Tests, sometimes hosting JSZurich and much more - it’s also the work itself that we try to make as fun as possible for everybody.

Sure - sometimes, work just has to be done, but we try as much as possible to distribute the fun parts of the work between everybody. Nobody has to be a pure code monkey; nobody constanly pulls the “change this logo there for the customer” card (though, that card certainly exists to be pulled - we just try to distribute it).

Most of the work we do flows into our big eCommerce project: Whenever you order food in a restaurant here in Switzerland, if the restaurant is big enough for them to get the food delivered to them, the stuff you eat will have been ordered using the product of ours.

Whenever you visit a dentist, the things they put in your mouth likely have been ordered using the product of ours.

The work we do helps countless people daily to get their job done more quickly allowing them to go home earlier. The work we do is essential for the operations of many, many companies here in Switzerland, in Germany and in Austria.

From a technical perspective, the work we do is very interesting too: While the main part of the application is a web application, there are many components around it: Barcode Scanners, native Smartphone applications and our very own highly available cluster (real, physical hardware) that hosts the application for the majority of our customers.

When you work with us, you will have to deal with any of

  • The huge home-grown PHP (5.5)-application (its history goes back to 2004 and it has changed version controlling systems three times so far - from CVS to SVN to git)
  • Backend Jobs written in PHP, Ruby and JavaScript
  • Frontend-Code written in JavaScript and Coffee Script (heck, we were using XmlHttpRequest before using it was called AJAX)
  • Software for Barcode-Scanners written in C#, C and soon whatever we’d like to use on Android
  • Software to read data from USB barcode Scanners written in Objective-C and Delphi of all things
  • Puppet to manage our cluster of 5 physical and about 25 virtual machines (though if only I knew about Ansible when we started this)
  • git where all our code lives, some on github, some on our own server.
  • PostgreSQL which is our database of choice (constantly updated to be able to play with the latest and gratest toys^Wfeatures) and I love it so much that no day goes past where I don’t try to convert people over :-)
  • Ubuntu Linux which is the underlying OS of our whole server infrastructure.

The platform we use to develop on is everybodys own choice. Everybody here uses Macs, but whatever you are most productive with is what you use.

All of the code that we work with daily is home-grown (minus some libraries, of course). We control all of it and we get to play with all the components of the big thing. No component can’t be changed, though we certainly prefer changing some over the others :-)

Between the Cola tests and the technical versatility and challenges described above: If I can interest you, dear reader, to join our crazy productive team in order to improve one hell of a suite of applications, then now is your chance to join up: We need more people to join our team of developers.

You’d have to be able to live with the huge chunk of PHP code though as that’s too big to migrate away from, no matter how much we’d all love to, but aside of that, chose your battles in any of the above list of technologies.

Also, if your particular problem is better solved in $LANGUAGE of your choice, feel free to just do it. Part of the secret behind our productivity is that we know our tools and know when to use them. Good code is readable in any language (though I’d hve to brush up my lisp if you chose to go that route).

Interested? I would love to hear from you at phofstetter@sensational.ch.



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