Around 2004, I helped my father create an online directory of medical device manufacturers and related companies, products and services. For a long time, it was the number one source of medical device information and while the business was in operation it provided a steady stream of advertising and subscription income. It was so successful in fact that a larger publishing company once offered us over a million dollars to sell it. That offer was declined and the business was eventually shuttered.
What you’ll see in this example was the framework that the public sees. Behind this is a giant, complex database and back end systems that was setup to enable customers to self-maintain their company profiles, purchase subscriptions, etc.
I built the website with ColdFusion. Originally, the data was stored on a separate a Microsoft SQL server. I build that server and scaled it up to several more servers as traffic grew. Today the website runs on Lucee, the open source version of ColdFusion, with a MySQL database. For those familiar with the Fusebox way of building websites, this was my first and largest experience using that framework. The code base literally took about a year to build out. One of the unique features of this system was a proprietary competitive analysis algorithm that enabled people to find all manufacturers of similar devices simply by viewing a competitor record. By using structured language common to the industry, the website was far more more relevant and accurate than any search engine, even by today’s standards.
See the archived website here: http://lucee.warrick.net