On the last day of March we put up our Español release! Given that Luke and I were both in spanish-speaking countries for the middle of the month (he saw Machu Picchu while I’ll sat on a beach in Mexico) it’s a smaller release than many. Still, we added some essential features to our internal tools so we can offer even better support.
But back to the vacations. When you’re a two-person dev team, it’s generally a good idea for at least one of you to be, at all times, near a working internet connection. That’s, like, day one at computer school. (Not that either of us went to a computer school. I’m not even sure they had computers in my school.)
As it happened though, our trips were both scheduled by outside groups. Thus there was little we could do when we found out they overlapped and we would be without a dev on standby. If something went wrong with a server we were SOL. The scary blackout period would last for 4 days.
Four days! That’s an eternity on the internetisphere!
We quickly developed a plan: cross our fingers and drink heavily.
Actually, we remixed our release schedule a bit and, for the weeks prior to leaving, we refocused on one thing: stability. Test this, test that, fix this, break that, fix the thing you break, test some more. You know the drill.
I landed back in Canada on a Friday night, turned on my cell phone and hoped it didn’t buzz itself apart.
Probably not a gamble I’m likely to take again, but this time it paid off and we returned from our respective trips refreshed, re-energized and slightly-less-white. (We’re still very white.) And as a bonus we came back to a more stable, less-buggy site and with no fires to put out, we were instantly ready to attack some new features.
I’m not big on lessons but if I was, I’d say this: slowing down is okay. It’s easy to move fast, release buggy software, and work yourself to death on new features such that even the IDEA of testing makes you reach for the tequila.
But that’s bad. Testing is good. Taking a break is good. Slow down. And remember what my father (may have) said, “When drinking from the tequila bottle of life, sip, don’t shoot.”