Wasserwerk Augsburg

Case Story – LEW Lechwerke: Cloud-Based High-Performance with React and Umbraco

byte5 realised the conceptual and technical re-development of the corporate website. Umbraco and React were used on the technical side, agile methodologies and Scrum on the organisational side.

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

The Client

LEW Lechwerke is an energy service provider located in Augsburg, Bavaria. It continuously provides nearly one million inhabitants in an area of ​​almost 7,000 square kilometres (2,700 square miles) with electricity. The company, which is one of the leading Bavarian suppliers of energy from hydropower, employs more than 1,700 people.

© Lechwerke AG

As a subsidiary of the energy company Innogy, LEW Lechwerke approached byte5 to newly design and develop their corporate website lew.de. The reason for the relaunch was the introduction of Innogy’s new corporate design, which now was to be used on LEW Lechwerke’s website as well. byte5 came up with a flexible concept for the relaunch based on the latest version of the content management system Umbraco in the backend and React as a JavaScript library in the frontend. The Microsoft cloud platform Azure provided the modernity needed. The cooperate development team with developers from LEW and byte5 led made the relaunch of lew.de a success.

The Highlights

  • conceptual and technical development of the corporate website with Umbraco and React
  • realisation of an innovative high-performance website on a cloud basis
  • trustful cooperative work at the root making the project successful
  • agile project flow with structured Scrum sprints
  • continuous process improvement with Azure DevOps as well as a three-stage testing process

The Challenges

The website of LEW Lechwerke was to receive the new design of its parent company Innogy – it was time for a relaunch. The entire software architecture was to be redesigned and launched on the Microsoft cloud Azure. All backend components were to be based on ASP.NET – more precisely on Umbraco as a CMS – while for the frontend, the JavaScript library React was chosen. As Germany’S first Umbraco Gold Partner, byte5 was hired. A top requirement was that the latest version of Umbraco be used. The biggest challenge facing the cooperative team of developers from LEW Lechwerke and byte5 was to familiarise the team with the many new technologies that would be worked with.

Our Solution

In a workshop on modern front-end technologies, the byte5 team of experts first presented the JavaScript library React, which made LEW decide to go about the relaunch using React and its interactive UI components. In addition to React, Typescript was also used in the project. An external agency delivered a high-quality UI kit, which was implemented by the team. As the website was rolled out on Azure, the team benefitted from a variety of Microsoft cloud services. C# was used as the programming language.

© Lechwerke AG

In the conception process, all existing functions – including services, gateways and the handling of existing data – were reconsidered. Umbraco was set up in a load balancing environment. The Umbraco backend was also equipped with tailored grid editors to enable the LEW editors to work efficiently. To connect the backend, an API gateway was developed with .NET Core, as was a microservices infrastructure. To optimise the new website’s speed, the lion’s share of core functionalities was newly developed. The team also revised and improved the entire database structure. A highlight in this project was the continuous testing of all new website, especially unit and integration tests as well as UI tests. In optimising the processes Azure DevOps played an important role.

The special quality of this project was the close cooperation between LEW as a client and byte5 as an ASP.NET specialist. The agile and very structured use of Scrum contributed significantly to the project success, as it made it easy to quickly identify and solve problems. The cooperative team’s work went smoothly, both locally and remotely.

Because the previous collaboration with byte5 has always been exceptionally good, we did not have to think about who we wanted to have on board as a partner. As expected, byte5 was able to provide excellent support in all areas.

Heiko Luxenhofer, .NET Web Development with LEW Service & Consulting

© Michael Presser

The Result

In close cooperation, the team developed an advanced website with the Innogy branding. But the changes made were not only of visual nature: the architecture was completely revised and brought up-to-date with the latest Umbraco version. Umbraco’s pioneering character is what made this made-to-measure web solution possible while React as the new frontend technology provided a state-of-the-art user interface. JavaScript and Typescript provided the flexibility needed. MVC Views were also used in the frontend. The LEW editors particularly benefit from the introduction of tailored grid editors in Umbraco, which make daily work considerably easier.

© Lechwerke AG

Moving forward, new features can be developed and deployed in a significantly shorter time using CI/CD pipelines in Azure DevOps, which means a noticeable increase in work efficiency. byte5 remains LEW Lechwerke’s most important partner for backend solutions with Umbraco and the use of modern frontend technologies. The extremely successful cooperative work will continue in other projects.

An excellent result! We are very satisfied with the relaunch of lew.de. The new website does not only fit perfectly into the corporate design, but is also state-of-the-art and extremely fast.

Heiko Luxenhofer, .NET Web Development with LEW Service & Consulting

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