2 page Case Study - Posted 3/24/2010
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Interactive Design Firm Easily Develops Flexible Solution to Manage Media Assets
Archetype wanted to offer a complete platform to help customers manage their media assets more efficiently. It also sought to streamline deployment and give any number of users access in a scalable, affordable way. The firm used Windows Azure as the basis for the Archetype Media Platform, which also takes advantage of Microsoft SQL Azure and Microsoft Silverlight 3. By using the Windows Azure platform, Archetype improved the scalability, flexibility, and performance of its solution, which it developed quickly and easily.
Twins Luigi and Guido Rosso were writing code before most kids can read. Their father introduced them to programming in Basic on a Commodore 64 when they were just a few years old, sparking a lifelong interest in computers.
Guido still can write code for front-end functionality, although his attention now is focused on the artistic side of the user interface. He won a logo design contest for Diamond
||Using intelligently configured custom controls and externalized assets, we’ve pretty much created an application that can be entirely reskinned and rebranded by anybody.
Chief Creative Officer and Founder
Multimedia in the 1990s, which led to his first job as a designer. Guido has been working in the field of application and interface design for 11 years. Luigi is a deeply knowledgeable programmer who has been developing applications over those 11 years, after his first project for Quake 2. Even in his spare time you can find him developing video games.
The Rossos also jam together. Guido remembers, “Growing up, music was always a big influence in our family because of our dad’s passion. After we heard him playing, we were so impressed that we forced him to buy us two really simple acoustic guitars and we started learning guitar, clarinet, trombone, and bass clarinet. Since then music has been a really big part of our lives.”
Born in London to Italian parents, they grew up in locations all around the world: Malaysia, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Italy. “We’ve visited even more places than that, far too many to list,” says Guido, who speaks Italian, English, French, and some Spanish. “It’s an amazing experience for a kid, and it forces you to keep an open mind. It also exposed us to technologies (hardware and software) that we would’ve never had access to in other parts of the world.” Their first trip to the United States was in 2004.
In 2008, the brothers cofounded Archetype, a San Francisco area–based interactive design and engineering firm. It develops innovative solutions that make the most of the Web, mobile platforms, and emerging interactive technologies. “We have a very broad background in everything that is computer-related, from upgrading and building custom computer parts as kids, to working with 3-D animation, motion graphics, and video, to designing video games,” says Guido Rosso, Chief Creative Officer at Archetype.
“Luigi and I have worked together on a staggering number of projects for some of the largest companies in the world. We’ve written numerous technical papers together, we’ve written a book on advanced Flash user interface design, and we continue to study new technologies in our free time.”
At Archetype, the Rossos and their teams develop applications that help companies manage multimedia assets. “Many companies around the world have an abundance of rich media but do not have a single system for employees or media consumers to upload, search, browse, select, and publish the media in various formats and sizes, and to different platforms,” says Luigi Rosso, Chief Technology Officer at Archetype. “The Archetype Media Platform (AMP) solves this problem by bringing together all of a company’s media into one unified system that offers all of these functions.”
Archetype initially offered the AMP Editor and the AMP Portal, and it wanted to develop additional solutions to complete a robust media management platform. The obstacle was accommodating customers’ disparate systems, which meant high entry costs, time-consuming deployments, and pricing challenges. By using the Windows Azure platform, Archetype was able to develop two additional applications—AMP Manager and AMP Analytics—and offer the complete platform in the cloud.
Archetype used Microsoft software and services to build a scalable, flexible solution that was easy and fast to develop.
Scalable and Flexible Solution
“Traditional systems require a lot of infrastructure preplanning and usually more up-front server capacity built in to account for potential customer expansion,” Luigi says. Windows Azure makes it possible for companies to pay as they go for only what they need, providing a perfectly scaled delivery of the Archetype scalable platform. Guido says the Microsoft Silverlight 3 browser plug-in and Windows Presentation Foundation tools allowed the team to build customizable solutions. “Using intelligently configured custom controls and externalized assets, we’ve pretty much created an application that can be entirely reskinned and rebranded by anybody,” he says.
Easy Design and Development
Guido appreciates that Microsoft Expression Blend 3 design software works with the popular design tools Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator. “Our designers typically set up most of the layout logic, window resizing, front-end interactions, and animations in Expression Blend 3 before the development team ever touches the design assets.” It is fairly uncommon to have software designed completely in-house. “Most design agencies tend to outsource their programming, whereas many software companies tend to seek design agencies to design their interfaces,” Guido says. “We are in a unique spot of being a very strong team in both design and development, and a lot of that has to do with how perfectly complementary Luigi and I are in our roles.”
Archetype found it easy to migrate AMP Editor and AMP Portal, which were built on the Microsoft .NET Framework 3.5, from the Windows Server 2003 operating system and Microsoft SQL Server 2005 and SQL Server 2008 Enterprise data management software to the Windows Azure platform, including Windows Azure Storage Service and Microsoft SQL Azure. “We just recompiled for Windows Azure and everything worked,” Luigi says, adding that the development team “lives and breathes Microsoft Visual Studio 2008 Professional Edition and Microsoft SQL Server 2008 Management Studio. Without these two tools we couldn’t have gotten our solution built in the time we did.”
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Document published March 2010