While it may seem like things have been a little quiet on the blog, we’ve been quite busy taking care of a few housekeeping items. Boring as they may seem, they actually have great benefit to you the customer. First of all, last week we migrated the site to a new architecture that is designed to run much faster and scale much better. The growth we have experienced over the past year has been fantastic and this architecture change is necessary to keep things running smoothly.
For those curious, the new architecture is called a “Hybrid” environment that allows the WorshipPlanning.com database to run on dedicated hardware, while the website itself is served from virtual servers called Cloud servers. If you are a real geek like we are, you can read more about the exact environment on Rackspace’s website. And by the way, in this new environment we are able to better track server and site performance. The great news is that it takes our servers (on average) less than half a second to serve up most pages.
Another environment enhancement that will be of indirect (although very positive) benefit to you is new error tracking. It used to be that errors encountered by users on the site required you to manually submit them. We’ve enhanced the system such that any site errors are automatically reported directly to us with a plethora of information (and often, you won’t even notice the error). We are putting a priority on fixing the cause of the errors, which is much easier with the new automatic information we get. Our goal is a 100% error free site, and we really aren’t that far from it.
A few weeks ago we updated the site with a new way to handle password storage, password resets, and user authentication. Your passwords have always been secure sitting in our database behind our hardened firewall. But we’ve taken the added measure of one-way encrypting your passwords so that they cannot be decrypted and viewed by us (or anyone else, for that matter). As a result, we’ve updated the way we handle requests from people that have forgotten or never received their password. Instead of sending you the password we have on file for you (which we can’t do anymore due to the encryption), we send you a special “reset password” link to the email address you have associated with your account. The link is unique and expires after a certain amount of time. On the reset page you are prompted to enter a new password (twice, for confirmation). And of course, that new password is encrypted before it is stored in our database. As a side note, passwords are now case-sensitive.
We are working on some really cool stuff that should be ready for you before fall. Keep an eye on our blog, twitter, and facebook accounts for updates! Also, you might see an opportunity to take a survey or two for a chance to win an iTunes gift card. Watch for any messages about this on the home page of your account.