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.
The posts on this blog have kept you up to date on the design and development of our new website and given you a look behind the scenes as the build has progressed.
With the new site just about to launch, this short video summarises the key features and improvements we’ve made and what you can expect from the new site.
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
TfL’s social channels have played a key role in providing feedback on the Beta website
Our social media presence has been growing at an incredible pace in recent years as more and more users access the internet on mobile devices and real time information on the move becomes ever more important to our customers. To put that growth into context, just two years ago we had 2 Twitter feeds and 1 Facebook page with around 13,000 followers, and today we have 25 Twitter feeds and 2 Facebook pages with around 1.34 million followers.
As our audience has grown, interaction with our social content has risen dramatically
Today we’ve put the final features into our beta website. This means it’s finished and ready to replace our existing site. We’re going to run the two in parallel for a little while longer to give you the chance to comment on the new stuff and to check everything is working as expected. We’ll also use the time to make a few final tweaks and fix any major bugs.
Tube status update
Today we’ve launched the third major release into our ever-improving beta site. This one has two cool new tools to help you get around London using all the services that we have to offer.
Nearby is a completely new tool which places you on a map and shows you all the Tube, bus, river, Overground, DLR, National Rail and Cycle Hire locations around you.
You can interact with these on the map and get live information for all of them (apart from National Rail, which we’ll add in due course).
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.
The TfL beta website has won – twice – at The User Experience UK Awards
The User Experience UK Awards, created to recognise top class user-focused digital or service design, has awarded our new beta site its highest honour. Nominations came from a chosen batch of innovative UX offerings from organisations that aim to offer the best possible online experience to their customers.
The inaugural User Experience UK Awards is the first of its kind in the UK.
A fresh batch of features has been now been dropped into beta.tfl.gov.uk.
This is a significant development which includes service status updates on all modes of transport, new service boards for roads, river, trams and Emirates Airline along with additional content.
We now have a great interactive mapping tool for roads which works nicely on mobile, tablet and desktop and shows exactly which areas are affected, rather than just points.
Some might say it’s been a little quiet since the beta site launched back at the end of June, however we’ve been hard at work going through your feedback and building the remaining features of the site.
In the next few weeks you will see the next major release which features status and disruptions across all modes of transport.