Auction4cars is a UK trade only vehicle auction website. It sells second hand cars that range from £50 all the way to £30k. every day around 500 auctions are open for customer to bids. It offered me offered a unique opportunity due to the entire application being developed from the very beginning by myself and my fellow Designer/Front-End Dev Andrew Ravenwood. Still to this day I would say Auction4Cars was my favourite and most accomplished project. Looking back at what we achieved, if taken on by a large software house it would have cost without a doubt well over a million pounds in development costs.
The project was a redevelopment of an existing website built from 3rd party auction software that had far outgrown its capability. It was too generic designed more for products rather than vehicles. It also didn’t feature real time bidding and countdowns, both desired features for the new website.
Auction4cars needed a bespoke auction website to meet its business requirements and improve its processes. The new auction system had to mimic the old logic, but as the original auction software was closed source I only had bidding scenarios to work with.
The Application was developed using ASP.NET MVC with Razor for the Views and C# for the Controllers and Models. It used a SQL Server Database and Entity Framework got the ORM. For the real time auction countdown and bid notifications I used JQuery AJAX and WebAPI services. The Front-end UI was developed using Bootstrap.
To get the auction logic 100% accurate in line with the documented scenarios I created over 250 integration tests. These proved critical to ensure the bidding logic was 100% actuate against the documented bidding scenarios. This enabled me to accurately recreate the existing bidding logic and provided a safety net for future code changes.
Some unique features of the website which greatly boosted business efficiency was the ability to upload a new auction vehicle from a mobile app. This made redundant the original process of writing vehicle details and damage on paper and then manually typing this into the website.
A later addition to the website was an integration with NextGear Finance allowing dealers to finance their vehicle purchases. Their API was a legacy WSDL web service returning XML. Once this was working and released Acution4Cars attracted a significant number of new customers.
This project is really a testament to how productive a small team can be without the bureaucracy and restrictions faced when working in large teams.