And we can't see it stopping any time soon. We've been contacted by a publication (let's call it "Eebowai Mag") that plans on reviewing 2cloud in an issue at the end of July/beginning of August. We'll let you know more information as it becomes available and we're sure it's okay for us to publish it. Suffice to say, Eebowai Mag has several hundred times more readers every day than we do users since January 1st, 2011. And considering we've had over 16,000 users since January 1st, that's not saying nothing.
Ever since we were contacted by Eebowai Mag, the team has been in lockdown, trying to get updates and improvements ready. But Tino (the project manager) and I have been in lengthy discussions about how to make the application scale to support an influx of users. We don't think we'll get all the readers of Eebowai Mag by any of stretch of the imagination, but if we get even one tenth of a percent of them, it will bankrupt us rather quickly. A sustainable system for supporting the application has been our top priority ever since July 1st. We've come up with a system, and I hope you'll like it.
The problem, as I see it, is that we can't pay for all of you to use this as much as you want. I wish we were a multi-million dollar company and could. I really do. But we have a very limited bank account and as our only product is losing money, it tends to dwindle pretty quickly. Your donations are appreciated and amazing and wonderful, but they, unfortunately, don't cover the balance, or even most of it. So if we do nothing, our server will be going down. We started by just assuming this would happen, and planning for it. Our first course of action was to make sure we fail gracefully. We want to make sure you know what is happening. We want to make sure the app doesn't just force close, or silently fail and leave you wondering what happened. We want it to return an error message saying "We're over quota. We'll be back tomorrow."
And this train of thought led us to an idea. What if we do that, but let you pay to get around it? I mean, we can't pay more money--we don't have it--but if you have the money to pay for your usage after that and want to, who says you shouldn't be able to? So we're going to do two things:
- We're going to set the App Engine quota high. Unconscionably high. So high, we'll never be able to pay for more than a couple days of it.
- We're going to implement our own "soft quota". We're keeping track on our server of how many resources we're using, and when we hit the limit for resources we can pay for, we fail gracefully. We say "Sorry, we're out of quota". But we also offer to let you pay $1 to get around the quota. Right now, we're saying $1 buys you the rest of the day. We still need to do some testing to figure out what those numbers should be-- it could wind up being $1 to get a week of no quota.
A lot of this work was already done. Our team has been feverishly working since July 1st to implement this. We've also been refactoring our codebase so it's readable and takes advantage of everything we've learned in the last year. We were really hoping to have a beta release for you today, but fell barely short. We'll be releasing something to our beta testers tomorrow, if everything goes as planned.
It has been a really exciting year. 2cloud has grown significantly in the last year, and the team has grown with it. We're much better at handling an open source project. We're much better at writing scalable, efficient software. We still have a long way to go in both those. We owe a lot to a lot of people for that. One person who deserves a huge thank you is Matt Turland for all his guidance and mentoring in application design. Our code would be far worse off today were it not for him. So if you have a moment, @ mention @elazar with a "Thank you".
We're really excited for the future. We hope you like the things we've come up with. We hope we've fixed the bugs that are bothering you. But, most of all, we hope you understand how grateful we are to you, our users. This application is what it is because of you. We have over 1,000 reviews on the Android Market and a 4 star rating. We're working really hard to live up to that rating.