Top 10 Engineering Developments from 2022

By Scott McKelvey, VP of Technology
Jan 20, 2023

The WebCE Engineering team is always hard at work behind the scenes solving problems, creating solutions, and delivering experiences for our users. Multiple times a week (or even multiple times a day) we’re deploying new product features or enhancements to keep up with the changing world and the markets we serve. 2022 was a big year for us, and we delivered a ton of value that our customers and teammates have used. In addition, there were many features that may not have been as visible but that were nonetheless particularly challenging or rewarding for us. Here are 10 of our team’s favorite features from the past year!

  1. Everyone who has worked in technology knows that there are always... “older”... applications lurking around in your organization. Earlier this year, we translated our very last MS Access database application into a modernized .NET solution, a project that was ten years in the making!
  2. In 2021, we piloted the initial version of a corporate “Completion Reporting-as-a-Service" product, and in 2022, we were pleased to give it a refresh with modern JWT-based authentication, an enhanced REST message structure, and an evergreen OpenAPI description file to help future integrators tie-in to our system.
  3. We love when we can “connect the dots” between different parts of our system to light up new experiences, and this year, we added corporate payment options so that invoiced clients can pay their bills completely self-service using a new, online admin portal.
  4. WebCE began as a product-based business, so in order to launch new “all-access” offerings this year we first had to evolve our accounting systems away from pure order-based calculations. Specifically, our model for author royalties had to be reworked within the scope of our author contracts to support end-of-term distributions based on student usage rather than point-in-time ordering.
  5. Our EXCEED product offerings had been hosted with a third-party vendor, and we migrated those to our in-house platform to unify the customer experience and better support and expand the products. This involved some fun deep-dives into MongoDB, xAPI, and wrangling a massive amount of JSON!
  6. We can’t do everything alone, and so our strategic partnerships are critical to meet all the different needs of our users. This year we expanded those integrations with new APIs (“pull”) and WebHooks (“push”) for real-time data syncing with several compliance tracking providers to make WebCE course data available in those external platforms.
  7. “Responsive” is one of core values, and one way that we live that out is by having our data organized and accessible in a way that allows us to see and act on behavior or trends. Historically we’ve managed this through SSRS and custom reporting systems, but this year we wired up PowerBI with a DirectQuery pattern to our database to allow business decision makers direct access to the information they need without Engineering in the way.
  8. We want our applications and websites to be as fast as possible for our users, so we’re regularly looking for ways to improve their performance. This year our biggest gains were using “Lazy Loading” for images to improve above-the-fold page load times and leveraging SQL Server Query Store to make database performance improvements site-wide. (We’ll have more on this in a few weeks!)
  9. We employ n-tier, service-oriented architecture for our code and applications in order to separate out elements such as UI/UX from the underlying compliance-based logic. This year we leveraged that structure to redesign our CE customer course experience with improved layout, collapsible table-of-contents and intuitive workflow. We launched this experience for new orders in December, and in 2023, any students on the old experience will move seamlessly to the new version with no risk of losing their progress or data.

And finally, for number 10, we launched this new Technology Blog! We’re excited to share information and insights from what’s happening behind the scenes day-in and day-out at WebCE. We hope that you enjoy it!