Save the VeloFlow API!

VeloFlow Needs YouAs most of you will know Strava is moving to a new and improved version of their API (the way I get all my data from Strava to populate VeloViewer) and I’m currently working on VeloViewer to use this new version of Strava’s API. In general we are all going to be very excited by what the new API will offer us and I’ll go into that very soon in another post, but there is one sad bit of news – the main API that drives VeloFlow will no longer be available 🙁 This will mean that I will not be able to get the list of rides to display and I can’t think of another way to do it. So, the only hope I can see to keep VeloFlow going is to get all you good people to vote up and comment on my request to save the API on the Strava support site to show Strava how much you all want to keep VeloFlow running.

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VeloViewer Usability Survey

UsabilityTo continue the underlying driving force for VeloViewer (a playground for ideas for my day job) I want to try out a usability review of the site which I will then attempt to get my employers to embrace for their own products. For this I’ll be using the well proven System Usability Scale (SUS) that is made up of 10 very simple questions which can provide a great measure of usability for a website (or app) that can easily be bench-marked against any other sites (or apps). The survey should take less than 2 minutes to complete and is just 10, simple, multiple choice questions. A huge thank you to those of you that do take the time to fill it in.

Take the survey by clicking here! – Survey finished. Thanks for your feedback.

In a few weeks time I’ll post the results and show how it compares to other sites. I might run a similar survey for your views on the Strava site, you’d hope they would score a fair bit better than VeloViewer!

There will be a number of changes to VeloViewer as I swap over to the new Strava API’s during which I will attempt to improve the usability where I can, especially around the update page. I’ll post a blog entry soon as to what those changes are likely to be (for better and worse) when I get chance. Once the next version is live and in use I’ll run another of these surveys to see if the perceived usability has improved.

Strava API Troubles

Api ProblemsAs a number of you may have noticed, since the site going down last week there has been a significant increase in the number of errors encountered around the site, in particularly on the update page. For some reason, since the site going down, the server no longer has access to Strava’s API. This could be because either my hosting company has blocked those requests from being made or Strava has blocked requests from that server. At present I’m not sure which.

Strava are currently looking into it from their end but weren’t specifically aware of calls from my server being blocked. I’m more inclined to point the finger at my hosting company but they seem less than willing to investigate the problem. Once confirmed that the restriction isn’t at the Strava end then I’ll press much harder for my hosting company to diagnose and resolve the issue.

I’ve got a work-around by using one of my other websites to act as a go between for the Strava API requests but it seems a little less reliable than the original requests from the server. Maybe because its a Windows server rather than Linux (I have no idea really)?

What this seems to be resulting in is a number of you getting a lot more errors popping up, especially on the update screen. All the people who have been in touch had been using IE and switching over to Google Chrome has sorted the issue out. Chrome is much faster at running the JavaScript that the update process heavily uses which might be the reason why it performs more reliably. Also, you could just been hitting the server when lots of other people are so maybe give it an hour or so and try again. VeloViewer is getting remarkably popular which is stretching it’s capacity somewhat!

So, if you’re getting lots of errors then try switching to Google Chrome and see if that helps. If not then post a comment (or send me an email) including your Strava id.

I’ll make sure the new, V3 update process is more resilient to errors from the Strava API. Until then, sorry for any inconvenience.

VéloBici Spring Classics Challenge 2013

VeloBici Spring ClassicsFor the next 50 days I’ve teamed up with VéloBici to provide a leaderboard for their Spring Classics Challenge – ride the distance of as many of the Spring Classics as you can to get a chance to win some great UK designed and manufactured prizes. The more of the 7 classics you complete the better the prizes on offer become. This challenge is open to anyone around the world so sign yourself up and get riding.

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The Climbs of Stage 2 of the 2014 Tour de France – Part 2

Tour de France 2014 Stage 2 Route Map Second HalfIn a previous post I covered the climbs of the first half of stage 2 of the 2014 Tour de France on its way from York to Sheffield (also available is the climbs of stage 1). This post will cover the remaining climbs of the stage that could well be providing a safe pairs of shoulders for both the Yellow and Polka Dot Jerseys for a good number of days. Holme Moss is certainly the biggest climb of the day but the many small and steep climbs (and slippery, twisty descents) on the run-in to Sheffield are more likely to cause the upsets and there is a real sting in the tail with up to a 33% gradient on Jenkin Road just a few km from the line. Tom Boonen and Matt Goss both crashed fairly badly in this area during the 2006 Tour of Britain but hopefully those won’t be the kind of headlines of the day.

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