Post+Beam's MongoDB-powered innovation factory

When your business is innovation, throttling creativity with rigid, upfront schema design is a recipe for frustration. It’s therefore not surprising that Post+Beam, an innovation and communications “factory,” turned to MongoDB to enable rapid development. Part startup incubator, part branding and communication agency, part development firm, Post+Beam takes ideas and turns them into products.

Post+Beam’s first MongoDB-based product is Linea, a cross-platform photo browsing application that extends from web to mobile and enables users to create and share stories through photos, focusing on the photos and the collaboration around them, not photo storage.

In talking with lead engineer Jeff Chao, he mentioned MongoDB’s dynamic schema as a primary reason for using the NoSQL database:

The most important reason for using MongoDB from the start is rapid development. We wanted to spend just enough development time in spec’ing out a schema so we could get started on writing the application. We were then able to incrementally adjust the schema depending on various technical and non-technical requirements.

Another reason for choosing MongoDB is because of its default data representation. We were able to build out an API to allow iOS clients to interact with our web service via JSON.

This is particularly interesting given that Post+Beam’s development team has extensive relational database technology. According to Chao, MongoDB’s documentation and community support” made it easy to get up-to-speed. The initial set-up consists of a three-node replica set (for automatic fail-over), all running in one cluster on Amazon EC2.

While the team continues to use Postgres for some transactional components of the Linea app, it needed MongoDB’s flexible data model to support its business model, which demands continuous iteration

Which, of course, is how innovation happens.

Chao noted that Post+Beam plans to expand its use of MongoDB, particularly for those applications that “require a relatively short delivery time combined with requirements that might not be fully matured at the time of the [client] request.”This sounds like most applications, most of the time, in most enterprises.

Indeed, this is one of the primary reasons we see for MongoDB’s mass adoption. As our friends at MongoLab say, “It’s a data model thing.”

Tagged with: data model, Post+Beam, case study, Linea, innovation, flexibility, replica sets, ease of use