Blue-Green deployment strategy in the new website

Hello Folks, I’m Tariq Khurshid and I lead on the website’s Service Desk, Change & Release management. In this post I’d like to share with you the recent success we have had using “blue-green” release and deployment in the new website.

Blue-green deployment, also known as continuous delivery, is a design practice we use to automate and improve the process of software delivery to the website without any outages for customers. It means that every change is proven to be deployable at any time. The fundamental idea is to have two easily switchable hosting environments to switch between. Now that tfl.gov.uk is hosted on virtual servers in the cloud, this is relatively easy and cost effective.

Blue-Green Deployment

Blue-green deployment allows the team to develop software to a high standard, test independently of the live site and easily deploy to live.

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Reported issues on O2

8pm update – 13 June 2014

O2 have carried out a network update which should resolve this issue. To activate the update you may need to turn ‘flight mode’ on and off before refreshing the TfL website. After that it should work fine.

Please let us know if you still have any problems with this.

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Reported Issues with O2

We’re seeing some issues when customers try to access our site over the O2 mobile network. If you are with another provider which uses the O2 mobile network you may have this problem too – for example on Tesco Mobile, Giffgaff and Lycamobile.

What’s the problem?

For some users the site does not load properly and key features cannot be used. You can tell if you are affected because the ‘menu’ button at the top of the page does not load and the ‘Plan a journey’ box will not open up when you touch it.

TfL website with O2 loading problem

TfL website with O2 loading problem – note there’s no menu button at the top right

What should I do?

If you are being affected by this then using the link https://www.tfl.gov.uk will resolve it for now (the key bit being the ‘https’ part which switches to a secure connection).

When will it be fixed?

We are working with O2 to understand what is happening and to get it resolved as quickly as possible, whether that’s by making changes on our side or at the mobile network end of things.

Wifi usage is unaffected – the problem is only occurring when using a mobile connection.

If you are affected please let us know, we’re assessing how widespread the problem is.

New website 10 weeks on

It’s been just over 10 weeks since we launched the new site, and it’s a good opportunity to round up how the site is doing, what improvements we’ve made and our future plans.

How’s the new site doing?

The site is as busy as ever, with continued high usage from all types of devices.

TfL website key metrics from March to June 2014

Key metrics from March to June 2014

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Website traffic during the Tube strike

We’re seeing some high volumes of traffic on the site today (Wednesday 30th April), with 3 times the normal volume of traffic on average as people check out their travel options during the ongoing Tube strike.

This morning’s peak again fell between 7-8am (143,000 visits), although this was about 30 per cent fewer visits than during yesterday’s peak.

Visits to our website over the last 2 days, compared to a 'normal' day and February's strike

Hourly visits to our website over the last 2 days, compared to a ‘normal’ day and February’s strike


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Website content during Tube strikes

As you can imagine, it’s been very busy on the website in the past few days as people have wanted to find information about when the Tube strike would happen and what the impact would be.

Traffic volumes on the site

We’ll do a more specific post tomorrow about the traffic volumes and most popular content, but the headlines are that on Monday we received around 7 million page views in 1.6m visits from 1.3m unique users.  That’s a little more than twice our normal daily traffic.

In the evening we received around 600,000 page views between 10pm and 11pm – which proved to be the busiest hour of the day.

Website traffic volumes 28 April 2014

Website traffic volumes on Monday 28th April 2014

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Tube strike: Tools to help you get around

As most people will by now be aware, members of the RMT union have proposed another strike on London Underground from 21:00 on Monday 5 May for 72 hours.

On our website, you can find Travel advice for Tube customers including more about the Tube services we plan to run, with detailed information on each line.

We also have a range of other tools on our website and social media channels that you can use to help you get around during the strike.

Our real-time Twitter feeds will help you plan your journey during the Tube strike

Our real-time Twitter feeds will help you plan your journey during the Tube strike

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Statistics: How you are accessing our new site

Here are some simple statistics on the technology you have been using to access our new website in the first 16 days since its launch.

The big news is that mobile devices have officially overtaken desktop PCs and currently make up 52 per cent of all visits to our new site.

With 52% of visits, mobile devices have overtaken desktop in visits to our new site.


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