Single Page Front-End application built on micro services architecture

Lulu Xpress case study

Lulu was set up in 2002 by Bob Young, the founder of Red Hat, in response to his own need for a better print-on-demand service. The company has been a pioneer and leader in the self-publishing space ever since, with over 2 million titles created in more than 225 countries.

Year: 
2018

Website: 
xpress.lulu.com

What we did: 
BackEnd, FrontEnd, UX/UI Design, Product Ownership

Lulu offers a variety of services to authors, educators, artists, and nonprofits. With increasing numbers of users and millions of publications being sold around the world, Lulu wanted to offer a streamlined storefront for customers who need to quickly print a book, with a sharp focus on user experience and ease-of-navigation. They targeted a modern and innovative print-on-demand service with an intuitive interface packed with features sought by its users. This is how Lulu xPress was born and began generating income as soon as it launched.

Single-Page Application Based on Micro-Service REST Architecture

Lulu has numerous powerful and complex applications. To accommodate the latest front-end and User Experience trends, while attracting new customers, the print-on-demand element of Lulu's applications suite needed to evolve into the simpler, faster, and more intuitive model that customers demanded.

The main goal was to create a single-page application that would communicate with the existing fleet of micro-services. Our work involved finding innovative ways to simplify the information architecture.

Dropshipping With Shopify

Lulu xPress provides users with a simplified and streamlined process for the complex task of building a print-on-demand book. As many users were already familiar with Shopify, Lulu wanted to create a fully integrated platform with automated order fulfillment. We designed a bespoke integration point linking Lulu xPress to the Shopify App through an API. Lulu ships products directly to customers, meaning users can focus on creating their work without the additional headache of maintaining stock and overseeing delivery.

An Integrated Dashboard App for Shopify

The Shopify app that we built allows users to access all features of the xPress platform without having to leave their Shopify dashboard. The entire application was built according to the design and UX specifications of the Shopify platform, meaning the integration is seamless and the interface is consistent with the platform’s existing dashboard.

The Technology Behind xPress

The beating heart of the Lulu platform is the fleet of microservices which are invisible to end users. We were able to tap into the existing APIs and re-use most of the machinery that powered both the previous version of xPress and the rest of Lulu’s platform.

As we specialize in React, it was a natural candidate for the user interface, despite large parts of Lulu’s ecosystem being powered by Angular.

We chose Polaris, a user interface library maintained by Shopify themselves, to ensure that our integration fits seamlessly into the existing platform interface.

Preview Service

To improve the experience of publishing books using the print-on-demand platform, our team built a new service enabling page-by-page review of uploaded documents before committing to the printing process. The preview feature was delivered as a microservice powered by Python.

Effective Work with Remote Teams

The project included teams located in the USA, Germany, and Poland. We set up an effective communication scenario across different time zones by utilizing several tools like Slack and Jira, as well as working in Agile methodology with daily scrums.

Testimonial

"

I needed a team that is not only technically savvy, but also willing to engage with my challenges and is actively interested in solving them. I’ve found this in Mirumee. The level of engagement is just wonderful. They walk the extra mile, thinking ahead of what may happen if I introduce some features and help me shape the customer experience.

Christoph Kepper, CTO, Lulu.com

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