Hooray! After about a year of development, we launched version 4.0 of the Outskirts Press self-publishing website over Memorial Day weekend. The whole operation went smoother than we expected, thanks in large part to our amazing technical team, headed by our Chief Technical Officer, Lynn.
For anybody involved in website and/or softare development, you already know that migrating a large website or software platform from one version to the next is fraught with difficulty and potential potholes. Luck favors the prepared, as they say, so we took great precautions to make the transition from Version 3 to Version 4 as seamless as possible for our authors.
This meant running a parallel version of 4.0 on an alternate test server for a month before launch as we continually tested and revised it for final release. This also meant a full-blown “test launch” on the Tuesday before Memorial Day to see if the data migrated successfully. The first test launch presented some unforeseen problems, which the developers resolved over the course of the next couple of days. We ran another test launch on Thursday and this one was successful, thereby green-lighting the live migration on Saturday evening. We purposefully aimed for the middle of the Memorial Day weekend when our anticipated web traffic would be relatively low. One of the “perks” for people in IT and website development fields is that they rarely get holidays off for this very reason — holidays are the best times to make large changes to B2B and B2C platforms.
Our IT team worked throughout the night to ensure that the “scheduled maintenance” message on our website was up for as short of a period as possible. The new site went live around 7am mountain time Sunday morning, giving us Sunday and Monday of Memorial Day weekend to collect any dust that had gathered from the reconstruction.
Our website development and enhancements are an on-going function– or perhaps catalyst– of our continuous fast growth, so the live launch of Version 4 didn’t necessarily mark a “welcome relief” in IT’s eyes. But it certainly was a big step, marked by many long nights, and now we’re happy to finally introduce it to our current and future authors.
In the coming posts I’ll discuss many of the improvements that come with Outskirts Press 4.0. I’ll also discuss some of the additional complexities that such a large migration can add to operational processes, and how one can overcome them…