Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Behind the Scenes - Production Pushes

And another busy morning coordinating with engineers and product marketing folks who are anxious to see their feature live. Is it done? Is it done yet? Its the end of a long process for many of the people involved, months of planning and designing, weeks of coding and testing back and forth. And then an hour or so to see it become live in front of many users. People often ask, what exactly do release engineers do. The short answer is, we help make software development an engineering grade industrial strength activity. In all aspects of it, from the design and planning through the execution and finally in days like this pushing all the right switches to make things come to life in front of an audience in a smooth way. Without interruption. Without downtime.



Today's push - AdSense UI for interest-based advertising. This is a feature which is covered with wide interest and, as I flip the bits, has already received coverage in The New York Times and other news organizations. Here in short;

"Google will begin showing ads on Wednesday to people based on their previous online activities in a form of advertising known as behavioral targeting, which has been embraced by most of its competitors but has drawn criticism from privacy advocates and some members of Congress.

Perhaps to forestall objections to its approach, Google said it planned to offer new ways for users to protect their privacy. Most notably, Google will be the first major company to give users the ability to see and edit the information that it has compiled about their interests for the purposes of behavioral targeting. Like rivals such as Yahoo, it also will give users the choice to opt out from what it calls “interest-based advertising.”

Privacy advocates praised Google’s decision to give users access to their profiles.

Given Google’s position as the No. 1 seller of online ads, its approach is likely to put pressure on other companies to follow suit. Online advertising industry groups said it might help quell calls for government regulation." -- NYT 3/11/08

And so while the public debate about the feature only starts, the production push on my side is almost complete. The production push process of this feature actually started about a week ago when I first released the new binaries which had the functionality built in - but not yet turned on. We then spent some time running and poking it on internal systems making sure everything was working properly and all elements were in place. Yesterday I received the final go from Sam as an open issue #1608551, I have approved code change #10431732 which Sam checked in shortly thereafter. We agreed with Robby on the timing - 9 AM PST. Today's part was to essentially flip one bit on all the user facing servers turning feature based advertising on for the first time on live user facing servers.

This is now done and thus far humming happily in production land. The issue is closed and for myself its back to regular programming and working with my colleagues on the next challenge.

NYT Article

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