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Technology at Wholeschool

The team at Wholeschool are passionate about technology, with a diverse team with skills ranging from multimedia and design, software development, VLE experts, web content authors, and everything in between.

We are passionate advocates of embracing both Open Source and Proprietary software to tailor solutions to meet the needs of our clients. Moodle has been at the core of our VLE offering for many years and we have built expertise in integrating with college MIS systems, identity management systems including Office365, and have supported a range of installations from small hosted solutions through to high availability private cloud or full AWS configurations.

Our web and content team also have considerable expertise in building high quality websites and mobile applications, having developed in excess of 800 sites over the past 15 years and more recently on target for the launch of our 40th mobile application. You can view a showcase of our websites here

Complementary to our Web and Content authoring expertise, we also have media experts delivering video and audio content using the latest Adobe suite.

Our full green-screen capabilities along with broadcast quality cameras and expertise in the Adobe suite enable us to create world class multimedia experiences.

Our Wholeschool Education Platform-as-a-service offering a range of integrated services (including school improvement/compliance and curriculum planning) has been running in schools for almost a decade, with our School Development Planning service fully licensed for all schools in Northern Ireland as part of the Education Network. Our current production stack is closely aligned with the traditional Microsoft eco-system building upon the .Net Framework, SQL Server and Asp.Net Webforms.

The software engineering team have recently embarked on an exciting new journey with the development of our new ‘cloud native’ platform (codename ‘Aurora’) that we believe will offer a unique eco-system with an exciting mix of apps and services for our education community. This will offer a new home for our existing suite of software services as well as open up a new world of possibilities in terms of delivery of modern powerful apps and services.

The software development team have taken this as an opportunity to embed modern best practices for Agile software development including use of techniques to allow automated building, testing, and deployment of our software, known as Continuous Delivery (or CI/CD). We have adopted GitHub as the home of our software codebase and have made extensive use of its Kanban boards, issue trackers, and Wiki pages to help manage our software development lifecycle. Azure Pipelines is our choice of technology for Continuous Integration and Deployment having recently migrated from Jenkins.

With our current stack based upon the Microsoft .Net Framework the natural progression for our new platform was to the new cross-platform .Net Core, the latest software development framework from Microsoft allowing us to build modern, fast and scalable web applications.

Our experience in .Net reaches back to the initial beta release of the .net Framework in 2001, with code starting out entirely in VB.Net and later transitioning to C#,  and has come full circle with the team embracing .Net Core from the beta stages in 2015.

The landscape has changed dramatically from the intial .Net Framework launch at the turn of the century, and Open Source technology has emerged to become a standard way of life for modern developers. Following this paradigm shift, Wholeschool’s new platform is developed entirely on Open Source software, with many projects from the .Net Foundation at the heart of our codebase, along with the introduction of many new technologies such as Asp.Net Core, Angular, PostgreSQL, Docker, Kubernetes and during this process we have adopted programming languages such as Javascript, Typescript and Python along the way.

We employ a culture of continuous learning and improvement at Wholeschool and at the heart of this is enabling our staff with the tools to learn the skills they need on-demand via the outstanding Pluralsight library and we even have a Pluralsight author in our ranks, having authored the popular course for IBM Bluemix

Our in-house expertise in Cloud Infrastructure spans Microsoft Azure, AWS, Google GCP and the offering from IBM, formally called ‘Bluemix’ however recently rebranded as ‘IBM Cloud’. Our Head of Development has presented at several workshops at IBM, Dublin on utilising their cloud platform including showcasing the exciting AI technology ‘Watson’. Click here to watch

Wholeschool speak at the IBM Bluemix ‌‌MEETUP, Dublin

We will continue to post articles from the different areas of expertise at Wholeschool over the coming weeks and months however if you would like to find out more about how technology enables and drives Wholeschool be sure to reach out to us!

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