Sunday, March 7, 2010

Website Update 0.6

Yesterday, we pushed live our next update, labeled 0.6. This update brings the following features/fixes:
  • More CSS/JS optimizations and caching
  • View profile links now work on the Manage Apps page
  • After creating an application, the caches are now refreshed corrected
  • Sessions are now much more secure
  • Woopra tracking is now all done server-side and there is no JS script or cookies
  • Fixed issue where cookie authorization would not redirect correctly back to the original page
  • Added option to import RSS feed
  • Improved dashboard loading and ajax
  • Added a warning to outgoing links
  • Twitter posts now use dvlf.bz
  • Fixed almost one-thousand bugs/issues
Among the major new features:

You can now import an RSS feed, and we will post an update to your deVolf account whenever the feed changes. The first 2000 characters will be posted directly on deVolf and then a Source Link will be provided in the footer of the update. Optionally, you can send the update to Twitter as well. When posting to Twitter, the tweet will contain a short caption from the post and link to the update on your application profile.


Since we are now allowing people to import feeds, we had to build better security for our users. If you click on a link that points to somewhere other than devolf.com, we will visit the link and present you with a warning box explaining where the link goes. If you trust the link, just click on the URL and a new window/tab will open up with the link.



You might be wondering what happened to stats-well, we have them all ready, there is just a slight problem with Woopra. I will be bring back stats as soon as possible.

Finally, we usually estimate an update to take roughly 10-15 minutes, but this update took over 3 hours to get live. Some of the problems were caused by our aggressive cache and a few cookie bugs, but others were caused by outside sources. One, we did not expect to have Woopra stop recording visits, so we had to revert back part of the update, and then reCaptcha just stopped accepting our private key and we had to push another update with new keys. I will be closely monitoring all the logs and making sure that everything is fully working.

If you have any problems logging in or staying logged in, please clear all your cookies under devolf.com.

Thanks,
James Hartig
deVolf, CEO
@fastest963

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

What have we been up to? Timeline.

Over the past few weeks, our team has been working on a side project using Twitter to test out some new performance code we will be integrating in deVolf. The project was a huge success for deVolf and our code; however, the project itself, twURLa, has been shutdown because it was taking too much time away from deVolf. We are applying the updates to deVolf as well as some huge features coming soon.
Here is a very tentative timeline:
  • March 6th: Launch of RSSImport beta, Beta 2 of stats
  • March 12-15: Site performance enhancements, any fixes to RSSImport as well as stats
  • March 26: Download initial beta launch
We are close to having the RSSImport ready, but we are fine-tuning the actual importer and the UI. We are pleased to announce that we are using Superfeedr for the tracking of feeds, and we will be using their publishing platform within the next few months.

We are all looking forward to the launch of downloads; however, some things are more important right now to finish.

Stay tuned,
James Hartig
deVolf, CEO
@fastest963

Friday, January 1, 2010

Website Update: 0.2

Today, we updated the deVolf production environment to version 0.2. The update was an incremental update to bring developers new profile enhancements, and improve the site overall. The update contains the following features/fixes:
  • Viewprofile now returns correct 404 - Not Found on invalid app
  • Developer can now choose to opt-in or opt-out of search engine visibility
  • Robots/sitemap now respect developers visibility request
  • Icon upload for application is improved
  • JS/CSS are now compiled, and the source files have been drastically improved
  • New theme is added that improves some visual problems present in the old theme as well as a smaller CSS footprint
  • User ID of the current logged in user was not detected in certain conditions
  • Woopa JS has been custom redesigned
  • Profile stats are being recorded
  • Search results are being recorded
  • Bug have been fixed in login, signup as well as contact page and dashboard
  • Minor bug fixes as usual
As you notice above, the update was based on the application profiles and improving their use and functionality. Along with the update comes the beginning to our application analytics. Stats are being recorded on profiles and from various other sources, and we are working hard on a method to display the analytics we are collecting. Another update will be coming in a week or two with the analytics tab fully functional.

Thanks,
James Hartig
deVolf, CEO
@fastest963

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

New Routers and Update soon!

After last week's router failure, we are replacing our routers with new ones. I would love to say that we will have them in Friday, but we have just ordered yesterday, and with shipping they might not get here till Monday. Our current router is still performing nicely, but the new router will prevent the failure we had last week as well as improve latency.
Back to the coming update...

We are close to finalizing the work with Woopra, and the theme seems to be working fine. I'm working on feed integration (basically, you can add a feed and we will auto post the feed) using Superfeedr, but with the holidays and Woopra, I haven't gotten the interface yet to enable it. The backend subscribe and post is coming along and should be done soon, but as far as adding the feed to your account and verification, it might not make the Friday-scheduled release. Also, the Woopra situation has caused us great delays, and while we have tracking working, retrieving the data is where we still need to work and thus, tracking might be enabled in the update, however viewing the data might have to wait until the next release. Currently, we are using Google Graphs API to display graphs and our graphs are coming along nicely but I would like to be able to integrate Flash where it is available and leave Google's API to non-flash, mobile environments. On Friday, I will post a quick roundup of what made it in and what will be moved to next week's update.

Thanks,
James Hartig
deVolf, CEO
@fastest963

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Happy Holidays! and Update About Yesterday

I'll get the bad news out of the way first...

Yesterday, between the hours of 10:53 AM (EST) and 1:22 PM (EST), our website was completely down. Keep in mind, our download servers (which we will be introducing soon) were fully functional, and downloads would have still been processing as usual. The problem occurred with a router update. After applying the update, the router crashed and reset itself. As usual, I had a backup of the configuration, but for some reason, the router would not apply the settings, and after trying to restore the configuration on backup routers, I ended up having to reconfigure everything. I would personally like to apologize for the inconvenience, and we are working on more fail-safe, duplicate  backup routers that will be applied in case this happens in the future.

Today (Dec. 24th) and tomorrow, as well as over the weekend, we will be hard at work on the new theme and overall site optimizations. We are looking forward to an update next week. It was originally scheduled for last Friday, but after a few set-backs and with this Friday being Christmas, next week looks better. We are continuing to work with Woopra, and they have been very helpful. There are a few minor API changes that they need to make, and then we will be up and running. This new update brings a lot of profile options for developers and improves the site experience for all users. More information will come closer to the update.

Thanks,
James Hartig
deVolf CEO
@fastest963

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Stats back in full force! With some help from Woopra...

After talking with Elie and getting some misunderstandings out of the way, I have resumed work on stats in full force.  Elie has explained to me exactly how a few features work, and I will be able to do a lot more with their API than I originally planned. I have worked non-stop this week on the new features that will incorporate Woopra and stats. We will be tracking a lot of data, and as I keep using their APIs, I find myself wanting to only store more. Right now I’m focusing on recording stats for application profiles and other application-related information. I’m working with Elie and Jad on the API and trying to hack my way through their tracking. After spending all of Monday and Tuesday rewriting and porting code over to PHP, I have the initial Woopra PHP classes I need finished. Throughout Wednesday and Thursday, I have been introducing and adding functionality to most pages to work with the new class and start tracking information. I have almost all of the tracking code completed, and over the weekend I will hopefully be finishing output. Since the last blog post, the majority of the faults I brought up have been fixed and, like I said above, I’m still working with Woopra on a few workarounds before moving release 1.1 to production. Woopra has been very supportive and helpful along the way, and I would like to say that Woopra has great potential, and I will be adding them to our referral queue.  The new deVolf features bring a lot more functionality to profiles and applications. Stay tuned!

Thanks,
James Hartig
deVolf CEO
@fastest963

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Private Beta going great, except when it comes to Woopra and stats...

Since we released to Private Beta 2 days ago, we only have had 6 recorded bugs, and all have been fixed. We have since started working on the next update to the production code. We are working on search engine control on application profiles, application profile visitor stats, forgot password functionality and message delete. Search engine control has been finished as of this point as well as a few minor website imperfections.

Currently, we are processing website stats through Woopra, however their newly introduced API is heavily under-documented and has many faults. We cannot get data for just 1 day, limits don't seem to work and there is no support for JSON. Also, the event that is processed when a profile is viewed, viewprofile, cannot even be accessed via the API. I can see the events being processed in the Woopra desktop client, but there is nothing in the API. Despite numerous attempts to contact Woopra regarding the problems with the API and possible solutions, nothing promising has happened. I sent another email to Elie El Khoury a bit ago asking one last time to clarify what is going on and how I can get event data via the API. We originally went with Woopra because they promised an API that we could use to track downloads via PHP and JS as well as advanced segmentation. So far, the only method for tracking is JS (which has completely stalled our download development). In our staging environment, most features do not work (Events, SSL, etc) because we are using the setDomain() to mask our staging domain as devolf.com. So far, I'm not happy at all with Woopra's performance, and I'm looking for an alternative until we get this worked out.


Other than stats, I will be completing forgot password this week and pushing an update near the end of the week. Keep posted!

UPDATE (8:05pm EST) : Well Elie just emailed be back. I guess I misinterpreted the API URL incorrectly, I will be testing the correct form soon.
UPDATE (8:36pm EST): Elie has explained to me how the API treats filters and keys and I now have everything working except for the 1 day's data bug.

Thanks,
James Hartig
Lead Developer, CEO, deVolf
@fastest963

Friday, December 4, 2009

Private Beta Launched!

As of 10 minutes ago, all the Private Beta invitees that signed up, just received an invitation to make a deVolf account and get started. We are currently working hard on getting out some much needed features but we thought that users should have the chance to play around a bit first before we release the big stuff.
I will post more in the coming days. If you didn't sign up to be invited, head over to http://devolf.com/ and sign up. We will one out as soon as we can.

Thanks,
James Hartig
Lead Developer, CEO, deVolf
@fastest963

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Private Beta Soon!

If you have been following the deVolf status blog (which I'm pretty certain no one is), you noticed that we have moved MySQL servers and the rest of our server arsenal over the past week. We are making our way through the list of "Things to do Before Private Beta Launch", and we are nearing the end. Stage 1 of search is completed; we have completed stage 3 of posts, and we just finished stage 1 of affiliate links. We still need to complete stage 4 of posts, which includes pagination and categories. Once we complete that, we are ready for Private Beta!
We have scheduled for the launch to be on December 7th, and we have accordingly added a nifty countdown to the homepage. Certain things have been moved to Post-Private-Beta status, like Downloads, RSS importing and "Super Search". Rest assured, these will be started as soon as the Private Beta steps are done and we estimate to release those in our Mid-December update. Finally, we have completed the work on SSL, so you can now feel protected when you login and signup for deVolf. There's a wrap on the latest news from deVolf.

Thanks,
James Hartig
Lead Developer, CEO, deVolf
@fastest963

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Getting the site all ready...

I've been hard at work this week getting the site ready for a tiny pre-launch to Grooveshark sometime soon. The site currently does not have all functionality that I would like to have at the time of a larger private launch, but it has enough for some Grooveshark members to play around with. Once the Woopra API docs are released (which I hear is soon), I will get working on download tracking as well as some other neat stats. I'm ready to finalize the MidPhase deal we have for our initial hosting package, and once I get the API working well enough, I will move to get download hosting working and bandwidth tracking. I still need to move in the new MySQL server we have been building as well as move our servers to a more secure and faster location. I see everything coming together within the next few weeks. Everyone that signed up for a beta invite, get ready!

Thanks,
James Hartig

Lead Developer, CEO, deVolf
@fastest963
 
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