accVIEW Rejuvenated

Well, it’s been way too long since I opened an editor and got to work on accVIEW’s source, and it really showed. In reality, accVIEW was something I slapped together in an afternoon for Vanguard Frontiers, home of myself, PyjamaSam (of Capsuleer fame) and some of the best pilots I’ve ever flown with. We needed a better way to do API checks and this was it.

I made it public and popularity grew. I added some features, added the premium option for those who wanted a bit more, and it’s been ticking along, occasionally throwing horrible errors and falling over, the background worker regularly falling over and dying, and running on a Quantum Rise datadump. And there was a major security glitch- we didn’t store API keys, making it impossible to validate people regularly, meaning people who left corporations could still view their old corp’s requests. And they couldn’t update their account to their new corporation.

No more.

accVIEW has gotten a fresh new facelift, skill distribution graphs, a fundamental API key change, some improved code throughout and a new database dump update. I’ve also added a ‘forgot password’ feature for those who don’t remember their logins too well, and fixed a few outstanding bugs.

If you’re an accVIEW user, next time you log in you will be prompted for your API key again. This is to be expected; the reason we’re doing this is so we have a copy we can re-validate regularly (once a day) to ensure that you are still in the corporation you were in last time we looked. If you change corporations, your main character will be dissociated and you’ll have to reenter your API keys next time you log in and choose a new main character.

Enjoy!

Moondoggie & Market Browsing

OK. EVE Metrics is my big market browsing project. It’s very complex, it’s got a lot of data, but it all basically comes down to this: People browse the market with a program running on their computer, and when any market data is viewed, EVE Online writes it to a cache file, the program decodes that and fires it at the server. We collect all these reports and build a single picture of the market in EVE.

There’s the top-down view for you. We’ve never really not had enough data. We get good market coverage in most regions and we’re fairly up to date in the grand scheme of things. But compare the actual market of EVE to EVE Metrics and we’re still a long way off having a truly accurate picture. EVE moves quickly- in some markets, from minute to minute orders will be shuffling around and changing price and being bought out.

With Dominion we got a new browser. This means you can now use the full EVE Metrics website ingame, but also (through some Javascript client hook additions) lets us provide a fantastic new tool to help us get an even better picture of the market in EVE.

If you fire up the IGB and head over to the upload suggestions page, you’ll be given a list of 10 items, and a few options for automatic checking. Choosing this option will prompt EVE Metrics for a list of items to check, and will automatically go and look at those items. It’s slow, but it works. In the space of a few hours with one user, we can get data for an entire region across all the items on the market. This is utterly fantastic and we’re really looking forward to the larger volume of data this is bringing to the site.

So, if you’ve got a spare moment, or you need to go AFK for an hour, or you want to help out while you’re mining, or you’re just tired of clicking the next item in the list, install the uploader and visit the page ingame to get started. Every upload counts and helps us build the biggest, best picture of EVE’s market we can manage to produce. Uploads to EVE Metrics are also syndicated to other websites and tools, of course. Your uploads and contribution of time help hundreds of users who use the site, and tens of thousands more who rely on our pricing, history and order APIs for their applications.

Oh, and if you’re a developer, we now have a server status API with all the information you could possibly want on TQ, Sisi and the API servers. It can be found here (docs here). Enjoy!

EVE Fanfest(feed) 2009

Well, that fateful time of year comes along again- thousands of EVE Online players meet for fanfest in Reykjavik, Iceland. And I can never make it. This year, my studies conspired against me; except they didn’t. While unknown until hours beforehand, I actually had no work and a lecture on basic packet switching keeping me in England. Doh.

Anyway. We got a lot of fluff, this year. Aside from further elaboration on stuff already announced, there were actually no major announcements made at fanfest. We did have some interesting info about New Eden, CCP’s EVE-Online-Online website. And there was some evidence (gasp!) that CCP were listening to third party developer suggestions at the API roundtable.

There was almost enough minor stuff announced to make it worthwhile. We did get a release date for Dominion – 1st December 2009. But no New Eden with the launch. And knowing CCP we’ll probably not get API changes till a bit after that. What’s really awesome though is that we will be getting new APIs. I’m just hoping they’re useful APIs…

Anyway, while I was sitting at home being mostly bored, I decided I’d had enough pressing F5 on the Twitter search page, and put together a website (ff.mmmetrics.co.uk – it’s down now) to grab EVE fanfest feeds from Twitter and Flickr. This became popular enough within a few hours that we had to rip it off the server and give it it’s own Amazon EC2 virtual server, as it was in danger of crashing ISKsense and EVE Metrics. Doh. A wild success, in any case, for a simple but handy website. What the website did make us realise is how little headroom we have on our current server. We kinda knew that already but it did make the point quite well.

EVE Metrics 2.1 has launched mostly well but we’re still having issues with the API processing code. Makurid has been working hard to pin down the cause of the problems and destroy it while I’ve been fixing up servers and moving sites around, and we’re getting a bit closer to having a complete fix. We’re not there yet, but we will be soon with any luck.