Thanks for popping by, I’m Tariq Khurshid and lead on the website (www.tfl.gov.uk), Service Desk, Change & Release Management. In this blog I’d like to share with you the success we have enjoyed using the “blue/green” approach for software release and deployment in the new website.
This is a summary of our experience doing blue/green software deployments and releases to tfl.gov.uk using Amazon Web Services (AWS) cloud infrastructure.
Blue/green deployment of software to the website is a process that we use to safely release new versions of (www.tfl.gov.uk) without any down time or outages for customers.
The key to success is to maintain two identical production environments to switch between. As (www.tfl.gov.uk) is now hosted on virtual servers in the cloud, this is relatively easy and cost effective.
Blue/green deployment allows us to develop software to a high standard, test independently of the live site and easily package and then deploy to live. This means we have the ability to rapidly, reliably and repeatedly push out enhancements and bug fixes to (www.tfl.gov.uk) at low risk, with minimal overheads, and best of all,….. no outages for customers.
In Part 1 of this post I talked about the reasons we have not released a TfL app alongside our new website, and how our ‘open data’ policy powers around 200 apps currently in use. Part 2 looks more closely at apps, including issues around apps for our transactional services such as Oyster.
Can you recommend a good app?
We don’t recommend specific apps as that wouldn’t be fair, but there are lots of good public transport apps available and you can view recommendations in the app stores and make up your own mind. They are generally low cost, so if you don’t get on with one of them you can easily move on to another.
To fill a gap, we ran a competition to encourage developers to produce apps with accessibility features
A question we’ve been asked many times when gathering feedback on our new website is when we’ll develop smartphone apps for travel tools such as Journey Planner, maps, bus and Tube arrivals and service status.
What many people don’t realise is that, while we don’t provide a smartphone app ourselves, we provide all the data that powers the 200 or so apps which are already available.
Our ‘open data’ approach means that our data is already used to power around 200 apps
I’m Gerard, and I work on the data side of the new Journey Planner, contributing to its technical specification.
Complementing the award-winning user experience work being done on the new website, we are hard at work ensuring that the dataset which powers Journey Planner is constantly being improved to meet the ever-growing demands of website users and open data subscribers.
How we deliver
In this post I’m going to outline the way in which we, as a team, have delivered this project to date as well as highlight some of the processes and tools we’ve utilised and hopefully give a bit more perspective on the scale of some of the tasks this project is trying to overcome.