Posts by Paul Campbell

Paul Campbell

On Our Recent Downtime

On my recent post about our current job openings, I linked to our status page which showed our near-100% uptime for the past 6 months. We had just weathered a bit of downtime due to a big sale.

The universe sent us another tricky situation this week, causing about an hour of spotty performance during a surge sale that, as it turned out, we should have been able to handle.

I’d like to talk a little bit about these recent downtime events, what caused them, and what we’re doing to prevent this kind of thing in the future.

A Bit of Background

The vast majority of the time, Tito isn’t an inordinately busy application. We serve several thousand organisers who sell a few thousand tickets every day. The problems occur when an event goes on sale at a given time, and lots of people hit the site at once.

This makes it hard to manage: unless we’re in direct contact with the organiser, we can’t anticipate one of these “spikes”, so we have to plan that they could happen at any given time.

Way back in the early days, we hadn’t done any load-testing, and there were a number of significant failures to handle what we would now consider moderate load. We knew we needed to do something, so we took the following steps:

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Paul Campbell

Do You Want to Build a Webapp?

In 2015, I wrote a blog post for AWS Startups about how we use a multi-az setup on Amazon to build in redundancy for every component in the Tito stack.

Two and a half years later, our infrastructure reliability has an excellent track-record. We even have a team of three in sales and marketing. There’s still one place where we need more hands: our engineering team.

In an effort to improve our bus factor, we’re looking for a developer and a designer to join our small team.

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Paul Campbell

Introducing a Series on Diversity

When Maria asked a selection of our customers what topics were important to them that we could research and write about, two topics came to the fore: sponsorship and diversity.

These two topics aren’t surprising. Both are challenging areas to get right. As a conference organiser, I’ve struggled with both of these. But they are tough in very different ways. 

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Paul Campbell

Welcoming Maria to Team Tito

“And we’ve done it all without any marketing”, is a phrase that I commonly reach for after talking about Tito numbers, growth or sales figures. It’s a bit disingenuous though. Without marketing, we wouldn't have a website, no blog, and we’d never have gone to any conferences to talk to potential customers.

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Changelog: Commit message quality control edition

It has been almost eight months since our last changelog post, too long and with things not so fresh in my mind I have been going through our commit logs to remind me what changes have been made.

But first, after reviewing eight months of commit logs I spotted some quality commit messages that got past our QA department. Authors who will remain nameless, you know who you are ;-) The most descriptive commit message award has to be given to “see if this is better”, the most confusing award goes to “unescape tennis”, the most worrying for “no idea” and the best intentions but otherwise useless goes to “making Paul happy”. The overall winner had to be “oops #pantsdown”. (Sorry)

Anyway here a list of some of the smaller changes we have been making. For the bigger changes and new features stay posted, updates are coming soon.

  • Introduced a new file question type so files can be attached to tickets.
  • Interested people can now be imported in bulk.
  • Tickets can be now be duplicated.
  • iCalendar (.ics) files are now attached to ticket emails.
  • Added the ability to embed Wistia videos on event pages to go with YouTube, Vimeo and a couple of others.
  • Organised and added more detailed descriptions of the settings in the Customise section.
  • Added Foursquare support for event venues.
  • Fixed the “Contact the organizer” mailto link which wasn’t working in Chrome.
  • Imports can now contain UTF-8 characters.
  • Reworked our import pages to give a better indication of their progress.
  • Added support for .xsls imports.
  • Added country name to ticket webhook requests.
  • Added progress indicators for Excel, Pdf, Zip file exports.
  • Fixed Excel exports so phone numbers would be handled correctly.
  • Added the ability to export CSV/Excel versions of receipts.
  • Moved the currency symbol from every row to just the header row in exports.
  • The refund type e.g. logged in Tito only or logged and processed is now included in the Orders export.
  • Fixed some registration fields and checkbox question fields which were not being highlighted correctly when left unanswered.
  • Fixed the used discount quantity on zero value discount codes and discount codes applied to free tickets.
  • The ordering of questions when they are attached to both Tickets and Activities can now be controlled.
  • Add filters to find expired waitlist offers and to find used or unused discount codes.
  • Fixed a bug in the 24 hour summary email where the event totals was being counted up to the time the email was sent instead of up to the end of the previous day.
  • Added a setting to control the title/description of links to your event when they are posted on Twitter, Facebook or Slack.
  • Updated the public timeline of events page.
  • Added Tito fees VAT to the figures on the Reports screen.
  • Introduced a setting to prevent event pages being added to search engines.