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Friday, February 1, 2013

Improvement to HUD - How to Better Manage Your Queues


If you're an Iron.io user, you’ve probably noticed improvements in our HUD over the last few months. We’ve gotten great input from customers on what they wanted to see and we took that to heart. We also released some new features like push queues and needed a way to bring them out within the dashboard.

Here’s a rundown of some of the things we’ve added to the HUD. We're confident users will find them useful in helping them manage their queues.

IronMQ - Messages vs Queue Size

We’ve improved the analytics screens for IronMQ so that you can see queue sizes against messages on an hourly basis.

For most applications, messages are the lifeblood of a working system. Seeing how your app is handling messages over time is critical. This view now gives you a key snapshot to stay on top of your system’s performance.

Messages vs Queue Size



IronMQ - Messages vs API Requests

We’ve also added an aggregate view of messages and API requests over time by project. Note that there’s no right metric here – some systems may poll more frequently than others. In these cases, the ratio between requests and messages may change over time.

With queues with less polling or that use push queues, the ratio of messages to requests may be more tightly aligned. (Note that even with frequent polling, the requests won’t come even close to the amount we provide free so you should poll away if you need to stay on top of inbound messages.)

Messages vs API Requests



IronMQ - Push Queue Control

Push Queues are a big feature that we released recently. Instead of polling for messages on the queue, push queues let developers send messages to subscribers whenever they hit the queue. This pattern provides greater flexibility when it comes to message handling. For one, you can eliminate a polling process and just send messages to a destination. For another, you can reduce the maximum time that messages might spend on the queue.

You can control push queues via the API but you can also do so now via the HUD. Want to adjust the retry limit or the delay between retries, or add an endpoint for message to hit? Not a problem. Just pull up the queue and adjust it in the HUD.

Push Queue Control



IronMQ - Improved Getting Started (cURL Sandbox)

In the Get Started section of IronMQ, we’ve added a sandbox that lets users put messages onto a queue and then get and delete them by using cURL commands within a simple text box.

The great thing about cloud-based services is that they’re always on. You get immediate service just by accessing an API. By giving new users an ability to use IronMQ from a text box in the HUD makes it that much easier to see how the service works and allow them to get up and running that much more quickly.

IronMQ Get Started (cURL Sandbox)


Other Improvements

You’ll notice other improvements as well, small touches that we hope make Iron.io easier to use or give you better insight into what’s happening in your cloud application.

An example is on the Projects page. We added an activity level indicator to help you find active projects more easily. The bars indicate the relative activity over the last several days.

Project Activity (Project page)

We’ve also been spending time on improving outbound reports by providing better views into daily, weekly and monthly usage, for example. Here's a list you can select. Keep an eye out for event more monitoring and alert capabilities.
Communication Options

Team IronHUD

The main drivers behind the changes are Alexander Shapiotko and Andy Burkovetsky.

Alexander handled the feature interaction, coding and tying it into the service APIs. He came up with many of the ideas and put them in place almost in the same day. (We often have a hard time keeping up with what he puts up on our staging servers.)

Andy handled the graphics and layout, translating what we want to do into some great visuals and even better interactions.



What’s Next

We’re always working on improving your view into what’s happening with your message queues, task processing, and data caching. You’ll continue to see improvements in the HUD and in the reports we send out.

If you have any special requests – something that will make our services better or easier to use – please let us know. Same thing if something's wonky with the interface. Send us a note via our support channel or check in at our public chat room. We love getting input.