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aaronjpitts

Feasability of using PW to create a SaaS platform such as Airbnb?

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Hi guys,

I've recently discovered processwire and love it, the API is brilliant and the features out of the box are a real joy to work with. It's clean, fast and seems to have an excellent community and support backing it.

I am currently working on a project that would essentially be to develop an Airbnb for student accommodation. What is the feasibility of developing such a platform on processwire? For an MVP I am thinking it could be brilliant, but could it support something like that long term? How could it scale? 

I'd be really interested to hear your ideas on the pros and cons of using processwire for a SaaS platform like this.

Cheers!

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I would say, admittedly without knowing Airbnb itself too well, that ProcessWire is a great platform for something like this.

Such a project will involve quite a bit of custom work, from the registration and access management to reviews, but that you probably already knew. There are some modules that could come in handy, especially for the access management part. I'd check out Dynamic Roles, at least. Access management and registration are the parts you'll want to get right on the first try, as those are security-wise potential weak spots of just about any site or application out there.

It's easy to model, manage, and query all sorts of data with ProcessWire, making things like complex searches easy to set up. In large scale you'll need to be careful with your limits (querying is relatively cheap, but fetching hundreds or thousands of results in memory is not; always define sensible limits and use built-in paging!) and you'll also want to test things out properly before letting too many users in.

ProcessWire is known to scale well into millions of pages, but considering that usually (almost) everything is a page, that's not an impossible number to reach, of course depending on how you build this platform. I'd suggest taking a closer look into the (commercial) ProFields module package, as it could potentially boost the performance of certain parts a lot (thinking of things like reviews here, which might make more sense as Table rows than actual Pages; the built-in comments module is another solution that could work).

I wouldn't worry about this solution scaling indefinitely right now; ProcessWire will scale pretty far, and if this service does indeed become hugely popular, eventually you'll have to go through a lot of hoops to get it running smooth no matter what technology you choose. Pretty much every big platform out there has gone through more than one more-or-less complete rewrite. That's not bad planning – it's simply smart to start with something that makes things easy (and relatively cheap) to get up and running, and worry about massive scale if/when you actually get there.

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