Javascript Meteor

Why Pathable Uses Meteor To Power Virtual & Hybrid Events6 min read

Be honest: How many virtual events have you attended since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic?

If you’re like most people, you’ve probably lost count.

But Pathable hasn’t.

This multi-solution event platform and mobile app has been crushing the virtual, hybrid, and in-person meeting space. Its capabilities run the gamut, from helping users plan and promote their meetings to powering multi-screen experiences.

And they’ve been wowing the world with the help of Meteor.

So in this case study, we’ll check out Pathable’s tech stack, dish pandemic expansion challenges, and see how their team’s using Meteor to connect people.

The Pathable Mission and Gameplan

Pathable makes software that runs virtual, hybrid, and in-person conferences and events.

Millions of people have been using their end-to-end solutions to enhance how they learn and connect to each other at all kinds of business events and industry gatherings.

You might have even been to a Pathable event and benefited from its suite of one-of-a-kind tech solutions!

According to Pathable, their mission is to amplify your virtual, hybrid, or in-person experience through top-level customer service, impeccable implementation, and comprehensive technology.

“We believe an event is more than an occurrence; it’s an experience shaped by the people involved.”

The intuitive, customizable Pathable Virtual and Hybrid Event Platform combines live streaming capabilities, on-demand content access, and shared engagement experiences. This allows users to bring content to life and promote excitement, no matter where attendees are.

It fosters “real connection in real-time.”

The Pathable Mobile Event App gives attendees the freedom to access event content on-the-go in the palm of their hands. Customers and users can sync up virtual and in-person efforts and:

Send/receive event notifications and updatesProvide/receive event content and agenda informationFind interactive venue mapsCheck-in for sessions and scan badges

Pathable Mobile powers endless engagement capabilities and provides a seamless event experience for all attendees.

So what’s behind the Pathable curtain?

The Pathable Tech Stack

The Pathable platform includes five Meteor applications grouped into clusters, running across hundreds of containers on Meteor Cloud. It now has 50 Galaxy apps across all regions in the US, European Union, and Asia-Pacific. And the number of active containers during peak hours has gone well above 1,000!

Pathable hosts its database on MongoDB Atlas. As with many large-scale Meteor applications out there, the team started by using Redis-oplog to spread database changes across the containers.

But Pathable built its own system, which still uses Redis and also utilizes Mongo’s Change Streams System to monitor for changes.

Pathable also has a private Galaxy cluster hosted by Meteor, which provides the ability to optimize the setup for the team’s specific needs. For example, changing the size of the hosts machines running the containers.

This setup allows Pathable to use VPC peering from their Galaxy containers to properly secure the connection to their Mongo and Redis instances.

The Pathable team has even created various serverless apps to help monitor the health of their platform. This includes an app that pulls container metrics from the Galaxy API and pushes the values to Datadog.

The team says having a single unified view of the platform’s health in a single location allows their experts to more easily correlate issues and alert them in case manual actions need to be taken.

Why Pathable Builds With Meteor

Many of the Pathable developers have been using Meteor for years, from small hobby projects up to large-scale applications. They believe Meteor’s ease of use is “unmatched” within the Javascript ecosystem, allowing developers to focus more on creating cool features.

“Meteor’s ease of use is unmatched within the Javascript ecosystem.”

Plus, Meteor Cloud simplifies everything related to hosting Meteor applications at scale. That’s provided the Pathable team with the ability to concentrate on the development side of things for their own applications.

The built-in APM features are also “critical” in monitoring performance and tracking down those nasty bugs.

Scaling Challenges Pathable Solved with Meteor

It should come as no surprise that Pathable has been experiencing exponential growth due to the pandemic and rise of remote work. The influx of simultaneous users, connections, and online events forced the team to come up with solutions that seamlessly scale while maintaining the integrity of their product.

Check the Forecast

Pathable hosts events that range from 100 virtual attendees to upwards of 50,000!

So the Pathable team has been using both Mongo and Galaxy autoscaling features. Unfortunately, they aren’t always fast enough to respond when boatloads of attendees arrive at the same time for the start of an event.

That’s why Pathable created their own forecasting tool. It’s based on expected attendance and prepares both Mongo and Galaxy one hour in advance for any upcoming loads.

Pathable’s Mongo Change Streams-Based System

The Pathable gurus also built their own Mongo Change Streams-based System. This replaces Redis-oplog to allow them to handle more load with the same amount of hardware.

Check out this screenshot below that illustrates two very similar event days:

When Pathable’s Mongo Change Streams-based System was activated on the second day, it resulted in a 50% decrease in Redis operations and a 30% decrease in Mongo activity.

Waiting for Meteor To Join the Meeting

Over the years, Pathable has often run into smaller challenges, but the biggest one that keeps getting bigger is the size of their codebase and applications.

They’re running five different apps, yet new features get added with each new release, and the codebase (and client-side JS bundle) keeps growing. This results in long build times, which in turn affects their development pace.

Another big thing in Meteor’s pipeline that the Pathable team is waiting for? Tree shaking to decrease the client-side bundle and improve build times, which should help speed up development.

What’s Next for Pathable

Pathable continues to evolve alongside the events industry as organizers seek to create hybrid events that are both in-person and virtual. As ever, Meteor has empowered the Pathable team of developers and product designers to iterate quickly.

They say this has been a huge competitive advantage, especially as the industry suddenly became vastly different due to the pandemic.

Click here to book a demo with Pathable now!

Ready To See How Meteor Can Help Your Team?

Meteor is an open-source framework for seamlessly building and deploying web, mobile, and desktop applications in Javascript. And as we’ve seen in this case study, our customers reach new heights of innovation with our help.

So what can Meteor do for you?

If you’re ready to find out, join the community of more than 500k developers from all over the world that trust and rely on Meteor today!

Why Pathable Uses Meteor To Power Virtual & Hybrid Events was originally published in Meteor Blog on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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