Keeping Up With Colect - Tech Leads Jasper & Bastiaan About Vue.js Transition

In this interview series we’re sitting down with several members of the Colect team to discuss the latest developments in their field. This time around, our top tech engineers are sharing the ins and outs of the current transition to Vue.js 3.

  • Who: Jasper Schröder & Bastiaan Boersema
  • Title: Lead Engineer & Senior Full Stack Engineer at Colect
  • Since: 2011 & 2019
  • Previously: Stater (Mortgages) & Atos (IT)

In order to service clients better, faster and in a more durable way, Colect is in the middle of a transition to Vue JS 3: a modular system that makes the software more scalable and future-proof. Lead Engineer Jasper Schröder and Senior Full Stack Engineer Bastiaan Boersema explain what is currently going on at Colect’s technical department.

First things first, can you both explain a bit more about your role?

Jasper: “Of course! As Colect’s Lead Engineer I’m responsible for everything technical regarding the back-end systems of our platform.”

Bastiaan: “My role covers several layers. As Senior Full Stack Engineer, I am the link between front-end, back-end and design. I translate functionalities to technical design that works for both front and back-end.”

The transition to Vue JS 3 is currently a top priority for the both of you, can you tell us what it entails?

Bastiaan: “Yes, the transition has two sides: the front-end shops on the one hand, and the back-end on the other. The shop is what our users will see, we’re building it in Vue 3 and Nuxt 3. The other back-end half is all about info and data that run through APIs. Jasper and I are building the front-end part together from scratch, we are reassessing everything and trying to look at the Colect platform from a new perspective.”

Jasper: “Our product exists for over a decade now, it changed and grew a lot over the years. So right now we’re carefully examining which functionalities we have, what we can do better, and where we want to go moving forward. The data layer underneath will stay the same, but how we use that data and describe it is changing. This transition is a great opportunity to really take a closer look at everything and shape our future.”

Does this mean that some functionalities will change as well?

Jasper: “Not necessarily, functionally everything will remain similar. The new system can roughly do the same things as the current. The change is really in the technology that is being improved and made scalable.”

Bastiaan: “And made faster and safer, not to forget. Scalability, speed and security are the three core components we focus on. The new technology takes the growth of our company into account as well as the intensified use of our products.”

What type of system did Colect use before, and why change to Vue specifically?

Bastiaan: “Before, we worked with Wicked. The technical reason why we chose Vue is that we wanted to build the entire shop based on components. We are splitting up the website as we know it into small blocks. These blocks will be built independently and can be put together to form a whole. It really suits our client base that has many different wishes.

With the new system, customization becomes more like configuration; switching blocks on and off without touching the entire system, securing a stable and well-functioning shop that is easier to maintain.”

Jasper: “The new system also allows us to improve our level of support. Knowledge about this system is more centralized and widespread; there are simply a lot of people who know about Vue. It’s one of the newest and most advanced systems: a simple framework that allows us to build complex applications.”

What more benefits will this transition bring, specifically for clients?

Bastiaan: “Overall, our software will become more dynamic and responsive resulting in a smoother and better user experience. A more specific benefit: it will become a lot easier to roll out updates to all clients at the same time. Before we did a lot of phased rollouts to make sure custom built webshops wouldn’t suffer from unexpected complexities.

Another advantage of working with a more standardized base, is that clients can benefit from each other and become inspired. The new system makes it easier to share best practices, elevating the quality of the entire system together.”

Jasper: “Furthermore, Vue and the new APIs will ensure that web and app become more aligned, creating a more recognizable experience for both retail users and sales reps. We are including client feedback and client requests for our new design. And finally, we’re opening up our APIs in order to make communication with different systems easier.”

Looking a bit further ahead, what more is in store for Colect on the tech side?

Jasper: “We get a lot of requests for connections to other systems, like large B2C web stores for instance. This is something that’s definitely on our radar. It would be great to become more and more of a ‘one stop shop’ for clients. In this scenario, the only integration required would be the one with us. Then we can make sure all their product data is available to other parties.

Another development we’re currently working on is single sign on. This means only having to log in to the Colect platform and then automatically logging in to all other applications that are related to us, such as Paymo for hour registration and Binder for images. And meanwhile, security is always top of mind for us. We’re looking forward to continuing making Colect better, safer and more advanced.”

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