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Job Basket gets new webcast function built using MongoDB

GuideCast provides access to a range of live webinars, chats and presentations

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Careers website Job Basket has launched a new application called GuideCast, which its developer Alex McAuley describes as “a hybrid of a forum and a real-time chat app” for jobseekers.

GuideCast aims to engage jobseekers by offering them advice though a range of live webinars, chats and presentations, alongside standard job listings. The interactive sessions are hosted by college and university careers advisers, as well as recruitment consultancies.

“The trouble with current job sites is they are very in-the-door, out-the-door, and you are always trying to refresh your candidate base,” McAuley told Techworld. “If you have something like this, the candidates will stick around on the site.”

McAuley, who is also the co-owner of Job Basket, developed the software using the free open source NoSQL database MongoDB, which he claims is a lot faster than some other database technologies because it is schemaless.

“I've been developing in Mongo for around two years now and I just won't touch SQL,” said McAuley. “Querying is very fast and I just know how to write efficient code using it.”

As well as MongoDB, the GuideCast platform is built around Redis, Node, Solr and Nginx. There is a Flash element that interacts with the webcam, so rather than using Wirecast or Flash Media the user can simply turn on their webcam and become a presenter straight away.

There is also a live real time chat function, as well as document “push-in” via Socket.IO with Node. This means that a presenter can upload a document directly into the GuideCast, and it will appear on everyone else's screen.

“So the presenter might say here's a free PDF on interview techniques or here's a nice diagram, and they can just download it directly there and then, or it's stored in the archive of the GuideCast if they want to go back to it in the future.”

One of the features that McAuley has built is a forum that allow jobseekers to discuss the contents of webcasts. He said that if he was to write the forum in SQL it would take two to three months but, using MongoDB, he was able to write it in just five days.

“I’m a speed freak, I like things to be fast and I really don’t like inefficient code,” he said. “I want to build an app that can easily deal with 10,000 queries a second without spending thousands of pounds on servers and MongoDB lets me do just that.”

McAuley said he would encourage people to move away from the current trend of frameworks that are tied to a database like SQL or MySQL and think outside the box.

“Just think about how you can write stuff in a document store where you're not bound by a schema. If your whole application is bound to a schema, it becomes an absolute nightmare to change down the line. With Mongo, if you want to scale it width-wise, you just add another node.”

McAuley is now working on another iteration of GuideCast, which allows employers to interview prospective candidates via a live one-on-one video chat.

“We're always looking for ways to add stuff to the site to be different from other job sites, because we want to change recruitment,” he said. “If new technology becomes available I want to be on the bleeding edge of it.”


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