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GO is moving to a new server

Categories: Midd Blogosphere

Over the past few years the GO shortcut and redirection application has become central to the college’s web infrastructure, allowing easy-to-remember permalinks that can be updated as resources are moved.

Tomorrow morning we will be migrating GO from a multi-use Windows server to its own RedHat server. The primary impetus for this move is to resolve a PHP-on-Windows memory leak bug that has taken out GO for several minutes every few months. In addition to this bug fix, migrating GO to its new environment allows a few additional improvements at this time:

  • GO will be on its own server, more isolated from interference from other applications
  • GO will now fail-over to a secondary database should its primary database become unavailable.
  • Improved user-information caching will dramatically speed up the self-service admin screens
  • Redirects will now be re-written internally, requiring one less round-trip to the GO application for every redirect.
  • go/shortcut should now work more reliably on the MIIS network without having to type the full go.miis.edu/shortcut URL in the address bar.

    Note: the full http://go.middlebury.edu/shortcut or http://go.miis.edu/shortcut URL should still be used when putting links in websites or email.

  • The GOtionary will now live under go.middlebury.edu and go.miis.edu, allowing go.miis.edu to have its own logo.

We do not anticipate that this migration process will result in any downtime as the new GO server and the old GO server will both continue to operate at the same time, against the same database. After we switch the DNS records for go.middlebury.edu and go.miis.edu users will slowly move over to the new GO server as their computers look up the address of go.middlebury.edu again. For on-campus users this may happen quickly, while for off-campus users it may take several weeks. After the vast majority of users are accessing the new GO server (likely two weeks or so), we will turn off the old GO server.

Update 1 – June 23rd

We successfully migrated go.middlebury.edu to the new host and haven’t had any problems. We’ll be waiting for a while for go.miis.edu to switch over.

Website Improvements #2: Custom Redirects

Categories: Midd Blogosphere

Our GO service has been and will continue to be our supported way for maintaining permalinks to resources. By publishing GO links to resources online and in print, you are able to move your resources to new homes (such as a different location in the new site, a blog, or a wiki) and update the go link with the self-service GO management screens.

During the web-makeover project planning it was decided that we need to move forward with a new site architecture (where everything lives) and drop support for the old URLs from previous versions of the site that are 3-15+ years old. Most of the time links can and should be updated at their original locations, but if that is impossible (such as in a print mailing), you can now ensure that the correct link shows up on the main site’s 404 page.

404-with_link_annotated

Steps to add a link for a 404 page on the main site:

  1. Create a nice GO shortcut to the new destination if one doesn’t exist.
    Go to the GOtrol Panel and create a new go shortcut to the new destination URL.
    If a go shortcut for this destination already exists, then you can skip this step.
  2. In the GOtrol Panel, click on the ‘Create’ tab and add an alias for your shortcut from step one. The important thing here is that the alias ‘name’ is the path portion of the URL that is hitting the 404 page after the initial ‘/’.

    For example, if this URL is getting a 404 page:
    http://www.middlebury.edu/area/department/someimportantpage/default.htm
    then the alias name should be:
    area/department/someimportantpage/default.htm

    go_admin-alias

  3. Go back to the 404 page and verify that it now includes the GO link to your resource.
    404-with_link

We still recommend that you update the pages that link to the site to use their new URLs or GO links, but if that is impossible, you now have a work-around to direct users to the appropriate place.