Archive for the ‘Technical’ Category

TripTouch travel widget

Tuesday, May 20th, 2008

Today we’re happy to release the TripTouch travel widget. We have built a widget for personalized pages (iGoogle, netvibes).

The widget includes all our content and services - you can the travel guide + photos, accommodation, attractions, restaurants, events, travelers and utilities. All in one easy to use widget, which automatically finds your location.

We have used Netvibes’ UWA to build this widget, which worked out pretty well.

The widget can also be placed in your web page or blog. We can offer revenue-share (on bookings done via the widget - event tickets, accommodation, restaurant booking, etc.).

Check it out here!

Amazon S3

Wednesday, March 26th, 2008

We have uploaded a new version today - the major change is that all photos (both travel guide ones and your profile photos) are now stored in Amazon S3. It was rather easy to move our photos to them (well, Guy did it, so for me it was really easy). S3 saves us all sorts of worries (disk space, backups, server I/O and CPU issues) - and the cost is okay too. Good on you Amazon!

Google makes changes to google maps…

Tuesday, February 26th, 2008

This is both interesting and funny - in a recent blog post in blogoscoped (a leading blog on google) we were featured - mainly about our technology and content partners. I told them that one of the annoying things about Google is that many maps are in the local language and not in english - so we didn’t even include the Thailand map in TripTouch for example - it was all in Thai. The fun part is that just yesterday google has changed that and added English to all their maps (or at least some of them - we’ll need to check and see which maps are worthy). You can read all about this in that blog post - make sure you read the update at the end.

Good on ye’ Google!

Organic search

Thursday, November 29th, 2007

Organic search is one of the major ways you can get traffic to your site. When we started talking about TripTouch we thought that we need to find other ways of attracting potential users. Organic search is very hard to do in Travel - there is so much competition!

However we’re now getting more optimistic about getting traffic from search engines. It seems that for some long-tail searches we are getting good results in Google. So for example if you’re looking for hostel les amis frankfurt in Google we are in the second place, and in some more esoteric searches we are even #1.  Cool. We are already getting a few hundred of visitors monthly from search engines, and that’s just the beginning.

Obviously we need a lot of work here - get more content, preferably original content, and also get more links pointing at TripTouch to boost our ‘page-rank’. We also need to make sure all our pages are correctly read by the search engines. That’s one of the reasons we added the ‘destination-map‘, for example.

The day after

Monday, November 19th, 2007

A day after our launch, we have updated the site again, with some minor fixes. It’s always like this - we did quite a bit of internal testing, but we still had some bugs that we found on the real production server. Oh well!

We also made a page with a list of all our destinations. You can see we have around 2,500 locations, and we’re adding new ones all the time.

Architecture

Monday, November 5th, 2007

A few people have asked me about TripTouch - what tools do we use to write the web site? So here’s a short list, I hope I didn’t forget anything -

  • Our server is running Apache, on Linux.
  • For server-side scripting we use PHP. We use Eclipse to do most of the code editing. Client-Side is obviously done with Javascript. We use several 3rd party libraries (both for PHP and JS). We also use scriptaculous for JS effects and such.
  • The database is MySQL. We use both phpMyAdmin and MySQL tools to admin the DB, on the production site and on the test servers and local DBs for development.
  • When we installed everything on our desktop computers we used WAMP which is a great timeserver if you want to install Apache, MySQL and PHP.
  • For version (source) control we use SVN.
  • For bug tracking we use Mantis - although to be honest we don’t use it too much. Most of the bugs are written on the white-board in the R&D room…

I think that pretty much sums it all up. Obviously there are many applications we use as well (GIMP, FileZilla, Thunderbird, FireFox with Firebug, IE + IE Developer toolbar, opera, safari, PuTTy and more).

New updates to TripTouch

Sunday, October 7th, 2007

Today we made some update to the site. We have added new events (sports, arts, festivals, etc.) - all from eventful which is a user-generated event site. We have also updated our get-more-events and hostels search pages, and now they work better. We also added two new travel-information categories (get in and get around), taken from wikitravel.

We have also made some changes to the url structure in TripTouch.