UserGroup.TV serves up over 400 hours of developer presentations from 42 different groups and 215 speakers

Business challenge
Serving over 400 hours of recorded developer presentations to users around the world.

Solution used
Multi-site Plan.

Everleap customer story
Q&A with Shawn Weisfeld of UserGroup.TV

Shawn Weisfeld is a software developer that specializes in building applications and websites with .NET technologies. He created UserGroup.TV as a means to share valuable free content for the developer community. It acts as an online home for his recordings of presentations and events he attends, allowing the information and insights to be accessed by other developers. The UserGroup.TV site is currently hosted on our Multi-site Cloud Hosting plan. UserGroup.TV is home to over 400 hours of recorded developer presentations from 42 different groups and 215 speakers and is growing every day. We recently chatted with Shawn to learn a little more about his labor of love.

Everleap: Thanks for talking with us Shawn. Can you share how you got into programming?

Shawn Weisfeld: I caught the development bug young. As a kid, I toyed around with a bit of programming, however I really did not get serious about it until getting to college and seeing the power that software had to help people get their jobs done. I've been developing professionally since about 2000.

What kind of development work do you do?

My interests in programing are wide. I spend most of my time building web applications, but also enjoy developing for the phone and client and you might even catch me playing around with my embedded systems and robots in my free time. If there are curly braces and semi colons, I am there.

How did you get involved with the developer community? What do you do for them?

I have been involved in the developer community for many years as a speaker, presenting at numerous events around the country. I also ran the Orlando .NET User Group for a bit of time before moving out to Texas a few years ago. However UserGroup.TV is my current passion.

Tell us about the UserGroup.TV project.

After attending, organizing and speaking at community events for many years, I found myself at work the following day explaining to my coworkers about the awesome presentation that I watched the night earlier. After a while of this, I thought, "Wouldn't it be great if we could capture the content that is delivered at community events and share it online with the world?" That was when UserGroup.TV was born. We record, edit and distribute User Group content for FREE on the web and on your mobile device. This helps the community by getting this material out to more people. It also helps the groups and speakers, as it provides them a history of what they have done and exposure to a wider audience.

"Wouldn't it be great if we could capture the content that is delivered at community events and share it online with the world?" - Shawn Weisfeld, UserGroup.TV

 

What kind of technology do you use on the site?

The core of the site is a vanilla WordPress install. That said, we have a custom ASP.NET services back end that we use for automation and to deliver the WebAPIs to our mobile applications.

Why did you decide to shift UserGroup.TV over to cloud hosting? What were your goals and your requirements?

Since UserGroup.TV is my labor of love, we operate on a shoe string budget. Prior to moving to Everleap, we were on a virtual private server. It was expensive and required a lot of care and feeding. The last thing I want to do is install server patches in my time off. The switch to Everleap offered a chance to reduce the amount of time maintaining the site, freeing up more time for actually getting content up online. Our main goal for moving to Everleap was reducing the maintenance burden. However, after looking at the features offered by Everleap and Azure Pack, we got so much more than that.

There are a lot of options when it comes to cloud hosting providers, what made you choose Everleap?

I've used DiscountASP.NET for other projects, so I was already aware of you guys. Takeshi and the Everleap organization offered to help and support GiveCamp weekend events where developers and other technology professionals share their skills with charitable organizations – something that I am heavily involved in. So I thought I'd check out what he's doing with Everleap. My immediate reaction was, "This thing sounds cool!" so I decided to give it a go. Given the fact that UserGroup.TV is a non-profit community initiative for developers, Everleap offered their services free of charge. But I declined and I pay the monthly fees. I figured that if I can do something to support those that support what matters to me, like GiveCamp, then I will. UserGroup.TV is now one of about 10 websites that I have hosted with you.

How do you think you benefit from the new Everleap platform?

One of the key advantages over traditional shared hosting or VPS for us is the scaling option. This allows us to run multiple instances of the site on different servers in the Everleap data center, providing better response times during peak loads and eliminating the worries of getting stuck on a box with a "noisy neighbor," all by toggling a drop down box. I also like the more traditional purchasing model, where I have a fixed set of known costs, and the ability to scale out as much as I need. At the end of the day Everleap provides me the ability to forget about server maintenance and focus on my mission of distributing great content to the developer community.

We know that you're an IT pro, but have you ever had to use our support?

If I can't figure it out, no one can! All jokes aside, no I have not needed to contact support for the UserGroup.TV site; it is pretty simple. We did run into a hiccup with one of the sites we were building on Everleap for GiveCamp, but after a quick IM to one of your support guys, he pointed us to the proper WordPress configuration to get us up and running.

What does the future hold for UserGroup.TV, and how does Everleap play a part?

The publication of content on UserGroup.TV is manual and I want to move to an automatic process where contributors from all over can upload their own videos as a service to others. This way I'm not the only one publishing content. Right now, I record the presentations myself, so they are mostly from Dallas and Austin TX, around where I live. I may jump in the car to go to, say, Oklahoma, but the recordings are currently limited to where I physically go. I want to expand things beyond that and I really don't foresee us growing out of Everleap. In fact, I just got an email from you guys with information about advancements that will give us more head room. So I know that scaling will not be an issue as I continue to grow the UserGroup.TV platform.

To learn more about UserGroup.TV or to access their free content, please go to UserGroup.TV

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