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As an engineer who enjoys reading a lot, one of my favorite outlets for information-sharing is our team’s Reading Group. Every few months a group of us passionate Zalando technologists spend some of our free time reading the same book and then having weekly meetups to discuss what we read during the previous week. Since we launched the group in early 2014, it has become one of my favorite methods that our team uses to build community via knowledge exchange--a quality built into Zalando Tech’s DNA. Read more…

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Last week a group of Zalandos traveled to New York City to represent Zalando and our APIs as sponsors of the prestigious TechCrunch Disrupt NY hackathon. The Disrupt NY hackathon is an intense, one-day competition in which participants have 20 hours to build and present projects built with APIs offered by major companies. Our team helped hackers use our Shop Public API, which gives access to our web shop and allows basic operations such as searching for articles, categories, filters or brands. Read more…

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Here's a common user experience for Zalando customers: You're checking out a shirt on its product detail page. You notice the full-body model image, which features a complete look, and become completely distracted when you suddenly notice that the model is wearing the exact style of sneakers that you've been looking for! You can't identify the sneaker brand, so you try to use filters to find the correct style in our shop. After clicking through dozens of pages showcasing hundreds of sneaker styles -- unfortunately none of which is the one you're looking for -- you abandon your search. In the end, you've wasted lots of time and haven't bought the shirt, let alone the sneakers. Read more…

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The standard way to kill a TCP connection in PostgreSQL is to use pg_terminate_backend($PID). However, in some situations this function does not work. To help you avoid negative outcomes when closing such connections, here is a simple hack. Read more…

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Every year more and more of Zalando’s total traffic comes from mobile. Since releasing our first app in 2012, we've developed award-winning mobile platforms that deliver first-class shopping experiences to our +14 million customers across Europe. This post reveals insights into Zalando’s development approach to mobile apps – focusing on iOS for now. We’ll tell you about our Android operations in a separate post. Read more…

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Last week Zalando’s Bus team hosted an internal workshop on the popular source code management systems GitHub Enterprise and Atlassian’s Stash. Read more…

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Everyone likes to save money--and when you’re running a huge business like Zalando, saving money by making your systems more efficient can mean saving millions of Euros. That’s why I’m excited to tell you that the Zalando Data Intelligence team recently found a way to save us piles of money. In this post, I’ll tell you how. Read more…

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In our previous article, we described how the Zalando Data Intelligence team accurately infers individual item weights from the weights of parcels we send to our customers. But we didn’t share the secret sauce--the juicy details of building a Bayesian statistical model. In this article, we want to fill in these gaps and explain exactly how we constructed the model that got us such great results. Read more…

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Any front-end developer working on a large website will eventually face the problem of how to prepare and effectively deliver icons to users. There are few ways to achieve this goal. At Zalando, we have been using CSS sprites and icon fonts. Neither solution is perfect, but both get the job done to a reasonable degree. This article will help you to evaluate existing solutions and ultimately decide which one will work best for you. Read more…

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Packaging and deploying software has always been a somewhat important topic for both developers and system engineers. We here at Zalando prefer native system packages over language specific package formats to deploy software in a fast, reliable and consistent way. It is also a benefit to have only one toolkit for managing all (or most) software, by reducing the confusion between pip / npm / gem and apt-get / yum who is managing which files. Read more…