Tuesday, October 15, 2013

About Kaya.gs

Hey everyone. Its been a really long while since I write a post and I owe all our users more information about what is going on.

Since March I started working for Scribd.com and in July I moved indefinitely to San Francisco. Im part of the front-end team of Scribd and among learning loads of css (thing dp used to do exclusively on Kaya) I work on pages and projects that move millions of users everyday.

That is a tall order and its demanding a lot from me, adding to that moving to another country and living in another language.

Dp himself also has a new job and with it, very big responsibilities and deadlines: he manages a team and he has to deliver projects by very tight deadlines in competition with other teams.

Since March Kaya hasnt advanced the way we wanted and envisioned Kaya to live forever: as a permanent improvement development. Knowing that supporter funding would not be enough in the long run, one of our ideas has always been to open source Kaya and tap community contrinbutions and development power. Thats why OpenKaya exists.

We want to open up the server entirely, but doing so without preparation is stopping us from doing it straight up. It can be very daunting to run thousands of lines of code with a double server architecture as we have.

I personally also applaud the efforts of Nova.gs, which have been doing very well in the past 8 months or so. I suggest they put efforts into the open source side if they ever plan to do it as it becomes more difficult to do later on.

As a post-mortem, my biggest technical regrets are not working towards an open code early on (even if we kept it closed) and not automating server recovery, thing that plagues Kaya even today when there is a system crash.
We were also hit very hard by technologies that changed abruptly from 2011 (when Kaya started being developed) into oblivion, which made me do custom maintenance of code no longer supported by its original writers.

Friday, March 22, 2013


On september 2011, DP and I stopped working on our respective jobs to be able to devote full time to Kaya.gs

In less than 3 months we published an alpha version with the most raw of all features. In the following 6 months we expanded the server with features relentlessly and after that more gradually, as we had to also take care of project maturity, scalability and reliability.

Today, Kaya.gs is a very stable project, with only a few nuisances to improve and then only features to pump and improve.

However, although funding has let us spend a huge amount of time into the project, is it s not enough to support our lifehood. Because of that, it became necessary for me to look for a job.

This does not mean Kaya wont be advancing, but the strategy has to change and we are devising a plan for that.

We will stop doing the weekly releases as of now, and we will work towards building a very stable and nice-looking site. Adding features it not our immediate priority: Kaya already has a huge bundle of features that most registered users haven't explored or seen, and adding more will have limited value.

We might include features that are already server supported, but haven't gotten to the client (there are several big ones for that actually) but our priority right now is to finish the site's visual look&feel.

We will be also playing and providing technical support. See you on Kaya.

Regards, Gabriel.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Back from a weekend getaway, and working on getting Kaya up.

Hey everyone! I just arrived to a usable computer and found out Kaya was down for 2 days!.

2 Days ago I went to a small town called Villa General Belgrano in Argentina to spend a few days there eating german cuisine and relax. Unfortunately, because I dont have a usable portable copmuter right now, and Pato is on 100% disconnected vacations on Bolivia, Kaya was vulnerable to issues.

Unfortunately, shortly after i left, Kaya went down and there was no-one around to fix it. This is my responsibility and I deeply apologize for this.

Kaya does not have a sysadmin expert and we are still going through all the infrastructure setup that would make the server more reliable to system issues. In this case, the HD got 100% full, and the site stopped working.

Im working on putting Kaya up, and  I will be answering all the emails I got promptly.

UPDATE: Kaya is now up

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Kaya.gs down last night

Fortunately after a moderate time i was able to check the situation and revert it, however, the same crash scenario happened again.

One kaya user was trying out robustness of the site and sent some large data, which seems to have caused one dependency library to crash, provoking a reaction on the core service.

That particular situation was repeated this morning to reproduce, and  it is now adressed to not happen.

Web clients are particularly easy to fool around with and although we dont expect to get critical issues like this, we will promptly fix and address them. Thanks to this user a vulnerability is now known to us and we can not only fix it , but think in the future in terms of preventing it.

Kaya is now up and stable for use.

Friday, January 25, 2013

BadukTV on Kaya

We had always planned to make servers more related to online video. One of the key points we identified missing from servers is the focus on entertainment, on the ability for users to enjoy an experience without playing.

Because of that, we devised the Broadcasts, right off the bat, as our prototype shows.
Broadcasts are simple games with a space dedicated to Video to enjoy extra content such as the players, commentary, interviews and more.

Thanks to Jeansebl we broadcasted several Quebec League games and even I myself held a lecture on a game I played on the Argentinian championship.
Making videos is fun but its also hard. It takes effort and a team, and BadukTV has this problem down.

Considering using BadukTV on Kaya we contacted them, and they kindly provided us with a testing stream for a month. 
We will hold events to make use of this stream and  see how valuable this is for users and how important it can be for us to hire BadukTV's services.

Check out the Kaya Countdown to see which is the next event. It might very well be one of the Broadcasts with BadukTV!

Friday, January 18, 2013

Preparing some vacation time

No, its not a vacation feature for Correspondence!

We are actually starting to plan some developing vacations for ourselves.
We started Kaya.gs full time on september 2011. Kaya.gs first version came out on christmas that year and for the following 6 months, I worked weekends and more than 10 hours a day !

Lots of effort has been put in and Kaya is better than ever. Now that emergencies are rare and can be handled easily, we need some rest time.

We are still working over the dates.

Moreover, the past two weeks were insane for me. My grandfather passed away and I spent a few days with my family last week.

This happened midweek and definitely changed plans, both on Kaya and daily life. Even worse, my computer finally broke down again!

So until today i wasnt able to work, hence the thin but important fixes for correspondence, and the next big feature was put on hold until the next week.

Im also glad to see so many correspondence games being played, and people enjoying the server at all times. Shikkis problem solving has become a classic, and Franciscos constant challenge in the server is thrilling :)

Stay tuned for the next newsletter!

Monday, January 7, 2013

The first newsletter

We just sent Kaya.gs's first newsletter.

We had planned on making it a long time ago and surprisingly, styling it and give it a feel took  a lot more effort than was expected.

Since inception 100's of correspondence games were started and we expect a lot more to come. This way, starting and continuing games is super easy in our platform, while you can also enjoy the novel features of the real time go server, such as malkovich comments, live chat and more.

Because we didn't think about the newsletter until later of 2012, we didnt include the classic opt-in in user sign up, so we sent an initial newsletter to people that had it off and from before the time we had the opt-in.

This is only a one time sending for them, with the option to join in the newsletter. The rest of the users will get the regular newsletter very shortly! Stay tuned, it looks awesome :).

Regards, Gabriel.