Analytics & Monitoring
The day-to-day life at Answers.com has us interacting with the site frequently, from answering questions to checking our score on the leaderboard. Spending so much time on Answers gives us a pretty good idea of how the site feels, but it doesn’t necessarily give us a good idea of web vitals performance. To measure how we are doing on a daily and monthly basis, we rely on the tools provided by Treo.
With Treo, we can monitor many different pages of our site and see the historical data; this allows us to easily track the small incremental changes that we have made in the past to now in the present where we are in the green for web vitals.
Another useful tool that we use at Answers is Google Analytics. Google Analytics provides a variety of features. One of which is to record metrics on many aspects of the site ranging from the number of logins to the performance of a test that we are running on the site. This data allows us to see how the changes we made affect how a user interacts with the site, giving us solid feedback on certain features that are positively or negatively affecting performance.
Deployment & Automation
Building and deploying different branches of code often occurs at Answers. For this process to go as smoothly as possible, we rely on Jenkins, the open-source automation server, to make this process a seamless one. With our build process, we select a server and a branch we would like to deploy to and hit build. Once this is finished, Jenkins takes over and does all the heavy lifting. It starts by pulling the code from GitHub, builds all the necessary components, and finally pushes the code to the correct AWS EC2 instance.
Along with using Jenkins to deploy new features and bug fixes to Answers, we also use it for various other things ranging from automatically running scripts to answer questions that users have asked, to sending out scheduled email blasts.
Jenkins is a very versatile tool that we expect will serve us well for years to come.
Libraries & Frameworks
Our backend at Answers is powered by Laravel, a PHP framework that allows us to focus on what needs to get done instead of worrying about a bunch of little things. Laravel powers quite a few things on our backend including our administration panel for Answers.
There are far more tools that we haven’t even mentioned in this article that are important to the day-to-day operations of Answers, ranging from product planning tools to communication software. While we use many tools at Answers this is just a high-level overview of the products and technology we use to bring you the experience that you have today on the site.