Linux Containers Authors: Elizabeth White, Flint Brenton, Gordon Haff, Liz McMillan, Yeshim Deniz

Related Topics: @DevOpsSummit, Linux Containers, Containers Expo Blog

@DevOpsSummit: Article

Pokémon Go: A Developer’s Perspective | @DevOpsSummit #APM #DevOps

Every app developer dreams of the kind of success that Pokémon Go is enjoying right now

Pokémon Go: A Developer's Perspective
By Anand Akela

Every app developer dreams of the kind of success that Pokémon Go is enjoying right now. A month ago, it was just a rumor. Just 24 hours after it was released, it was the number one top grossing app, even though it was free to download and play. Within a single week, Pokémon Go servers were slammed with traffic from 21 million players while they tried to fix production errors.

Today it has 3X more Android downloads than Tinder, nearly as many daily active users as Twitter and users spend twice as much time in the app as they do in the phenomenal Snapchat. Even Facebook can't hold up against the Pokémon onslaught. By any mobile app performance metrics you want to use, Pokémon Go has been a smashing success. It's also at the center of a media firestorm.

How did they do it? Why are so many people so upset about it? What lessons about better software performance can you take away from the whole experience? Here's your instant history of an app that tapped into far more demand than the developers could handle. It's both a best-case scenario and a cautionary tale.

The Birth of Pokémon
It's just a game for kids. Really, that's all it is, but that's exactly what people said when Nintendo released Pokémon 20 years ago. It's a game where you capture little monsters and make them fight each other - part insect collection and part sci-fi gladiator arena. Kids continued to love it as they grew up and then came the anime manga, the trading cards, the TV cartoons, the dolls and the movies. Now, the Pokémon franchise is worth over $46 billion.

In 2014, as an April Fool's Day prank, Nintendo teamed up with Google Maps to make Pokémon monsters appear in real places using augmented reality. The response was so enthusiastic that suddenly everyone got real serious about it.

Monsters Unleashed
Enter Niantic, an augmented reality game maker led by former Google Earth developers. It's best known for Ingress, a real-world/sci-fi mashup where gamers travel to real places using Google maps and fight for supremacy of "portals" in the app. A portal could be a business, a school, a park, etc. If it could be mapped, it became a battleground. Pokémon Go was built on the skeleton of Ingress and former portals became "gyms" for training monsters or "Pokestops."

Niantic CEO John Hanke said they started building the game based on a data set of public artwork that they chose from among geo-tagged photos inside Google Earth. "We basically defined the kinds of places that we wanted to be part of the game," Hanke said. "Things that were public artwork, that were historical sites, that were buildings with some unique architectural history or characteristic, or a unique local business. There are portals in Antarctica and the North Pole, and most points in between."

Tech Specs and Coding Languages
There's no official word about the code base of Pokémon Go, but the greatest probability is that the game was coded mostly in Java/libgdx because that's what Niantic used to create Ingress. Although the bulk of the game may be Java on the server side, many coders who have played it suspect that there has clearly been some work in Objective-C/Swift for the iOS version so that it runs as a native app.

The strongest piece of evidence to support this comes from the Niantic employment page, which reads: "Create the server infrastructure to support our hosted AR/Geo platform underpinning projects such as Pokémon Go using Java and Google Cloud." Niantic is also looking for coders with "Key Skills: Unity3D (Unity 3D), C# - You will work with a proven and experienced team of mobile and cloud developers to turn the entire world into a gameboard."

The database supporting the game is NoSQL running inside Google Cloud Services. That implies that the game is probably integrated with Cloud Bigtable or Cloud Datastore, perhaps using JSON or CSV for data handling. While many other apps interface with their se RESTful APIs, Pokémon Go seems to be relying on an RPC interface for its server interactions using Protocol Buffers.

Safety and Privacy
In terms of data safety, the iOS version initially asked customers for full access to their Google accounts. That means it could have gotten into user Gmail histories (which often contain passwords and other private information), classified information in Google Docs/Drive or very personal info from Google Calendar. Niantic had to issue an apology and said it never intended to collect all that private data, but industry watchdogs just have to take their word for it.

At one point, due to this privacy problem, their sign-up process was broken and the company had to turn away new signups. That can be particularly bad from a developer perspective because most apps lose 60 percent of their customers over the first month, and 96 percent after a year. New sign-ups are the only way to stay alive.

When the Servers Crashed
Pokémon Go started out with a great deal of talent, serious backing from major industry players and a built-in audience of brand fanatics. What could go wrong? A lot, it turns out. A few days after Pokémon Go's official release, Forbes posted an analysis that declared, "The launch has been an unmitigated disaster. The list of things that have gone wrong with the launch goes on and on. Players unable to login; players in the U.S. unable to download the game to begin with; game crashes; maps bereft of any and all Pokémon, gyms, etc. Everything from sign-in issues to overwhelmed servers have plagued the game's launch."

This is the perfect example of the danger of popularity. Normally, the last days leading up to pre-launch can be frantic. App developers have often used the days after launch to work out the kinks. That clearly couldn't happen under the crush of new user sign-up traffic that hit their servers. Others have made the same mistakes, though.

As for the production team at Pokémon Go, could they or should they have anticipated so much traffic? Yes, and Niantic's launch problems might have been catastrophic if it were another business critical application. The average cost of a critical application failure per hour is $500,000 to $1 million, according to a research by analyst firm IDC. It is even more important to get things right and deliver exceptional end user experience when applications are primarily consumed via a mobile App. Nearly a quarter of apps are only opened once.

Many enterprises are using AppDynamics to avoid such catastrophic situations and to minimize the negative impact on their brand reputation. With AppDynamics, they are empowered to have real-time insights into application performance, user performance and business performance so they can move faster in an increasingly sophisticated, software-driven world.

Where Pokémon Is Going
Pokemon Go brought reality to the concept of meshing the virtual with the real, so you should expect augmented reality to develop quickly now that it's finally become profitable. Expect a huge second mover advantage in the world of app development because you can be prepared to address the server traffic spikes, the user privacy issues and the public safety controversies.

The days of actual immersive virtual reality, complete with a 3D experience, might not be far off, but preparation is everything, especially with app developers, programmers, and IoT experts. The most important takeaway from the story of Pokémon Go is that companies of all sizes need to prioritize performance monitoring before errors start impacting customers. The best way to do that is to simulate heavy traffic and deploy tools like AppDynamics to filter out common errors and exceptions as soon as possible and long before the app hits production. In this case, the users kept coming, but not every app maker will be so lucky.

The post Pokémon Go: A Developer's Perspective appeared first on Application Performance Monitoring Blog | AppDynamics.

More Stories By AppDynamics Blog

In high-production environments where release cycles are measured in hours or minutes — not days or weeks — there's little room for mistakes and no room for confusion. Everyone has to understand what's happening, in real time, and have the means to do whatever is necessary to keep applications up and running optimally.

DevOps is a high-stakes world, but done well, it delivers the agility and performance to significantly impact business competitiveness.

@ThingsExpo Stories
"There's plenty of bandwidth out there but it's never in the right place. So what Cedexis does is uses data to work out the best pathways to get data from the origin to the person who wants to get it," explained Simon Jones, Evangelist and Head of Marketing at Cedexis, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Digital Transformation and Disruption, Amazon Style - What You Can Learn. Chris Kocher is a co-founder of Grey Heron, a management and strategic marketing consulting firm. He has 25+ years in both strategic and hands-on operating experience helping executives and investors build revenues and shareholder value. He has consulted with over 130 companies on innovating with new business models, product strategies and monetization. Chris has held management positions at HP and Symantec in addition to ...
Enterprises have taken advantage of IoT to achieve important revenue and cost advantages. What is less apparent is how incumbent enterprises operating at scale have, following success with IoT, built analytic, operations management and software development capabilities - ranging from autonomous vehicles to manageable robotics installations. They have embraced these capabilities as if they were Silicon Valley startups.
In their session at @ThingsExpo, Shyam Varan Nath, Principal Architect at GE, and Ibrahim Gokcen, who leads GE's advanced IoT analytics, focused on the Internet of Things / Industrial Internet and how to make it operational for business end-users. Learn about the challenges posed by machine and sensor data and how to marry it with enterprise data. They also discussed the tips and tricks to provide the Industrial Internet as an end-user consumable service using Big Data Analytics and Industrial C...
René Bostic is the Technical VP of the IBM Cloud Unit in North America. Enjoying her career with IBM during the modern millennial technological era, she is an expert in cloud computing, DevOps and emerging cloud technologies such as Blockchain. Her strengths and core competencies include a proven record of accomplishments in consensus building at all levels to assess, plan, and implement enterprise and cloud computing solutions. René is a member of the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) and a m...
When talking IoT we often focus on the devices, the sensors, the hardware itself. The new smart appliances, the new smart or self-driving cars (which are amalgamations of many ‘things'). When we are looking at the world of IoT, we should take a step back, look at the big picture. What value are these devices providing. IoT is not about the devices, its about the data consumed and generated. The devices are tools, mechanisms, conduits. This paper discusses the considerations when dealing with the...
DXWordEXPO New York 2018, colocated with CloudEXPO New York 2018 will be held November 11-13, 2018, in New York City. Digital Transformation (DX) is a major focus with the introduction of DXWorldEXPO within the program. Successful transformation requires a laser focus on being data-driven and on using all the tools available that enable transformation if they plan to survive over the long term.
To Really Work for Enterprises, MultiCloud Adoption Requires Far Better and Inclusive Cloud Monitoring and Cost Management … But How? Overwhelmingly, even as enterprises have adopted cloud computing and are expanding to multi-cloud computing, IT leaders remain concerned about how to monitor, manage and control costs across hybrid and multi-cloud deployments. It’s clear that traditional IT monitoring and management approaches, designed after all for on-premises data centers, are falling short in ...
With privacy often voiced as the primary concern when using cloud based services, SyncriBox was designed to ensure that the software remains completely under the customer's control. Having both the source and destination files remain under the user?s control, there are no privacy or security issues. Since files are synchronized using Syncrify Server, no third party ever sees these files.
Cloud-enabled transformation has evolved from cost saving measure to business innovation strategy -- one that combines the cloud with cognitive capabilities to drive market disruption. Learn how you can achieve the insight and agility you need to gain a competitive advantage. Industry-acclaimed CTO and cloud expert, Shankar Kalyana presents. Only the most exceptional IBMers are appointed with the rare distinction of IBM Fellow, the highest technical honor in the company. Shankar has also receive...
In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Carl J. Levine, Senior Technical Evangelist for NS1, will objectively discuss how DNS is used to solve Digital Transformation challenges in large SaaS applications, CDNs, AdTech platforms, and other demanding use cases. Carl J. Levine is the Senior Technical Evangelist for NS1. A veteran of the Internet Infrastructure space, he has over a decade of experience with startups, networking protocols and Internet infrastructure, combined with the unique ability to it...
"Cloud Academy is an enterprise training platform for the cloud, specifically public clouds. We offer guided learning experiences on AWS, Azure, Google Cloud and all the surrounding methodologies and technologies that you need to know and your teams need to know in order to leverage the full benefits of the cloud," explained Alex Brower, VP of Marketing at Cloud Academy, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clar...
Andrew Keys is Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise. He comes to ConsenSys Enterprise with capital markets, technology and entrepreneurial experience. Previously, he worked for UBS investment bank in equities analysis. Later, he was responsible for the creation and distribution of life settlement products to hedge funds and investment banks. After, he co-founded a revenue cycle management company where he learned about Bitcoin and eventually Ethereal. Andrew's role at ConsenSys Enterprise is a mul...
Internet-of-Things discussions can end up either going down the consumer gadget rabbit hole or focused on the sort of data logging that industrial manufacturers have been doing forever. However, in fact, companies today are already using IoT data both to optimize their operational technology and to improve the experience of customer interactions in novel ways. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Gordon Haff, Red Hat Technology Evangelist, shared examples from a wide range of industries – including en...
"Space Monkey by Vivent Smart Home is a product that is a distributed cloud-based edge storage network. Vivent Smart Home, our parent company, is a smart home provider that places a lot of hard drives across homes in North America," explained JT Olds, Director of Engineering, and Brandon Crowfeather, Product Manager, at Vivint Smart Home, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Rodrigo Coutinho is part of OutSystems' founders' team and currently the Head of Product Design. He provides a cross-functional role where he supports Product Management in defining the positioning and direction of the Agile Platform, while at the same time promoting model-based development and new techniques to deliver applications in the cloud.
DevOpsSummit New York 2018, colocated with CloudEXPO | DXWorldEXPO New York 2018 will be held November 11-13, 2018, in New York City. Digital Transformation (DX) is a major focus with the introduction of DXWorldEXPO within the program. Successful transformation requires a laser focus on being data-driven and on using all the tools available that enable transformation if they plan to survive over the long term. A total of 88% of Fortune 500 companies from a generation ago are now out of bus...
delaPlex is a global technology and software development solutions and consulting provider, deeply committed to helping companies drive growth, revenue and marketplace value. Since 2008, delaPlex's objective has been to be a trusted advisor to its clients. By redefining the outsourcing industry's business model, the innovative delaPlex Agile Business Framework brings an unmatched alliance of industry experts, across industries and functional skillsets, to clients anywhere around the world.
Business professionals no longer wonder if they'll migrate to the cloud; it's now a matter of when. The cloud environment has proved to be a major force in transitioning to an agile business model that enables quick decisions and fast implementation that solidify customer relationships. And when the cloud is combined with the power of cognitive computing, it drives innovation and transformation that achieves astounding competitive advantage.
Headquartered in Plainsboro, NJ, Synametrics Technologies has provided IT professionals and computer systems developers since 1997. Based on the success of their initial product offerings (WinSQL and DeltaCopy), the company continues to create and hone innovative products that help its customers get more from their computer applications, databases and infrastructure. To date, over one million users around the world have chosen Synametrics solutions to help power their accelerated business or per...