This Week in Review: Early October Releases, Bug Fixes and More!

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Week of 10/4/19 – ZenDesk, Teams Improvements/Fixes, and More Stable Site Builds!

So here we are again friends! This week we see a lot of great changes landing in the release this week. Most of these items are only hitting production in yesterday’s release. However, some of these trickled out as hot fixes over the past week.

Let’s dig in to it!

Top Changes for Oct 2019’s First Release

    • New Support Platform (ZenDesk) Rolled Out & Bugs Fixed.
      I’ll dig into this one deeper in the post. The big take here is improvements to Support Workflows. Things like providing better support history, more structured processes and more.
    • Loads of Teams Improvements and Bug Fixes!
      Lots of new things on this front – we knew the initial release of this had some missing features…aiming for a gradual rollout after all. Yet, there were some minor bugs and flaws we saw once these were in the wild. So we’ve made loads of progress here, but not all the way done yet. Really, we’re just getting started.
    • More Stability in Site Build and Delete Scripts.
      In the recent weeks we noticed an increased number of tickets related to failing site builds. As we investigated this, it came down to some weird race conditions in build and delete scripts. This should mostly be improved at this point – the only tradeoff we made was slightly (very small) slower build times. [TL;DR: Reduced concurrency to gain stability!]
    • Default WordPress Admin Credentials Improvements.
      Default WordPress Admin credentials are autogenerated for every account, using the account email and username with a randomised password as default, these can be updated in the account settings and the username and password can now accept a wide range of special characters – exclusions include ” ‘ ` < > ( ) $ ; \ | &

– but you’re good to go with most every other character.

Improving Our Support Experience with New Tools

As I teased above, starting yesterday you all will have our new support system in place. Our old tool was a great tool for us getting started – we won’t knock it. Long term though, some of our core goals and use cases didn’t completely fit that system.

Saving the long story about our mission for another post. We strive to provide amazing customer support, so want tools that fit the best for our goals. Our new system should allow for more structured ticketing based support interactions. (So better history access for customers and our admins.)

We’re still solidifying some internal processes and docs around this – expect to see continued improvements. We’re also growing our team slowly but surely, and added a new Support Admin! So we welcome our new team member – you’ll see their name popping up in Chats and Tickets.

All the Teams Things!

(Less Bugs, More Fixes)
  • Added a UX Banner for Team Membership
    Makes it really obvious what team your account is currently looking at.
  • Fixed bug showing assets incorrectly – owner, staging, servers, sites, etc
  • Admins can now build sites correctly on servers they have access to
  • Client Users consistently have access to their assigned sites now
  • Team members can view logs and SSL notifications in most use cases
    Pretty great progress made on this effort, but still a little more to fix up. It should largely work, however there still are some use-cases/features where they won’t be fully visible.

A Note on Site Script Stability

On of the peskiest issues we’ve dealt with lately has been failing site builds. And/or site deletions. This would be an issue that would usually not affect a primary site and most often causes stage/canary to fail.

It might be instances where a failed – for some reason – but then clean up after the failed attempt also has an issue. Then subsequent builds fail due to duplicate DB issues. So one half of this issue is the process itself hitting a race condition and not fully executing. Aka, the broken clean up. And the other is, what should happen to better handle this unexpected state. Aka, working past the issue.

So our fix has been to spread out the build process to be slightly less concurrent. This keeps the system more stable and makes the issue state much less likely to occur overall. The other half is that when this is hit, we can now dump the conflicting DB for backup – then, it continue the process.

In a similar permutation of this issue, it can happen when a site is intentionally deleted. During that deletion – in some cases – a race condition could occur causing the site clean up to not fully complete. These cases should be covered in the fix too!

Pack It up Folks, It’s Closing Time

So this is our second big release since taking over the DevBlog – maybe I’ll bring cake when I hit 42 release posts? We covered a lot of BIG important changes, there were even more smaller changes in this release too. Those just as important.

Like Default WP Admin improvements (more supported characters), `dns/{site.url}.creds` parsing fixes and more than we can mention.

Coming Soon: New Types of Posts

Keep an eye out on your feedburner emails for some new types of content in the weeks to come! Unfortunately this one likely won’t fire off until the day after posting. I missed the trigger deadline – for today – I think. I didn’t want to get to sleep until I knew for sure our customers were going to be set with ZenDesk.

So, IMO, a totally justified tradeoff and completely worth the delay. Sometimes the best things really are worth waiting for.

One comment

  1. Thank you for putting the time into this blog! It’s very helpful to get these product updates! Very excited to see what the future holds for GridPane!

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