Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Tonight's Upgrades: Twitter Tracking goes Beta

I had a chance to perform some code and OS upgrades on the WunderCounter this evening. Most WunderCounter web servers are now running the very latest updates of Ubuntu 9.10 (Karmic Koala) and I've also upgraded the WunderCounter codebase to the very latest version in the repository. Most of the changes have taken place in the back end. So, if they've been patched correctly, you should never notice them. Some changes of note:

Session Control Reset (One Time Change)

After upgrading Perl, I had to change the way some session data is stored. This means I had to reset all session control data in the system. If you have Session Control enabled, you may see some pages tracked twice late Monday evening. This is a one time blip and it's part of the upgrade process. There wasn't any good way to get around this, so I made the decision to start fresh. It should only affect a small amount of user and tracking data. If you have any questions about this, feel free to get in touch with me.

URL Shortening/Twitter Tracking in Beta Mode

The WunderCounter has had link tracking for a lot of years and it's a great feature. However, the link tracking code is quite long and not suited for use with services like Twitter or Facebook. I'll be rolling out URL Shortening in Beta mode this week. If you have a paid Premium account and you'd like to be a Beta Tester, just message me with your account name and I'll give you access to the new service to test and give your feedback. This new service will provide short URLs which the same sort of fine grained tracking which you've come to expect from the WunderCounter. It will also be suitable for tracking links in email campaigns and any situation where you'd like to get feedback on how often a link is clicked, like Podcast and other media downloads, photos and links you're sharing on Twitter, links you share on Facebook and the list goes on. I'm really excited about this as it opens up many new opportunities to integrate the WunderCounter with services which many of you are already using.

I expect the Beta period to be relatively short as I'd like to roll the service out to all Premium users ASAP. I'll post more info on the blog as I know more.

Better/Newer Hardware + Load Balancing

I'm in the process of moving the WunderCounter to newer, faster servers with more RAM. The login area is already on the new setup. Over the next couple of days the front end of the WunderCounter (the one which actually does the tracking) will move to the new system. This will make serving the counter images faster and more reliable. If, for any reason, one of the WunderCounter servers has to be shut down, traffic will automatically be routed to a backup machine. This will mean even better uptime and a live backup machine ready to step in and share the load at any time.

Git > SVN

The real geeks may be interested to know that I've changed almost all of the source code management from Subversion to Git. I've found Git to be much more flexible and generally much more of a pleasure to work with than Subversion. Don't get me wrong. Subversion is great for what it is, but branching and merging code in Subversion can drive a grown developer to tears. Branching and merging in Git, by comparison, is a real pleasure. Developing the WunderCounter and adding new features should be much easier under Git. I've held off on upgrading the live sites as I switched from Subversion to Git. Now that the transition is complete, I'll be able to roll out changes to the WunderCounter quite quickly.

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