Worldmaps Update

The recent update to Windows Azure went quite well!  The site is now using a single Azure webrole, a single Azure worker role, Azure Queues for workload, and Azure Blobs for storage.  It’s also using SQL Azure as the database.   From a user’s point of view, not much has changed but the performance and scalability has been much improved.  On the stats page, I implemented a few new stats … First up is the hourly breakdown of hits to a site.  Below is Channel 9’s current breakdown.   Neat way to tell when the traffic is heaviest to your site.  In this case, C9 is busiest at 3pm GMT, or about 9am-4pm EST.  In addition, Worldmaps includes country breakdown information: And, Stumbler has been updated a bit so be sure to check it out and watch traffic in real time! Finally, there’s change to the registration process.  To add some scalability, Worldmaps now stores data in one of two schemes.  The older scheme has been migrated to what is called a “plus” or enhanced account.  The newer scheme is the default, and it stores data in a much more aggregated way.   What determines how information is stored?  This is based off of an invitation code on the Create Map form: If no invitation code is provided, the newer scheme is used.  If a valid invite code is provided, the old, more detailed method is used.  If you’d like an invite code, drop me some feedback.What’s the difference?  Currently, the difference is pretty small.  On the stats page, current number of Unique IP's can not be calculated, so it looks like so: Future report options are a bit limited as well, but otherwise, all data (and Stumbler) is still available.

Worldmaps Update & EOY Changes

Hi folks!  I wanted to take the opportunity and outline a few changes for Worldmaps – both changes in the service, the backend, and new features. First up: Stumbler.  A link to Stumbler was added to the nav menu at the top of the page.  If you haven’t played around with Stumbler, check it out.  It maps users in near real time to websites. One of the biggest changes is the update to the new Bing Maps Silverlight control.  This doesn’t change much from the end-user point of view, but a few new features have been added so the UI in Stumbler is a bit cleaner around pushpins and effects.  In addition, there’s a new setting in the settings dialog to choose whether or not to scroll the map automatically.  Normally you zoom around the map automatically, but now you can turn that off to stay focused on a certain area. The other big new feature is multiple/extensible leaderboards.  The way it worked until now was there a single leaderboard for all users.  This “master leaderboard” is still there, but having sub leaderboards is a lot more interesting.  I defined a few leaderboards like “Tech Blogs” and “Personal Sites,” but will add more over time (leave feedback on new leaderboards!).  On the leaderboard page, the default view is the all-up leaderboard, while each leaderboard is displayed on the left nav.  To pick a leaderboard, log in to your account and edit your maps.  In the detail section, you’ll see a drop down that allows you to select a leaderboard (see image to the right).  I should also point out that the sub-boards are sorted based on hits per day, not total hits.  The other big change to outline is the end-of-year change.  At the end of the year, the individual hit data is reset.  This means all the red dots on the map will be wiped clean and start over again.  Data will be archived and available in some fashion, but this hasn’t been implemented yet.  Additionally, next year (2010) the main leaderboard will be sorted based on average hits per day.  Now to address the biggest architectural change:  if you’ve created an account on Worldmaps but haven’t gotten an email yet with the approval, fear not.  Unfortunately the volume is such that with limited infrastructure, there’s not much more that can be done.  This will soon change.  Worldmaps has been moved to Windows Azure, Microsoft’s cloud computing platform.  This should give Worldmaps a nice bump in scalability (limited really only by funds).  So stay tuned in early 2010 for more info.

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