Keeping the Autovist Dashboard Fast… and a surprise discovery

While performance tuning the database to solve Dashboard timeouts, we made a surprise discovery about how tweets and their embedded URLs are actually being used.

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Create custom URL-click tracker in less than 5 minutes

Google Analytics is a powerful tool when your site has thousands of visitors a day or more. But it isn’t so good at showing you the most popular links on your site; nor does it allow you to work directly with the data your site generates and sends to it.

The reason we wanted to do this is because the Vaccine Ingredient Calculator’s Ingredient Report has a huge amount of links for more information and it would be really helpful to know the order in which our VIC users find them to be useful.  Depending upon vaccine choices, there could be up to 90 links!

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Adding index reduces query from 80 seconds to less than half a second

After bringing the production database down to my local dev machine and restoring it in order to use the latest data to develop against, I could no longer load the Dashboard for my @VaxCalc account as it kept timing out. Autovist has posted more than 25,000 tweets for @VaxCalc tracking multiple broadcasts of each tweet, url clicks and RTs for each of the broadcasts. Was this large number of tweets killing performance somehow?

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Protecting customers & visitors with Google’s SafeBrowsing API

It took just a day to begin protecting our customers (and anybody who clicks on a link shared by our customers) with the SafeBrowsing API.  I’m very pleased with our experience with it.  Google provides good setup documentation, so I won’t go into the setup details.  Instead, I’ll delve into an overview of how it works and what I’ve learned so far.

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Supporter Database and State-Level Legislative Strength

One of the most interesting systems I ever created was a Grassroots supporter database that:

  • combined multiple lists of donors, supporters, email subscribers and action alert subscribers
  • ran all addresses through Google Maps to show hot spots of support at state levels
  • obtained GIS coordinates via Google Maps API and ran them through Sunlight Foundation’s API to discover which state legislators represented the largest number of supporters and donors (where do we have leverage?)

The Grassroots supporter database helped the organization know which legislators they could most powerfully lobby via a larger number of supporters in their districts.

Here is a view of support across Virginia:

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