JustGiving.com website goes titsup after upgrade
Better to give than receive
Update: This story originally referred to JustGiving as a not-for-profit. It is not.
Online charity outfit JustGiving has been hit by a series of major glitches since it launched a new website last Saturday morning.
The organisation admitted deployment had been less than smooth and the site continues to have a number of “teething problems” with loading some fundraising pages and accessing user logins.
PayPal, its main payment system, is also currently out of action and won’t be available on JustGiving.com until Friday at the earliest, according to a blog post on the website.
“Although it cleared all pre-deployment testing, it encountered some problems in the live website environment. We’re working on it this week and aim to have PayPal up and running again by the end of the week,” said JustGiving’s spokeswoman Heather Bird.
Confirmation emails are also failing to reach anyone who has made a donation since the site was relaunched on Saturday.
“There’s a delay with some of these emails being sent out and we’re working on fixing it now,” explained Bird. “We’ll have it solved as soon as possible, and you can expect to receive a donation receipt by the end of this week.”
The charity's CTO Dominic Lacey told The Register that the JustGiving tech team had been "taken by surprise" when the website began to experience problems over the weekend.
"Load testing didn't accurately reflect the way it's being used in the live environment," he explained.
Lacey said the charity had taken around £600,000 per day since the website upgrade was applied, which is around 20 per cent down on JustGiving's average daily donations.
He said at present the organization had seven outstanding technical issues to deal with on its site, with one remaining urgent, two high priority and the rest marked as medium or low.
JustGiving's SOA system hadn't responded well to the upgrade, according to Lacey. It's based on Microsoft's .NET 3.5 technology.
The CTO said database transactions were going through on the backend, and added that users can be assured that their donations were being received despite the ongoing errors on the website.
Meanwhile performance on the website will be sluggish while the charity’s sys admins apply updates and fixes to its servers. ®
"Although it cleared all pre-deployment testing, it encountered some problems in the live website environment. " .... "Load testing didn't accurately reflect the way it's being used in the live environment"
I may suggest that your software testing need to be looked at in some detail then?
Their website says "We invest continuously to make JustGiving the best and most robust fundraising platform in the world, for the benefit of our member charities"
that'll have to change then, when they have the time..."we invest continuously to change Justgiving. Sometimes we get it horribly wrong, for which we are very sorry".
Seriously, can anyone explain the point of load testing that doesn't represent real-life use of the site? Did someone think "I know, I'll see if it can support 10% of our expected load and cross my fingers when it goes live"?
"The CTO said database transactions were going through on the backend, and added that users can be assured that their donations were being received despite the ongoing errors on the website."
That's actually less reassuring. I would prefer a page either a) fail or b) succeed. NOT charge my card but then put up an error page.
I'm not going to hate on .NET as easy as that might be to do -- but I will comment that something like .NET, Java, etc., is probably not a great thing to be running on a high-traffic server.
(I know some large sites *do* use them, but throw lots of hardware at the problem.)
My gues iss that the problems will continue
If they've use .NET then they've not used the best developers - that is shown by all the complaints about the usability.
.NET is one of those things where you initially think it is great - but the devil is in the details and they let it down.
And having had to work with .NET I can say that it's going to be extremely difficult to make copies and carry out any sort of testing - so they'll be trying to fix it in place. Then they will probably make things worse.
are 5%, *plus* VAT, *plus* (particularly odiously) 1.4% if you tick the "I am a UK taxpayer" box, *plus* VAT on the 1.4%, *plus* credit card or PayPal charges. It's all right here: http://www.justgiving.com/info/fees/ - and it's why I stopped using them years ago.
JustGiving are not a charity - they are a for-profit company. Please update this article to reflect this.