Our rapid pace of software development is also allowing us to meet the needs of our race directors and timers. There are several important parts to this:
- Cultural. We listen to our users and try to implement their suggestions.
- Great Developers. The fact is great developers work faster and better. We are lucky to have some of the best.
- PHP and MVC architecture. We can make a change to a single page and not have to redeploy the entire site.
- Automated Processes and Monitoring. We are highly automated in our processes. And with our recent addition of New Relic we can get instant feedback if something is going wrong.
As an example, we did about 20 “deployments” last week. All of them were small changes, but they each made the site just a bit better in some way.
One of the changes we made today was to make sure there were 0 people affected when we did a small deployment. Before today there was a remote chance (less than 1%) that if a user went from one page to the next they might not get the right set of styles and graphics on their browser.
Of course we will still need to do occasional larger changes and upgrades. These are designed to be only a few per year and only for 10 minutes windows (hopefully, unless something goes wrong!). We will give our users warnings when these come up and we will do a semi-annual wrap-up on availability of our service to provide as much transparency as possible.