We’ve been making big changes to Affino this year. In some cases we’ve had to take a step back so we can go forwards. The move to HTML 5 from Flash is one of the more significant ones.
We’ve re-written many aspects of Affino which used to be Flash / Flex based so that they are now HTML based. This includes: all the Control Centre navigation, much of the Media Library, new HTML-based highlights elements, and the chat interfaces.
Some of you will have noticed that the Affino service has been going through a turbulent period this week. We have made some big steps already in resolving these issues, however we are having to make some tough decisions and one of those is how to modernise the Dashboards which are one of the few Flash based elements left in Affino.
Until now it has been possible in Affino to see that a user looked at a particular story 11 months ago at 10:21 AM. In reality nobody cares that Fred looked at a story 11 months, 3 days, 2 hours and 22 seconds ago. In an infinite data and unlimited performance world this is great, in practice all the data can be a real drag on Affino’s performance.
The Dashboards can be even more of a drag since we put no restrictions on how they could be used, meaning that a single dashboard screen could bring up an aggregate of every page view, every user session, every purchase ever and then step up through multiple variations until a result was presented.
What we have found out is that this just doesn’t scale. So we’re hitting the reset button.
We’re taking a couple of big steps back in the short term and will then take some big steps forward with the Dashboards in 2012. The biggest problem with the dashboards is that they were all written in Flash / Flex which everyone now knows has no future. We’re not investing any more in them and instead we’ll be creating an entirely new Dashboard platform in HTML 5 next year.
In the meantime we can’t have the existing Dashboards hampering Affino’s performance so we’re going to be pre-loading an updated version which has two major limitations compared to previous releases:
1) They will only step up to 30 days of data.
2) They no longer automatically step up until they find data to report on.
This means you can use the Dashboards to do all the day-to-day management as before, but you will need to export data and rely more on Google Analytics if you want to have things like long-term sales reports for the near future.
It also means that you will need to re-configure your dashboards from today to show data, especially if you have charts / reports showing everything since the beginning of your site launch.
Next year we will be rolling out great new HTML 5 based dashboards. These will be a big step forward and will work on all devices, from the iPad to your Android phone. Although you lose some functionality in the short term, we believe that in the long term it is worth it.