January 20, 2016
Not long ago, Navitaire announced that its well-known booking system SkySales, a favorite among low cost airlines, was evolving towards dotREZ, a new technological platform based on MVC. Navitaire has made it more or less clear that this move aims to make its system more open and accessible to developers and integrators. Many in the industry have seen in this move a willingness to simplify it.
dotREZ is, actually, two things at the same time: on one hand, it is a design template based on MVC that is pretty much ready to be implemented with varying degrees of customization. On the other hand, it is a new API that makes it much easier to integrate or to roll-out further developments.
Reality or fiction? At Newshore we have reviewed our own experience implementing dotREZ for a number of clients and are ready to share some of our insights.
The first point in favour of dotREZ is its lower development cost. Access to the product’s key functionalities has become simpler because dotREZ is based on MVC standards. By adopting these standards, Navitaire has shortened the learning curve in comparison to previous SkySales versions, while increasing the pool of developers with knowledge of the product’s functionalities.
Integration with third party systems, such as rent a car or hotel websites or even your own content management system (CMS), also become easier.
dotREZ’s MVC architecture has some additional advantages, particularly at a time when mobile is becoming increasingly important. For example, with dotREZ it is easier to make responsive websites that adapt to different types of device (desktop, tablet or mobile). In fact, using Cordova/PhoneGap or Xamarin it is possible to generate fully-performing iOS or Android apps almost immediately.
When it comes to performance, dotREZ is also much faster than its predecessor SkySales, although here we must add that our own tests show the x4 multiple that some Navitaire sources boast about, to be a bit stretched.
Last but not least, as if the previous points were not enough, let’s not forget a very important consideration: Navitarie is likely to stop supporting SkySales as its bet on open, standard tooling platforms seems clear. Therefore, airlines that do not wish to be left out and aim to retain their capability to continue evolving technologically, must face sooner rather than later the issue of migrating to dotREZ.
So far we have focused on dotREZ’s pros, but the new platform has also some cons. Let’s have a look at the main ones.
In our opinion, API implementation, for example, is not as good as expected. It requires some additional development in order to strengthen security, session management, versions...
Also, some airlines might find that the standard MVC models it is equipped with are too limiting: if you wish to work on a Single Page Application (SPA) or improve the visualization layer, you will need to build your own architecture.
We must also value MVC architecture’s “simplicity” in its proper context: at the end of the day, developers need a degree of familiarity with how services delivered through the API work, what is the data structure, etc., which, in turn, makes it necessary to have a solid knowledge not only of the API’s structure, but also of the industry’s own processes.
If you finally opt for dotREZ for your booking engine, it is advisable to plan in detail its implementation and decide on several of its key aspects before getting started: what would be the structure of the visualization layer, what security mechanisms can it rely on, what hosting option is best (private or cloud), how are you going to handle data migration...
While it is undeniable that migrating to dotREZ requires quite some effort in the initial stages, once completed it makes things easier for you on the technological side, helping you to focus back on running your core business. And at the end of the day, isn’t this what is all about?