As I was working on the app, I noticed the server was running quite strangely. The app started not responding, and I began seeing several database errors on the server. And then, I could not connect to the database. After an unsuccessful attempt to reinstall the database, restoring the entire server from a backup was made. I lost all data from approximately 8:00am AKDT to just after midnight. However, I am happy to report that everything has been restored and appears to be functioning fine. Thank goodness for backups.
Month: July 2022
Testing is going well on the next iteration of the Amazing Aurora app! I am dusting off some neglected areas and using some polish to shine it all up. The new version is also going to incorporate the ability to put the app into a maintenance mode. Although I do not expect to need to use it often, there may be times when things “under the hood” need to be addressed. In an effort to minimize confusion among users, a maintenance flag can be set to shut down usage of the app. It also helps cut down on error logs on the server while things are being tested to ensure they work in the live environment.
Speaking of maintenance, this has been high on my list for the past year. There were a lot of IDs generated early on and, potentially, some stale duplicates left over from early testing. That said, the server now runs an hourly check to see if users have been inactive for at least six months. If so, the ID information for that user is wiped clean from the database. Since aurora season runs for the “Great North” from August to April and is silent, for the most part, from May to August, six months seemed like a great compromise to keep things tidied up a bit.
I hope you are as excited as I am for the next season of aurora chasing! The app only continues to get better thanks to the user base providing feedback and, quite frankly, running the wheels off the bus! You all are amazing!
The settings screen in the app got a makeover. Switches and sliders are gone. They felt clunky and, after some tester feedback (thanks, Chad!), the decision was made to kill the sliders for Kp and HPI alert values. Instead, subscribers can now toggle these up and down with arrows. It’s simpler, cleaner, and easier to adjust.
I’m putting the finishing touches up on this version! The goal is to have all the bugs, kinks, and design flaws worked out by Sunday so I can push to Google and Apple. This will allow time to tweak anything I may have missed, policy wise, before the end of the month. Who’s ready for aurora season?! I know I am!
I am feverishly working on several aspects of updating the app for the upcoming season. I am grateful for the feedback I have received from users through either email, Facebook messenger, text, or even through the app reviews on the stores. Those really give me direction to continue working on improving the experience (aurora and app) for everyone! If you are curious, here is a list of things I am working on to get the app updated by August 1st:
- Black loading/reloading screens to kill the white (kills night vision) reload pages
- Adding the hemispheric power input to an alert so users can get advanced notice when potential increases (subscriber feature)
- Cleaning up and adjusting notifications; uncovered some issues with keys and programming logic
- Cleaning up the server and moving old data to its own archived database
It’s been a pretty busy off-season working behind the scenes, but I am confident the changes will only make the app, user experience, and community much better! And, I wouldn’t be where I am without the help of a few patient souls. A special shout out to Chad, Rachel, and Sarah for being testers and providing feedback on this next iteration of Amazing Aurora!
This post is just to test the landing page for the new maintenance mode coming with version 7.
I am excited to report that version 7 of the app is now with the testers to dig up any bugs or design flaws! I am anxious to get this one out as it implements some user suggestions and allows subscribers to fine-tune their alerts even further with the HPI notifications. When HPI hits a certain level, you can be alerted. This will work very well if you know what the hemispheric power typically is when you see aurora activity in your area!
I am still on track to have this latest update out before the season starts back up for those of us in Alaska!