The Great Galati

Nestled on the banks of the River Danube and twinned with Coventry (who knew!) Galati is a city in south east Romania and home to part of our core development team – let us introduce you…

Heading up the team is Sorin Decianu – with over ten years of experience in software development and engineering, Sorin’s expertise stretch over a broad range of languages, from .NET to Java and PHP, as well as expanding into a variety of databases including MongoDB and SQL. Software development is his passion – he loves creating products that can be used every day and even better when they’re fun too.

Next up is Paul Salaru – on graduating from Dunarea de Jos University, Paul has specialised in becoming an expert in Java and Java based frameworks and APIs, including J2EE, GWT, JSP and Junit. Having grown in experience in a number of Senior Developer roles, Paul joined Screach earlier this year and enjoys being able to transform all of the ideas from our team into a working reality.

Finally, meet Viorel Craciun – he has a strong background in Java, Android and JavaScript and has been in Senior Development roles for the last 8 years. Joining Screach to help us develop our ScreachTV network, Viorel loves how efficient coding can be and the challenges it raises by keeping you thinking – coding can teach you to think smarter.

We asked the guys to tell us a bit more about their experience of working at Screach… 

Why did you join Screach?

Sorin: I was very impressed with the product and could see it having a great future – from the first time I used the Screach app, I could see its potential and knew that it would a success!

Viorel: I like the idea of using the ScreachTV android box for advertising and fun.

Paul: It’s a great opportunity to learn more about Android and I get to work on projects that are interactive.

What is it like to work at Screach?

Sorin: I’ve worked at Screach for two and a half years now and it’s been a great challenge to take on! I’m able to learn something new and increase my knowledge every day, whether it be a new technology, exploring and debating ideas, or developing strategy – it’s a very positive role and leads to great communication between the whole team. 

Paul: I have only one word – AWESOME

Viorel: Quite simply, it’s one of the best jobs I’ve ever had.

A happy team! So how do you manage being based remotely from the Head Office in Newcastle upon Tyne?

Sorin: We have established great ways to communicate and overcome the distance, primarily using tools like Skype and having lots of calls and keeping in touch regularly.

Viorel: We have no issues – we work well together in the Galati office and have plenty of live meetings with the team in Newcastle – being remote doesn’t affect our development at all. 

What are your top tips for working from a satellite office?

Sorin: Everyone in the team is very responsible and takes ownership of their role – having that level of confidence and independence in a team is key so that you can rely on everyone to stay in touch and communicate with the rest of the group at all times.

Paul: Like Sorin says, communicate properly – let everyone know what you’re working on, what your goals and timescales are and don’t assume anything – scope projects fully and just ask if you are unsure of anything.

What are you working on at the moment?

Sorin: Lots of cool, top secret stuff, as always!

Viorel: I’m looking at offering remote access to ScreachTV to help with our debugging and support process.

Paul: I’m working with our design team on the Jukebox integration for ScreachTV. 

What is it like to work in the Galati office?

Sorin: It’s a lot of fun! We work really well together and share knowledge to find the best solutions on our individual projects – whether we’re really enjoying them or have a frustrating bug to fix, it’s great to have a team around you.

Viorel: It’s cool to work in a small core group from the Galati office – it means we get to know each other really well and we enjoy going out for a beer too!

Paul: We spend a lot of time working, so socialising after work can be difficult with family responsibilities, but having ice cream breaks is pretty good!

Tell us more about Galati as a city

Viorel: Galati has lots of great architecture and is relatively close to the seaside and mountains. The pubs are good and we have fantastic views provided by the Danube River. 

Sorin: It’s hot (really hot!) in summer and can get extremely cold and windy in winter. It’s a great city with lots to do, but if you come here with a car, please be aware that we drive on the right side!

Paul: Galati was once a flourishing industrial city but today things are different and the economy is driven by different factors.  We have a fine botanical garden, but the nicest place by far is the Danube cliff.

Sightseeing tour sorted then for our next team outing in Galati! What do you love outside of Screach?

Sorin: My true passion is for software development, though I also enjoy writing my technical and personal blogs. I like sightseeing and mountaineering with my family too, though not when the weather is too hot!

Viorel: I’m married and have a 2 year old daughter – my family is very important to me. I also love cars, travelling, smart gadgets, photography and wildlife.

Paul: I live with my girlfriend and my hobbies include gaming, reading books and articles about the latest technologies, jogging and playing soccer.

Sorin, Viorel and Paul are a key part of the Screach team and despite being based over 2000 miles away, they feel as much a part of our crew as everyone else – the future is bright in Galati and we’re looking forward to expanding our team there.

How we created the Swiftcover.com Screach experience

Dave PottsOur Screach Experience Master, Dave Potts, gives you an insight into how the design and development guys created the Swiftcover.com Screach experience…

As Swiftcover.com’s Screach experience went live today, I wanted to give you a bit of a behind the scenes look into how we created this motion controlled, multiplayer game.

The whole idea was to create something really fun that could get everyone involved in a way that would be memorable to them. They concept was designed to be fun and laid-back and opened a new way for consumers to converse with Swiftcover.com in a manner that wasn’t one way like a lot of traditional advertising.

Swiftcover.com’s mantra is all about getting a quote in 60 seconds so we took this and adapted it to what we thought was an exciting way for the public to get together to enjoy what Swiftcover.com had to offer.

We came up with the idea of an American road trip – what could be more fun than that? Here are the initial sketches that we put together for the on-screen and in-app content…

SwiftCover.com sketchesOnce the designs were put in place, it was time to start building with our unique language, ScreachML. ScreachML is the language that allows our technology to interact from one platform to another. We had decided to really make a statement and try something new with the SwiftCover.com experience. We wanted to show what Screach was capable of and to also create a buzz around the site. We decided that the best way to do this was to make the game motion controlled.

We also used Screach’s multiplayer functionality. Creating a group or community feel is what a lot of the Screach experiences are about.  It makes the experience more memorable and stimulating for the user and both the motion control and multi-player aspects would help to achieve this. They are both great features for creating a real buzz around the site.

The SwiftCover.com experience

One of my favourite things about the SwiftCover experience is that you can customise the features too. Users were able to select the car colour and model that they wished to use which is a great way to give them some ownership and really personalise the experience to them.

If you want to learn more about how to make your own Screach experiences then you can find out more information, including  reference guides at Dev.Screach.com.  As Screach is an open platform, it’s really easy to start learning how to build your own experiences. We’d welcome any feedback about our Swiftcover.com experience. If you fancy trying to build your own experience then stay in touch too and let us know how you get on.