This week’s Spotlight comes to you from Salt Lake City area! If you haven’t heard about it, you probably will soon. A lot of programming talents are based in and around SLC and we are excited to bring you this interview with Douglas Ireland of MyTeamsBetter. So, let’s dive right it!
Hey, Douglas. So are you originally from SLC?
Actually, no. I was born and raised on a farm and ranch in Martin, South Dakota. It is a very small town and my graduating class had 39 kids in it. It was there that my dad taught me a good work ethic that has helped shape me into who I am today.
Not too often that you hear of programmers being from the country. That’s cool though! Where are you based now?
Today I live in Layton, Utah, which is just north of Salt Lake City.
What's your background?
I received my Bachelor's degree from BYU-Idaho in Information Systems. Their IS program was very Java centric and I have been doing Java ever since.
I started out at a small company named AMX International building a utilities application. My next job was with Fidelity Investments as a contractor working on the fidelity.com home page. Most of my career has been with my current company CVS Caremark (used to be RxAmerica) working on web based Medicare/Medicaid drug formulary tools. The application I am the tech lead over uses EJBs, JSF, JMS, and JDBC and it runs on Glassfish and Oracle. In my spare time I created MyTeamsBetter.com which is a college football team comparison website. I built this using GWT, Spring, Hibernate, and Quartz and it runs on Tomcat and MySQL.
Can you tell us a little more about MyTeamsBetter?
MyTeamsBetter.com is a website for the college football fan. It allows you to easily compare side-by-side any two college football teams. You can compare statistics, schedules, and rankings. The application is customizable in that you can select your favorite teams, sign up for weekly emails with the comparisons for your team and their opponent that week, and even create any number of different stats views in which you can select which stats are important to you.
Fans can do various comparisons using different scenarios of statistics such as only viewing statistics from common opponents or comparing home game statistics to the other team's away statistics, etc. You can also choose any of the 85 different stats and view the rankings for all 124 teams. This can also be filtered by game location (home, away, or neutral). The website is integrated with various social networking sites to allow a little kind hearted trash talking.
There is also an iPhone app called MyTeamsBetter which is basically a native iPhone app version of the website with the UI modified to fit nicely on an iPhone screen and it also has better Twitter and Email integration. It uses web services hosted on MyTeamsBetter.com to get its data.
You can see the iPhone app here.
How has Jelastic worked for you?
For the most part I have enjoyed using Jelastic. The UI to deploy and maintain the application could not be made any easier. I couldn't believe how easy it was to get my website up and running on the Cloud using Jelastic. What I like most is the automatic vertical scaling, which means I don't have to worry about my app slowing down if all of a sudden there is a big jump in traffic. My only complaint is there have been a few times where my app has been down due to hardware and server issues. Most of these were while Jelastic was still in beta so I guess I can't complain too much.
Yeah. I’m glad that we have ironed that out. Thanks for working through that with us. So what are your plans for the future with respect to your application?
I have a laundry list of small enhancements, which I would like to do such as getting pre-2008 stats, adding two or three more stats, and adding a Top 25 option to the drop downs. A larger idea I would like to do is add a pickem' pool where users can compete against each other in trying to predict winners and which team will cover the spread. Then there is always venturing out including NFL or doing other sports.
As the one who loves football, I could totally see myself using that for the NFL. Tell me, how has Java affected your life?
Java has affected a huge part of my life as I have been immersed in it for the last 10 years. I love the flexibility it gives you in that there are so many great options of frameworks and application servers to choose from. It never gets dull because there is always something new to learn.
Any favorite hobby?
Watching college football...shocker! Love watching and following my BYU Cougars and Michigan Wolverines.
What would you say that you like most about your work?
I enjoy being able to start from an idea and being able to take that idea, work with it, and create something better than what the original idea has been. Creating added value is something I take a lot of pride in.
Do you have a favorite website?
MyTeamsBetter.com...did you really have to ask?!?
LOL – guess I should have guess that. Last question, do have a philosophy by which you live by and use to make tough decisions?
When I run into a bind I look to God and seek his help. Until I receive that extra bit of inspiration I need to continue on. I'm grateful to see his hand in my life.
Great answer. Well, that’s the end! Thanks for your time, Douglas.
Be sure to check in next Friday for our next Spotlight!