You want Projects? You’ve got Projects

ANOTHER blog post this week, We really are on fire!

We get a LOT of feature requests at Little Warden and generally they are great ones and we want to build them as soon as we can.

With some feature requests, we know exactly what people want from them and we can implement as soon as the schedule allows, like our Google Sheets Integration.

However some features are a bit more diffcult to either implement or understand the use case, we often get requests for Google Data Studio integration but we’ve yet to have a customer tell us exactly what data they want and how they’d use it!

Introducing Projects (lite)

Projects are a lot like Google Data Studio, it’s not that it’s a difficult feature to build, it’s just that Projects mean so many different things to different people and we could spend months building an all-in solution of how we want people to use projects when based on previous experience, it doesn’t matter how WE want people to use features, they will tell us how they use it.

So today we are launching a very light implementation of Projects, you can add/remove URLs to a project and they act as a search filter.

URLs can only be added to one project but you can have URLs from the same site in different projects.

Once we’ve got feedback and useage stats from this feature, we can start implementing some of the advanced functionaility such as project rulesets and notifications but we wanted to get this first step live quickly

One of the downsides of being a small team is you have to prioritise so this feature (which has been requested a fair amount) has taken a bit of time for us to get to.

I hope you’ll get value out of Projects and feedback to us what you’d like to see. We do listen!

Thanks a lot

Dom

Adding URLs Just Got Better!

At Little Warden, we like to ask what our customers love and hate about the service, it could be via email, Skype, Survey or shouting at them from across the room at conferences.

The two largest issues people have had with Little Warden recently are Adding URLs is complicated and I only want Little Warden to notify me in THESE specific circumstances.

Now, being a small development team we can only work on one large thing at once, we’ve been working on the Adding URLs is complicated to make it easier, so here it is.

Step One – Add Your URLs

Nice and simple

We’ve made this nice and simple, a large box for you to just paste everything you want to track in.

Step Two – Select your settings

Now here it gets interesting! You can carry on just using your default settings (which are displayed in the box) OR you can use some previously “Saved Settings” (ooh that’s a new feature, yes, yes it is) or you can select all the settings from scratch again.

Let’s do that

Step Three – Choose your Checks

We redesigned this page a few weeks ago to make it easier to read and configure so we won’t spend too much time on it, just know that we’ve done it so it’s easier to add more checks down the line (hint hint)

Step Four – Advanced Settings

Now this bit is a little bit complicated BUT you only have to do it once per setting!

With this page, we are starting to tackle some of the common things with LW that people react to differently (mostly redirects) so we are giving you the choice to say, how do you want Little Warden to handle them?

You can also edit the notification settings and page load settings directly from here.

Step Five – Savin’ and Namin’

Last up, we can now make the settings we’ve chosen the default and give them a name for later (i.e. important sites we care about checks)

Step Six – gogogogo

and that’s it, you are done.

Outro

For the first time ever you can now have several different saved settings which save different things such as notification emails, custom content settings and page load type.

We’ve got a few more enchanments of this sytem coming in the next week or two *cough* projects *cough* editing settings *cough* before we move onto the next big issue for our customers, Granular Notification Settings.. wow that just sounds exciting doesn’t it.

Thanks for reading and have a great day!

Dom


URL Policy Change

tldr; From next week, when you add a URL to Little Warden if the host url (domain or subdomain) isn’t in your monitor list, we will automatically add it, this is to aid future development and stop duplicate notifications.

Long explanation.

Wow, two blog posts in a week! Let’s not expect this pace for the rest of the year!

When we first created Little Warden (on a Cruise Ship in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean) we invisioned a product which JUST monitored domain names for certain issues..

Fast forward two and a half years and we’ve thousands of URLs now monitored on a URL level…. which is fine (let’s face it, it lets us sell bigger packages) but also it means sometimes we have to work around that initial database design to make it work.

One of the main issues we’ve had since adding URLs has been notifications on certain checks like Whois and robots.txt which are at domain or subdomain level, we’ve made it too easy for people to accidentally enable them on thousands of URLs.

Initially we didn’t think of this scenario and did a a terrible job sending them multiple alerts but for the most part we’ve managed to stop this and work around it BUT that workaround was always short term and a combination of feedback to our latest customer survey (you should fill it in btw) and over Christmas we took some time to map out what the issues were with it and what we wanted to do.

So from next week, some checks will ONLY be enabled on the Host (the Root domain or subdomain)

  • Domain Name Expiration
  • SSL Expiration
  • Nameservers
  • MX Records
  • Robots.txt

(Now it’s the internet so there are bound to be some edge cases where your scenario is different, get in touch if that breaks your usage)

Looking at our current customer list, this only affects about 6 customers in total and only adds one or two URLs to their usage so we could have properly gotten away with it by sneaking it in.. but that’s not how we work at Little Warden (plus… gotta write some content)

I’ll send a tweet when this goes live and who knows, it might even be in the next newsletter!

Have a great day

Dom

New Feature: Outstanding Issues

You know when you have a good idea for a feature and think it will work and everyone will love it and then you launch it and it turns out nobody cares.

That’s Patrol Reports! and they are GONE! outta here, vamoose

Instead we’ve replaced it with our Outstanding issues solver and it has some lovely features that we think you’ll enjoy.

Each issue is displayed in a handy interface which allows you to quickly manage some actions on each issue.

  • Forward Issue – Allows you to send the issue and a detailed log to an email address so they can help solve the problem.
  • Configure Check – You can quickly configure and ensure the check is expecting the correct response.
  • Mute Check – You can mute the issue for one week and we won’t message you about it, this helps if the team is working on it and it won’t be fixed quickly.
  • Disable Check – if this check isn’t relevant, then you can quickly and easily disable it.

Probably the biggest aspect of this feature is that we’ve grouped the same issue on URLs on the same domain together so you only handle them once!

This brand new feature is LIVE now at https://littlewarden.com/outstanding-issue and you can get started straight away!

A few new features!

I know what you’re thinking, Dom, nobody reads product blogs at 9pm on a Sunday evening.

Well to that I say to you, according to my stats, nobody the reads the product blog at any other time. so ha!.. I win…. I guess.

New Header Graphs

We’ve replaced the header text on the interface with something.. well actually useful.

We now have a graph showing you all the changes and the frequency in thee last 30 days and you can click the changes to go directly to the changelog at the correct time!

We’ve also added a few boxes which tell you danger and warning counts, they don’t link anywhere yet but they will once our next feature launches #tease

Tutorial

We’ve added a handy Tutorial section to the sidebar, this is designed to help you with some of the common tasks with Little Warden.. you should try and complete them, who knows what will happen 😉

Add URL page Tweaks

We’ve re-built the Add URL page to make it easier and quicker to use. It will also be much easier for when we add new checks later down the road 😉

Google Sheets Menu

Really? Does this really need to be mentioned in the product update. Yes, yes it does. We’ve made it easy to get to your Google sheet by adding it to the menu if you’ve generated one.


There are a few background tweaks we’ve been working on this weekend but we are very close to a feature update that we are very excited about!

Have a magical day

Dom, Heather and Scarlett

New Feature : Embracing the Spreadsheet

If you just want to know about the feature, the scroll down to see the header, however if you’d like a bit of backstory, read on!

When I sit down and think of a new tool to build, the thought process often starts with, “what are people using spreadsheets for that could be easier with an app” and then set off to work.

Spreadsheets seem to be at the core of every company and there is usually a 3 year old spreadsheet with macros, vlookups and some magic that makes some core functionality of the business work.

However, there is a reason that spreadsheets are so universal, because they are EASY to start with, shareable, simple to learn and can grow with complexity as needed.

So when Declan Reilly from The SEO Works suggested that he manage the URLs and notification options in LW, I was originally skeptical…

But the more I thought about it, the more I realised that we receive URLs from customers in spreadsheets all the time so why wouldn’t we do this.

So from today, when you go to add URLs to your account, you’ll be given the option of doing so via Google Sheets.

Once created, each sheet is initially locked down to the email address on the account but others can be added in settings.

When you click the sheet, you are given three tabs.

  • Source
  • Overview
  • Renewal Report

Source

This tab is the only one you are able to edit, you and your team can quickly add/remove URL’s, notification options and enable checks, this sheet is imported and updated every hour.

Just add a URL to the spreadsheet and it will be added with the default checks and notification options, if you’d like you can configure the checks more specifically

Overview

This tab gives you a quick heads up to any outstanding issues on the URLs and links directly to those URLs so you can configure the checks (or disable them).

This could look a bit prettier I know but we are trying to limit API commands

Renewal Report

This tab gives you a quick overview of domains and SSL certificates that are expiring.

Feedback from our testing team has been overwhelmingly positive and we are really really excited to ship this update to everyone for free now.

Next up we’ve got a few speed improvements to do on the backend and then another feature we’ve been excited to launch for a while.

Thanks

Dom, Heather (and Scarlett)

The Times They Are a-Chang(elog)in

One of the most important things that Little Warden does is keep an accurate changelog of the changes we’ve detected.

Recently though we’ve gone through a round of customer feedback and whilst the contents of the changelog are welcome, the visual aspect of the design needed improvement.

Feedback and comments such as

  • It hurts my eyes to look at
  • It’s very garish
  • It’s not easy to scan

And other more hurtful things. that I took wwwwwaaaaaaayy to personally.

BUT they were right, it wasn’t the best way of displaying the data and it’s time we gave that section a refresh, so it’s out with the old

and in with the new

This change is also reflected in the emails that we send out every morning.

This is the last update before our LittleTrip but we’ve got some really exciting features and UI changes ready to go live when we get back (It’s never good to launch a brand new feature then go on a cruise ship for two weeks)

Thanks and have a magical day

Dom, Heather and Scarlett

Patrol Report and Notification Changes

It’s just a few days till our LittleTrip but before we go, there are a few changes we are making due to customer feedback.

Patrol Reports

We’ve got some big changes coming tot he patrol report in June to make them much more actionable but for now we are going to stop sending monthly patrol reports by default, after a range of feedback we’ve found that the size of them is too large to actually be a worthwhile email to send and due to a bad design (sorry) they often get confused with Change Reports.

Notification Changes

From now on, we are cutting down the amount of times you are notified about certain items that are domain based, for example if your domain expires in 20 days, you now won’t receive a warning about it for every URL with that domain.

Why I hear you ask, did we do this ages ago?

The truth is, We didn’t realise how annoying it was until a customer mentioned it!

We are constantly trying to improve our emails and the accuracy, if you ever have an issue with them, please reply to them and Robot Dom will forward them onto us.

Thanks and have a magical day

Dom, Heather (and Scarlett)

We’re all going on a summer holiday

The first lines of code for Little Warden were written 2 years ago on a cruise ship (Disney of course) sailing across the Atlantic Ocean, our first ‘family holiday’.

Every evening, whilst Scarlett was sleeping in the cot, Heather and I would write the code for what would become Little Warden (and take advantage of the complimentary room service).

‘Well, after two years filled with code, blog posts and conferences, we need a proper break so it’s time for another cruise!

So in early May after spending some time in the Magic Kingdom, we’ll be setting sail on the Disney Magic Cruise Ship once more for some rest, relaxation and plenty of Mickey Waffles.

Now, this isn’t easy as a small team so whilst we’ve implemented a feature freeze for the next few weeks (ignoring one or two announcements this week) and we’re still committed to maintaining support channels.

From May 1st till May 28th – We will be disabling LiveChat, as much as we love this method of instant communication with our customers, it’s not possible whilst in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean.

Robot Dom will still be sending emails, slack messages and the API calls.

We will be checking in on the servers and support emails a few times a day so any issues / support tickets will be resolved (we’ve even paid for the big Wifi package on the ship)

So, if you want to follow our travels, I’m @ukdisdad on instagram (not a support channel)

See ya real soon!

Real Dom, Heather and Scarlett

NEW Feature! – Monitor your JS Rendered pages with Little Warden

Today I’m pleased to announce that Chrome rendering of pages is now in BETA and enabled for all customers, this will enable us to fully monitor sites rendered in React, Angular or anyone of the 100’s of javascript frameworks launched every week.

This obviously takes a bit more resource than our normal scans so at the moment the limits are US geolocations only and daily rather than hourly checks.

This has been one of the most requested features in our recent survey and so we are pleased to be able to launch this to you today.

It goes without saying that we love our friends in the industry but I want to take a moment and point out that this feature would NOT be possible without the help of our go-to website crawler Sitebulb, they shared the knowledge of their wonderful crawler tech and helped us get past some blocking bugs we’ve been having for months.

You can switch now to JS rendering by editing the URL options in settings.

Look out for more features and changes in response to the survey and if you’d like to contribute, there is still time to fill it in!