Elixir, Google Cloud, PostgreSQL, Redis, React, Phoenix, LiveView, GraphQL
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For this story, we interviewed Justin Tormey, the CTO at Upside, which has now been acquired by Ampla Technologies.
Previously Upside, now Ample Technologies, offers modern inventory financing solutions for companies in the e-commerce and consumer goods space. Small and growing brands usually need more cash to put towards their product than larger, established companies. That leads a lot of small companies to raise money on equity and dilute the owner’s stake in the company. Upside finances those companies for a small fee, and they pay Upside back later when they make a profit from sales.
AppSignal has stood out to Justin ever since he started his career as an Elixir developer. He felt that what differentiated AppSignal from other APM tools was its easy self-install mode and great interface, with fast, very readable metrics. Today, Justin is a full-time CTO at Upside and AppSignal is used for all of their performance and error reporting.
Upside is a FinTech that holds a lot of responsibility towards its users. The goal of the dev team is to prevent their users or stakeholders from encountering any errors. AppSignal helps Upside’s team be confident in the quality of their application and every deployment to production. They are also starting to experiment with adding their custom metrics in AppSignal, tied to business logic.
AppSignal picks errors up, sends them back to us with a stack trace and each individual occurrence of the error (with different query parameters and session parameters, in the case of web requests). I found this to be incredibly helpful for debugging, and I spend less time in the Google Cloud logging systems.
With AppSignal, they don’t need to dive into logs and their application to understand the root cause of errors. This enables Upside to save roughly 90% of the time they previously spent on issues.
The biggest benefit of using AppSignal is the native Elixir support. After installation, AppSignal just knows how an Elixir application is structured and can build the error tracking and performance monitoring around it. Also, deploy tracking is super cool. Being able to kind of box errors into deploys is really helpful so that we know if a deploy has fixed an error or not.
Upside relies on AppSignal for performance reporting, though they haven’t recorded any performance issues. Their highest impact event has a mean completion time of 4ms. Even though Upside runs a snappy Elixir app, their dev team still keeps a close eye on performance stats to ensure that Upside users have a smooth experience.
Within the performance section in AppSignal you’ll find the slow queries screen. By seeing specific queries that take a long time, Upside can drill right down to the database level and optimize from the actual SQL code that our Elixir app generates.
Because of how clearly AppSignal presents errors, it makes managing errors a smooth and stressless process.
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