Daybees is a UK startup that embarked on a mission to build the world’s largest event database and search engine. At its launch in 2014 it offered information about more than 30 million events from over 10 thousand sources. It was also featured in BBC, Wired, The New York Times, and other media.
The founder of Daybees was frustrated with the availability of event information on the web. He envisioned an application aggregating all events, in every category and location - not just the mainstream ticketed events happening in major cities. It wasn’t just about finding events, but also incorporating them to an individual schedule with the help of the Daybees calendar. Adding, editing and sharing events, buying tickets, getting maps, avoiding clashes and finding out what else is happening around another event: Daybees aimed to help users build a calendar of events they could share with family, friends, and colleagues.
Daybees’ visionary mission set multiple challenges for the technical team. The first one was deciding how we would build and grow our event database to achieve maximum event coverage. We considered solutions such as Internet crawling, third party feeds, and user-generated content. Second, we had to process all the data aggregated from numerous sources to provide users with high-quality information. That included duplicate event detection, event merging and handling repetitive events which came in various combinations. Next, we had to serve all event data on a fast and intuitive web and mobile interface to ensure that Daybees users could find events they were interested in easily. Finally, we required a solid infrastructure with enough power to run our applications and serve the data processing work happening in the background.
After initial planning, the team made the following strategic decisions:
The next step was gathering two teams responsible for different areas of the system:
Both teams worked closely together for over a year to build, maintain, and grow Daybees. After the launch, three apps were running on the following infrastructure:
4 web application servers (behind a load balancer to ensure that more servers could be added easily in case of an increase of concurrent requests and connections),
3 database servers (master + slave + load balancing server),
4 Elasticsearch servers (as a scalable cluster for search queries and indexing data),
1 queue server (for long running tasks),
1 crawler server (where multi-threaded crawling and data postprocessing was happening).
most popular free app in the UK AppStore (Jan ‘14)
raised in funding
events in the database
crawled by 2,085 crawlers
people in the dedicated Daybees team
crawled event locations
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