xymbol home :: about xymbol :: allAfrica.com :: xml-comma.org

The Cost-Effective Web

Xymbol is a technology consulting group that specializes in building innovative, sophisticated, web-oriented systems. Our clients come to us for custom-built solutions to their business problems: we create tools that allow institutions to operate more efficiently, organize more effectively, and reach broader audiences.

922 M Street SE
Washington DC 20003
202-546-0777 x118

The web is everywhere, and the new medium offers new possibilities for organizations of all types and sizes. Web publishing brings instant, global distribution of news and information. Browser-based tools take client-server applications out of the mainframe era and into the twenty-first century. Xymbol applies new technologies to create competitive advantages, cutting costs, increasing market sizes and finding new applications for under-utilized assets.

Xymbol develops systems based on Free and Open Source Software. We make the most of the high-quality, freely available tools that underpin the web and the internet: Linux and Perl, the Apache web server, and databases such as MySQL and PostgreSQL. We're technology agnostic at root, and we look for tools that are stable, powerful and efficient. The best Free Software offerings provide features that no proprietary systems can match, are widely-supported standards, are heavily peer reviewed, and free clients from paying on-going licensing fees.

We developed an application server, XML::Comma, as a platform to support the kind of large-scale web development that we do. XML::Comma is Free Software, released under the GNU General Public License.

We also work hard to achieve stellar performance on commodity hardware. Our systems cache aggressively, use hand-tuned code for critical routines, and parallelize tasks so that a cluster of inexpensive servers can do the same job as a big-iron machine. AllAfrica.com serves over 10 million page views serves eight million page-views each month -- all of them dynamically assembled -- using a pair of rack-mount servers that together cost $8000.

Hands-On Development

A typical Xymbol project involves a 9-month working time-frame and culminates in the release of a new website or information-delivery system designed to serve hundreds of thousands - or tens of millions - of users. We are a "boutique" shop: we work extremely hard to provide the highest possible quality of service to each customer. We believe that:

  • small technical teams are more efficient than large ones
  • good tools, deep expertise and experienced management are all critical to productivity
  • commodity hardware and careful design make scalable, fault-tolerant websites possible at reasonable levels of capital investment
  • "forwards" compatibility and solid documentation are indispensable

These "rules for development" are the product of our experiences building large systems. We work efficiently, effectively, and flexibly. If you would like to explore whether we're the right people to help you with your development project, please don't hesitate to contact us.

Copyright 2002 - AllAfrica Global Media