Building an application on a blockchain is a real challenge for developers who are seeking to leverage the power of the decentralized Web. With that in mind, dfuse is inviting experienced developers to share their journey of building these next-generation dapps. Continuing this series, we are pleased to speak with Nelson Hernandez, Director of Operations at Sense and one of the early users of the dfuse API.
Could you introduce yourself?
I’m Nelson Hernandez, a New York native currently hailing from Vietnam. I started software development after graduate school in 2010. My first gig was a Ruby on Rails CMS for a small company.
From there, I went to work as a front end developer for Onelogin, an identity management company. We were small – only about 10 people at the time – and after about a year of mostly front end development, I fell in love with system operations.
That’s one of the benefits in joining technology companies when they are small and cutting edge – you get a lot of exposure and opportunities that otherwise wouldn’t cross your path. I went on to build an operations team at Earnest, a traditional fintech company.
I missed the day to day work of automating systems though, and a lot of excitement had left the traditional fintech industry at the time. That’s when I joined Sense. I think what we are doing with blockchain technology is cutting edge and finally interesting again.
What is the vision of Sense?
We’re building a privacy focused, decentralized, video and text chat messenger. Sense Chat allows users to securely and privately have conversations, with no servers storing user data in between. We currently have an iOS beta program that folks can try out. And for those whom wish to pre-order the app (it will be a free app, promise), they can do so here.
What are the main challenges when developing on a blockchain?
From a systems admin perspective, the amount of data that a blockchain history produces is fairly significant and managing that data can be quite a challenge.
We have worked hard not to have to compromise as we want our users to have a stellar experience with our product.
I’ve had some epic threads on GitHub and other chat channels where community members contributed their first-hand real life experience managing the EOS blockchain data. Having confirmation that our pain points weren’t unique let us know we are digging in the right trench, and often community members have already solved the issue and were able to share their solutions directly.
Taking advantage of our partner relationships, such as with dfuse, and leveraging the public EOS infrastructure has greatly helped us in maintaining our vision’s integrity while reducing our on-prem workload.
Will it be obvious to a user that they are on a blockchain?
We here at Sense firmly believe that blockchain technology should be additive to a users experience, not detract or deter usage. We have been re-evaluating our product at each step of development in order to identify areas of friction and then tackling them one by one. By the time of our first release, we hope new users will be intrigued by the blockchain benefits and find EOS to be a very user friendly platform.
What advice would you give to a developer who wants to build a project on blockchain?
I have found a lot of value in both sharing and collecting information from public forums like GitHub and other developer communities has helped tremendously. Blockchain developers are by far one of the friendliest tech communities to be a part of. I highly encourage others to reach out and leverage the collective work of the EOS community. Doing so can speed up your time to market significantly.
If anyone would like to get in contact with the Sense Team, our engineers can often be found hanging out in the channels below. We’re always happy to discuss challenges and solutions which have worked for us along the way.
If you are a developer and want to share your experience to build on the blockchain, please feel free to contact us. We would be happy to integrate your interview in our series “In the Eyes of a Blockchain Developer”.