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flyteach
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Old July 31st, 2020, 03:30 PM
Rob, thanks. Yeah, I think a persistent toast would be nice. You could also get rid of the persistent toast about multiple logins.....I'd think that one only needs to be there for 5 or 10 seconds. Right now, I have to x it each time it comes up. I'll also suggest that the system stabilize for the week of a premium convention. It would certainly prevent last minute changes, especially during the final battle. While it's nice for a few to have nice shiny things on day 1, the rest of us have to contend with the fallout of any issues, usually manifesting in several outages over the past couple of years.
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rob
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Old July 31st, 2020, 04:55 PM
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Originally Posted by flyteach View Post
I'll also suggest that the system stabilize for the week of a premium convention. It would certainly prevent last minute changes, especially during the final battle. While it's nice for a few to have nice shiny things on day 1, the rest of us have to contend with the fallout of any issues, usually manifesting in several outages over the past couple of years.
The problem is that we can't release the books until their "street date". And we don't receive the books from the publishers far enough in advance to be able to get them finished in advance. And even if we did get them far enough in advance, we're gonna overlook something in all of our testing that will be uncovered by actual users.

Given that a LOT users want the nice shiny things the day it's released, it's a no-win situation for us when the book launches in the middle of a big show (e.g. PaizoCon or GenCon).
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slate
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Old July 31st, 2020, 09:59 PM
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You make it sound so easy when you say it like that!

This was something I wanted in place more than a year. Alas, I then found out the server code had to be completed rewritten (see my comments here for more info). During the rewrite process, I've probably put about 50% of the necessary infrastructure into place to accomplish this, but there's still a meaningful chunk of work left to do. And then a TON of testing.

As you surmised, an additional factor has been that most releases (aside from these GenCon hotfixes) entail a bunch of database changes to incorporate the new capabilities we've been steadily adding. That increases the complexity greatly, and definitely wouldn't be supported at first, but we could still use the transition approach for hotfixes that are code changes only, like we've needed the past few days.

So it's definitely something I want to do - and have been working towards in pieces - but we're not there yet. My goal is to be there by the end of the year, finishing up the missing pieces interspersed with all the other new stuff that's in the queue.
Awesome man, as a DevOps engineer for a long time, I feel your pain. It takes a lot to get there and do it correctly. Starting off on the wrong foot didn't help. Glad you're getting closer and closer!
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slate
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Old July 31st, 2020, 10:14 PM
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Originally Posted by rob View Post
The problem is that we can't release the books until their "street date". And we don't receive the books from the publishers far enough in advance to be able to get them finished in advance. And even if we did get them far enough in advance, we're gonna overlook something in all of our testing that will be uncovered by actual users.

Given that a LOT users want the nice shiny things the day it's released, it's a no-win situation for us when the book launches in the middle of a big show (e.g. PaizoCon or GenCon).
I'm with you on this one. It's lose-lose - people are gonna be upset either way.
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flyteach
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Old August 1st, 2020, 05:07 AM
Rob, I guess we'll have to agree to disagree. Sure a LOT of users want shiny the first day. But aren't there a LOT MORE users who want stability during the biggest game convention of the year and not having a session interrupted? Are you saying that the majority of your customer base has already purchased APG?
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rob
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Old August 1st, 2020, 02:18 PM
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Originally Posted by flyteach View Post
Rob, I guess we'll have to agree to disagree. Sure a LOT of users want shiny the first day. But aren't there a LOT MORE users who want stability during the biggest game convention of the year and not having a session interrupted? Are you saying that the majority of your customer base has already purchased APG?
Your argument assumes that ALL of our users will use HLO over the GenCon weekend, which is not correct. If the focus is instead on the portion of our users that are actually using HLO over the GenCon weekend, then the answer to your second question may actually be yes. I don't have exact numbers, so I can't say that as an absolute.

The bigger factor to consider is that a large contingent of our users consider it a huge selling point of Hero Lab to always have access to the latest shiny bits the day they get released by the publisher. To them, if we didn't have the new books available the day they become available, then they would view HLO as "not usable" for the ENTIRE GenCon weekend. Which is a whole different calculus compared to a 5-minute outage once in a 24-hour period to deploy a hotfix.

So this is definitely a no-win situation. And we will continue releasing the books on the publisher street dates for the reasons above.

Hopefully, by next GenCon (ideally PaizoCon), we'll have the transparent server transition solution in place, and this will be a non-concern. Everyone will get the books they want on the street date, and there will be no service interruptions for anyone. <fingers crossed>
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flyteach
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Old August 1st, 2020, 02:55 PM
Rob, I will certainly cross my fingers with you. I know it's been a longer, hard road than originally anticipated. OTOH, the new Starfinder book is not available, so I guess you can put me in the box of the user that didn't get new shiny on release day. And yet, HLO is perfectly usable, the same as it was before, albeit without shiny new stuff. But, it's certainly NOT unusable.
Also, FWIW, that 5 minute outage was mainly during the boss fight at a major con. I do appreciate the one last night being outside of main table games.
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rob
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Old August 1st, 2020, 03:27 PM
As for the bad timing of the release on Thursday, it was regrettable. I apologized already, and I'm happy to do it again.

FWIW, I circled back on our end and discovered that we weren't given complete information by the publisher regarding event timing. That's why our person who supposedly was "in the know" didn't flag a conflict when we asked her. Could we have double-checked all that information ourselves? Yes, we could have. SHOULD we have needed to double-check it? That's a separate question that we'll be discussing with the publisher. Suffice to say that we were so focused on bug fixing that we (wrongly) assumed we were given accurate and complete information. The rest, as they say, is history.

At least we got our timing corrected for the next night's hotfix.
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