Last night's changes to Tempo

2009-03-24 20:00:00 -0400

Last night we deployed a pretty substantial update to Tempo, our time tracker. Many of the changes are unseen, nuanced, and/or performance-related, so I want to give our customers an update on what we’ve done. It looks like a short list, but it was quite a bit of work. Details follow for some of the more significant changes.

Improved Time Zone Support

This was a huge update. In order to support future planned features we needed to overhaul our handling of time localization. There were a couple of hiccups last night during the deploy related to this, but we’ve got it worked out now. Tempo does browser-based detection of your time zone for new users, setting your time zone preference. On the Account screen you can now change this preference, should you so desire.

Remote Command Stability Upgrade

As mentioned last week, we’ve done a bit of work to make sure that our remote command message handlers are rock solid in the face of weird input via email, and outages on Twitter. The remote command handlers are Looper daemons that check to see if you’ve sent in time entries or timers by email or Twitter.

Batch Tagging Performance

Also mentioned here previously, the batch tagging interface received a serious speed bump. This was a bit tricky, because we’ve been caching tags as a concatenated string on the entries for performance. Nothing a little PL/PgSQL can’t fix.

Rails Upgraded

It’s no secret that Tempo is a RubyOnRails application. It started it out on 1.2 and we’ve kept upgrading with each update to the framework; we’re now on the 2.3 series. This brings significant performance and flexibility improvements. It may not seem like a big deal, but the amount of work that goes into making these upgrades a success is well worth the sweat considering the capabilities it opens up for Tempo in the future.

Potential XSS Vulnerabilities Closed

Being a security company, we try to never take the appearance of security for granted. We decided to give our code a thorough review to plug any potential cross-site-scripting vulnerabilities. Generally speaking, such holes allow an attacker to execute malicious Javascript in your browser. Such code can execute as you inside the application in question, which can wreak all sorts of havoc. Fortunately, we’ve been really on top of this from the beginning, so we only found a couple of instances in Tempo where this was possible, and plugged up the few holes we found.

Coming Soon!

That’s that for this update, but there’s a lot more coming around the corner. We have a new feature that’s almost ready, and we’re working with nGen Works to develop a new graphic design and improve the user experience dramatically.

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