Areas of Expertise

  • App Development
  • Cloud Orchestration
  • Performance Optimization


  • Technology

Technology Used


To say the COVID-19 pandemic changed the virtual event landscape would be an understatement. Like many companies around the world, Six Feet Up was planning a conference in mid-June that, seemingly overnight, was without a physical venue or a virtual platform. Six Feet Up couldn’t find an existing virtual platform that seamlessly integrated Zoom and Slack (the tech community’s most-loved platforms), so the company’s team of expert developers set out to build one. 

With so many unknowns, the challenge was mammoth — and the timeline was tight — but Six Feet Up had its A Team in place. No challenge was too big to conquer. 

In just 11 weeks, the virtual event platform, now called LoudSwarm by Six Feet Up, went from whiteboard to a full-scale release. 

Implementation Details


Like all strategic projects, on April 1, 2020 — shortly after the world shut down and everyone began working remotely — Six Feet Up’s team of expert developers began whiteboarding what a new and improved virtual event platform, built specifically to meet event needs of the tech community, would look like. During this exercise, the team identified…

  • Two goals:
    • make the virtual event experience as seamless as possible for attendees, speakers and organizers, and 
    • increase engagement during virtual events using tools that the tech community is already comfortable with (e.g., Zoom for video conferencing and Slack for messaging).   
  • The need for the following solutions: 
    • a video system,
    • a video queuing system, and
    • an email or messaging service.

The team quickly chose Django — also known as the web framework for perfectionists with deadlines” — as the foundation for LoudSwarm. “Django is intended for this type of project,” said Calvin Hendryx-Parker, Six Feet Up’s CTO. “Django is scalable, secure and fast. Plus, with Django’s ‘batteries included’ philosophy, the open-source framework came complete with extensive libraries and templates that helped our developers work quickly and efficiently.” 

Next, due to its popularity amongst tech communities, the team determined that Slack would be the primary chat and messaging service used within LoudSwarm. The team selected Celery to create the asynchronous interactions with Slack, process incoming webhooks and improve site load time/performance. In a later update, the team added Discord as a secondary messaging platform option. Calvin explains how Six Feet Up added Discord to LoudSwarm in this video presentation: “Hacking Django Channels.”

Finally, a third-party video service that could host both video content and queued materials was identified. Hosting queued materials — like slideshows with music, sponsor videos and more — was critical to making LoudSwarm events feel more authentic and engaging. “Before LoudSwarm, I attended virtual events that went from a live presentation to silence,” noted Calvin. “When you’re at an in-person event, there is always some kind of conference music or slideshow. We wanted to recreate that feeling in the virtual world.” 

With the core technologies identified, Six Feet Up’s expert developers split into teams — front-end and back-end — and began working simultaneously. 

Front-End Development

Front-End Whiteboard

Six Feet Up’s front-end developers set out to design an attendee-first experience for the platform. Using React and Redux, the team prioritized fast load times and an intuitive design. 

The platform launched without a hitch, but the front-end development process wasn't always easy. Following extensive unit tests and quality assurance (QA) verification, the team identified errors and unique bugs that would be detrimental to the end-user experience. For example, the team identified that the word “track(s)” was getting caught by ad blockers when that term was in an API endpoint. Front-end developers collaborated with the QA team to ensure an event’s schedule — and its relevant tracks — would load properly. They also worked together to ensure that the application was optimized for speed. 

Back-End Development

Back-End Whiteboard

While the front-end developers were hard at work creating a user-friendly interface (UI), back-end developers were orchestrating their workloads with containers and populating the data that would funnel into the front-end, user-facing view of the application.  

The team used Docker and Docker Compose to containerize the application on their local machines — giving them quick access to the Django admin interface of the application that controlled the virtual event platform’s settings, content and customizations that would be needed to make each event unique. 

Additionally, back-end developers used the Django REST Framework — a browsable, real-time toolkit that generates documentation against the API and allows front-end developers to visit a web-generated page that shows their interface into the data. In other words, front-end developers could quickly and efficiently view what was happening on the back-end, and adjust accordingly, without having to dive into the code. 


Finally, it was time to begin deploying LoudSwarm for the upcoming event. Six Feet Up developers leveraged the reliability, scalability and immense resource pool of Amazon Web Services (AWS) to deploy LoudSwarm. Specifically, the team used:

  • Fargate for container management,
  • ElastiCache for data caching and channel layers, 
  • Relational Database Service (RDS) for data storage 
  • S3 for video and static asset storage and
  • CloudFront to distribute the content across AWS’ worldwide network data centers.

These cloud-based tools allowed LoudSwarm to be a completely serverless application with a full-blown content delivery network (CDN). To learn more about LoudSwarm’s deployment, watch Calvin’s talk about “Deploying a Virtual Event Platform Using Fargate and Terraform:”


LoudSwarm — the Django-based, highly engaging virtual event platform built by the tech community, for the tech community — debuted on June 17, 2020, exactly 11 weeks after the initial whiteboarding session, as host of the second annual Python Web Conference. 

LoudSwarm’s UI makes it as easy to browse the content of a virtual event as it is to switch TV channels. The platform makes a live (or live on “tape”) virtual or hybrid event stream possible, connecting attendees by combining streaming video, Zoom, and Slack or Discord chat into a single virtual space. Slack is seamlessly integrated into each talk to enhance the online event experience and keep conversations going before, during and after the conference. Plus, LoudSwarm’s unique Face2Face feature allows attendees to video chat with the speaker immediately following their presentation — a virtual recreation of “approaching the podium” to speak with, network or congratulate the speaker at an in-person event. The platform is containerized and serverless, running Postgres, Django, Celery, React and Redis in the cloud on AWS Fargate. It is deployed using a Bitbucket Pipeline.

screencapture-pwc2021-loudswarm-session-opening-remarks-day-1-2021-07-30-12_00_21 (1).png

Since its launch, LoudSwarm has powered several global tech conferences including DjangoCon Europe, the Plone Conference and Python Web Conference. These events attracted hundreds of attendees from dozens of countries. 

Despite the short timeline from idea to deployment, LoudSwarm was a dream project for Six Feet Up’s team of expert developers. “We had an amazing and unique opportunity to greenfield modern, cutting-edge technologies,” said Calvin. “Plus, now we get to share and implement the best practices — like how to efficiently and effectively deploy serverless applications — we learned with our clients.” 

To learn more about hosting a virtual or hybrid event on LoudSwarm, drop us a note and/or schedule a demo of LoudSwarm’s features and white-glove service

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