OnlineOrNot Diaries 8

Max Rozen

Max Rozen (@RozenMD) / April 22, 2023

Another Saturday morning here in Toulouse, let's go into how OnlineOrNot went this week.

(I'm still working out the right tempo for these diaries)

It's been one coding week, and one marketing week since I last wrote in this diary, and I've built a few things. To be honest, I cheated a little bit, and used the marketing week to get heartbeat monitoring to a point where folks can use it.

Heartbeat monitoring

Heartbeat monitoring felt like the never-ending story for a couple of weeks. Every time I thought something would be obvious and easy, there would be another bug or edge case to solve. Not to mention decision after decision to be made about the product itself.

Things like: what to do if a heartbeat happens before we expect, how to integrate heartbeats into OnlineOrNot's existing systems, how to build graphs for the UI, should we allow assertions against incoming data, etc.

I decided to keep it simple in the end (and leave the door open for further features if folks ask for them): by default, OnlineOrNot heartbeat monitoring just gives you a URL that listens for GET, HEAD, or POST requests. Users pick how often the URL should expect a request, (with an optional grace period in case their process takes too long to run), and after OnlineOrNot receives the first request, it'll send an alert if any subsequent requests take too long to arrive.

OnlineOrNot's new heartbeat monitoring feature

I've released the feature to folks on the early access program, and it's far from finished (it still needs docs, email and SMS alerts, and the UI is a mess), but now I get to iterate and market it regularly!

A quick update on ads

So far it looks like it's working: the first week of ads lead to a decent sized cohort of users trying OnlineOrNot, and converted to a paying customer as expected, now they just need to stay a customer long enough to pay off the cost of acquiring them via ads.

I say "looks like" because I can't be 100% sure without integrating Google Ads conversion tracking into OnlineOrNot, which I don't want to do, since I would need to add cookie banners to the website. Thankfully folks tell me where they came from when they sign-up, so I don't need the tracking.

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