Implementing maintenance-free file handling in days

  • industry
  • headquarters
    Arlington, VA
  • employees
  • tenure
    3 years
Chatra is a B2B SaaS application that allows businesses to embed live-chat widgets in their websites. Chatra uses Uploadcare to quickly implement file-handling functionality without incurring any ongoing maintenance burden.

In 2015, Chatra was founded with a specific vision, to bring the modern functionality of consumer messaging applications to live-chat widgets. Today, Chatra delivers on that vision to thousands of users around the world.

Part of Chatra’s modernized feature set requires file handling. Specifically, they need to enable user-uploaded avatars and file transfers between users and their websites’ visitors. When this functionality originally needed to be developed, the founders of Chatra were faced with a common choice: build the infrastructure themselves or implement a third-party service.

Slava Olesik, co-founder and COO
Slava Olesik, co-founder and COO
File-management systems seem to be a very simple product, but it's not. Uploading the files, storing, managing the process, even the image resizing. It's a very difficult thing.

Having built their own file-handling systems before on previous projects, the Chatra team understood the drawbacks intimately. For them, it was primarily a question of time.

We can build something like Uploadcare. It will cost, for example, two months of developer time or something, but after that, we will have to support everything, everything, everything. Spend time, time, time. The final cost will be extremely high.

Not only would they have to spend the initial development time, but they would have to maintain it as well. Implementing additional functionality as needed and staying compatible with a constantly shifting browser ecosystem would be a heavy tax on their development team.

The problem is compatibility between different browsers. Every week, Chrome or Safari change their version and deliver new updates. Even when we only supported a single browser, we had problems with uploading. This one was updated, this one is a little outdated. Never ending work.

For the Chatra team, the costs of developing and maintaining their own file-handling infrastructure were too much. They are a small team with limited developer time, and they don’t have the resources to build custom infrastructure to perform basic tasks.

Having already built file-handling infrastructure on their own before, the Chatra team decided to rely on Uploadcare from the very beginning.

Yakov Karda, co-founder and CEO
Yakov Karda, co-founder and CEO
In Chatra, we use Uploadcare to process all of our files. Developer time is a precious resource within our company. For us, it’s much better to pay for a service than to have our own team build something that is already built extremely well.

It started with a simple feature, user-uploaded avatars. Using Uploadcare, they implemented this in just over a day. Later on, when they wanted to add file transfers within their chat widget, this too was made extremely easy by the functionality provided by Uploadcare.

We spent about one or two days including testing to get started with user avatars. A year later, we were thinking about adding file transfers. So we again just made a simple integration, and it’s done.

Not only was the Chatra team able to quickly implement the features they wanted but they also get to make use of a wide range of additional functionality like image resizing, in-browser image cropping, and over a dozen file-source integrations. None of this functionality requires any maintenance burden on their part.

There is not only the cost of initial development, there is the cost of support. Uploadcare allows us to save on the initial development, but it also saves us from a lot of pain supporting all of that functionality.

As a young software company with limited development resources, time is Chatra’s most valuable commodity. Time spent implementing and supporting file-handling infrastructure is time they can’t get back; time they could have used to further develop their product. Uploadcare allows Chatra to focus exclusively on building best product they can without distraction.

We are a very small team of experienced developers. For us, each minute, each hour, it really means a lot. We’re already overloaded with tasks, with ideas, so we’re really happy that we can just forget about file handling.