Launch day morning

Last night I should have gone to bed early, but these things being how they are I stayed up late having tea with my housemate and his friend. I wanted to get up early, because I knew a few things needed tidying before we started getting media coverage, so I set my alarm. I haven’t done that for work for years! So I’m a bit sleepy.

The most important early thing I did was make the front page featured pledges appear in a random order, for more fairness and serendipity. Late last night Chris had added code in to fuzzily find pledges which somebody has typed in. It uses the database to look for the number of common three letter substrings, so if you type in “” it gives a nice error page leading you to go to “”. It’s pretty good, and all I had to do was tidy up the text a bit, and add it to the search page as well.

By that time everyone else was up, and the no2id people were publicising their pledge. We were all on IRC, and tailing various logfiles. There were quite a few minor tidy ups for us to make to the launch pledges that were made over the weekend, changing text and signup numbers for the creators a bit.

Someone spotted that the “all pledges” page had the wrong calculated count for one of the pledges. This was very odd, as it was right for all the others. I downloaded a fresh dump of the database to my local machine, where everything was fine. Meanwhile, Chris noticed the PHP server was crashing. After more investigation, we found a subtle bug was creating a corrupt PHP variable. Calling “gettype” on it caused the PHP process to stop with an error, and calling number_format crashed the whole thing. We’re still not sure quite what PHP bug caused this, and need to investigate it more. But we found a simple workaround which stopped it causing any more trouble.

You always find all the bugs when your traffic goes up! That’s why staged beta getting larger and larger, of which today is in many ways the next phase, is the way to go.