Today we’re releasing ksuid, a Golang library for unique ID generation. It borrows core ideas from the ubiquitous UUID standard, adding time-based ordering and more friendly representation formats. In doing the research that went into this library, we uncovered a compelling story that we wanted to share with a larger audience.
Recently we shared the techniques we used to save more than a million dollars annually on our AWS bill. While we went into detail about the various problems and solutions, the most common question we heard was: "I know I’m spending a ton on AWS, but how do I actually break that into understandable pieces?"
In a scrappy B2B startup, user feedback is super valuable, but guerrilla research won’t cut it when you need a more targeted group of users. The Segment Design team found the users we needed and developed an automated process for recruitment and coordinating interviews using our own product and a few integrated applications.
The barrier holding back most open source projects is surprisingly mundane. It’s not test coverage. It’s not performance. It’s not code quality.
Running QA tests for Segment’s UI was taking way too long. Sure, we had strong component-level tests for our UI kit. But to test our whole app we needed to painstakingly poke around looking for oddities.
Today we’re proud to announce the Segment Open Fellowship. The Fellowship is a three month long program supporting three to five open-source developers with $8k per month to focus full-time on their project, no other strings attached.
For an early startup, using the cloud isn’t even a question these days. No RFPs, provisioning orders, or physical shipments of servers. Just the promise of getting up and running on “infinitely scalable” compute power within minutes.
Nightmare is a browser automation library for node.js, designed to be much simpler and easier to use than Phantomjs. We originally built Nightmare to create integration logos with 99Designs Tasks before they had an API, and we still use it in Sherlock. But the vast majority of Nightmare developers—now 55k+ downloads per month—use it for web UI testing and crawling.
Like many of our peers in the SaaS space, Segment’s growth team is ruthlessly focused on increasing the number and quality of leads for our sales team. For us, that means more companies completing our Signup form. But we don’t just want more companies signing up — we also want our sales team to have a more comprehensive understanding of our customers.
At Segment, focus is one of our four core values. But it was difficult for team members to focus in the office, so in June we ran an internal team survey about what helps and hurts focus. The results showed that “chatter and noise” was one of the biggest culprits for distraction around the office. “Slack group channels” came in second.
When it comes to your app, size makes a difference. Bigger apps have fewer downloads, worse reviews, and a harder time penetrating the international market. We measured the exact impact of increased app size, shown below. We’ve also included learnings on how to prevent bloat in your own app.
A few months ago we were at a conference in Half Moon Bay talking with a general manager at a large mobile company, and he said, “One of my projects for the next six months is to reduce SDK bloat in all our apps.” Six months is a substantial investment! So we asked why this mattered so much to him.
At Segment, we’re working hard to make our mobile SDKs the best possible collection options for your analytics data. An SDK can make your data more durable, minimize data transfer, and optimize your app’s battery usage. In this article, we’ll take you through what happens under the hood as a piece of data flows through our iOS and Android SDKs from a button handler in your app…
As part of our push to open up what’s going on internally at Segment – we’d like to share how we run our CI builds. Most of our approaches follow standard practices, but we wanted to share a few tips and tricks we use to speed up our build pipeline.
AWS is the default for running production infrastructure. It’s cheap, scalable, and flexible to whatever configuration you’d like to run on top of it. But that flexibility comes with a cost: it makes AWS endlessly configurable.
Segment’s mobile SDKs are designed to track behavioral data from your app and translate and route that data to hundreds of downstream integrations. One of the SDK’s core tasks is to upload behavioral data to our servers. Since every network request requires your app to power up the device’s radio, uploading this data in real-time can quickly drain a battery.
For the past year, we’ve been heavy users of Amazon’s EC2 Container Service (ECS). It’s given us an easy way to run and deploy thousands of containers across our infrastructure.
Since Segment’s first launch in 2012, we’ve used queues everywhere. Our API queues messages immediately. Our workers communicate by consuming from one queue and then publishing to another. It’s given us a ton of leeway when it comes to dealing with sudden batches of events or ensuring fault tolerance between services.
I recently jumped back into frontend development for the first time in months, and I was immediately struck by one thing: everything had changed.
At Segment, we’ve fully embraced the idea of microservices; but not for the reasons you might think.
Every month, Segment collects, transforms and routes over 50 billion API calls to hundreds of different business-critical applications. We’ve come a long way from the early days, where my co-founders and I were running just a handful of instances.
Growing a business is hard and growing the engineering team to support that is arguably harder, but doing both of those without a stable infrastructure is basically impossible. Particularly for high growth businesses, where every engineer must be empowered to write, test, and ship code with a high degree of autonomy.
A little while ago we open-sourced a static site generator called Metalsmith. We built Metalsmith to be flexible enough that it could build blogs (like the one you’re reading now), knowledge bases, and most importantly our technical documentation.
In Segment’s early days, our infrastructure was pretty hacked together. We provisioned instances through the AWS UI, had a graveyard of unused AMIs, and configuration was implemented three different ways.
It wasn’t long ago that building out an analytics pipeline took serious engineering chops. Buying racks and drives, scaling to thousands of requests a second, running ETL jobs, cleaning the data, etc. A team of engineers could easily spend months on it.