Posts Tagged ‘Web’

ALK Maps and PC Miler Web Services to be integrated with McLeod Software

March 25th, 2014

ALK Technologies, Inc., a global provider of GeoLogistics and navigation software announced that ALK Maps and PC Miler Web Services will be integrated with McLeod Software’s Load Master and PowerBroker products. McLeod’s LoadMaster provides dispatch software for asset based trucking companies and PowerBroker offers a fully integrated end-to-end brokerage operations management system.

ALK says its PC Miler Web Services and ALK Maps offer a fully customizable, cloud-based interactive mapping platform with high-quality map visualization with precise geocoding and routing functionality for enterprise applications. Technology providers can easily integrate these products with a variety of platforms, it says.

LoadMaster and PowerBroker integrated with ALK Maps and PC Miler Web Services can provide enhanced interactive street-level maps with satellite imagery, weather overlays, real-time traffic and speed data with enhanced ETAs, and hazardous materials routing functionality. ALK Maps and PC Miler Web Services offer these capabilities via a flexible software-as-a-service (SaaS) model.

“We are pleased to support ALK’s SaaS-based solutions that give our customers more options for configuring their mileage functions within PowerBroker and LoadMaster,” said Robert Brothers, manager of product development for McLeod Software. “The new mapping capabilities can provide McLeod Software customers the ability to use ALK Maps for interactive street level visualization. We will continue to invest in the best integration solutions for our customers with the ALK family of products.”

ALK Maps is powered by the PC Miler routing, mileage and mapping engine with commercial truck restrictions. Hazmat-specific road classes and routing categories, bridge heights and clearances, weight limits and allowances are also provided as well as one-way road designations, left-hand and dangerous turn restrictions, and urban road classifications.


Cloud software speeds Web publishing at Victoria University

February 10th, 2014

Victoria University has sped up its ability to add and update digital content for the Web by replacing an email-based support system with cloud-based customer service software.

The Melbourne-based tertiary institution looked for software to help its 12-person staff manage the Web content requests that are regularly submitted by 1500 to 2000 staff across the university, according to Eleanor Tan, manager of Web UX and communications.

The team deals with about 120 such requests per month, including news items, event announcements and course information updates, she said. Some larger projects, such as developing a new microsite, can take several days to complete, she said.

The amount of work has increased over time as Victoria University has transitioned to digital, Tan told Computerworld Australia

“Everything is moving to digital and we have stopped producing a lot of our paper-based publications and course guides. A lot of things are now going online, so it has increased the number of requests that we have.”

However, the university’s old, email-based method of taking requests was not holding up to the task, said Tan.

“We had such a horrible system,” she said. “We received everything by email and the same email would be sent to about eight to 10 people. We’d have to yell across the room, ‘Who’s [working] on this?’”

“It was quite antiquated.”

The university officially implemented Zendesk in January, following a two-month trial of the customer service software. Tan already had experience with Zendesk, having introduced it at the AFL in a previous job, and did not consider any alternative software, she said.

A major advantage of using the software compared to the previous email system is that staff can now monitor how many requests are coming in and track how long it is taking to respond to them, Tan said.

“That was something that I found really difficult in the past. If something was sitting there for five days and hadn’t been responded to, I couldn’t tell.”

Importantly, the experience for the end users making the requests is largely unchanged — they still submit requests by email, but now the software handles them in the backend, she said.

“They don’t need to know that we’re using this new system at all,” Tan said. “I really didn’t want to have to change people’s behaviour. People don’t like change, especially at the university.”

Since introducing the software, the Web content team has reported “feeling much more efficient because they know exactly what they’re doing now,” Tan said.

In addition, the software has injected some healthy competition into the staff because it presents a leader board showing who has completed the most tasks, she said.

While the experience has been largely positive, Tan said the Zendesk software’s presentation of emails could be improved.

“Sometimes when we receive a request, it comes in HTML format but the formatting gets stripped out by default. Sometimes that’s a little bit difficult to manage.”

Zendesk has doubled its customers in Australia and New Zealand in the past year and now has nearly 3000 local customers, the vendor reported last week. In addition to Victoria University, other customers here include Crazy Domains, Lonely Planet, LJ Hooker, the REA Group, Tourism Australia, Forever New, Cotton On and Kwik Kopy.


Nginx Web server goes commercial with new release

August 22nd, 2013

Nginx is releasing a commercial edition of its namesake open source Web server software, called Nginx Plus, which it will market as a software alternative to application delivery controllers (ADCs).

“The features that have been added are very similar to what you’d find in hardware-based ADCs,” said Gus Robertson, CEO of Nginx. “We’re an alternative to Apache, but I think we’re also an alternative to hardware-based application delivery controllers.”

Robertson said that the software will provide functionality similar to that of ADC appliances from F5 Networks or Citrix, which are used to speed delivery of high traffic websites through techniques of load balancing and caching.

Nginx has already made a name for itself as a Web server able to very efficiently handle large amounts of traffic.

Russian system administrator Igor Sysoev released the first version of Nginx in 2004 under a BSD open source license, after becoming frustrated by what he felt were the limitations of the market-leading Apache Web server software.

Sysoev specifically designed Nginx (pronounced “Engine X”) for handling large volumes of traffic, up to 10,000 concurrent connections per server. It includes advanced traffic management features often found in ADCs, such as load balancing, edge caching and reverse proxy services.

According to the company, Nginx is now the most widely used Web server software among the world’s 1,000 busiest sites. Web heavyweights such as Netflix, Hulu, Pinterest, AirBnB,, GitHub, SoundCloud, Zynga, Eventbrite and Zappos have all used Nginx to serve their sites.

The software now runs about 100 million websites overall, or about 14.55 percent of the Web, according to the latest Internet survey from Netcraft.

Sysoev founded Nginx the company in 2011, and took the role of chief technology officer. Nginx attracted US$3 million in first-round venture capital funding. Currently, it employs about 15 people. Robertson took over as CEO in April; formerly, he was the vice president of global business development for Red Hat, another open source software company.

Heretofore, Nginx, the company, has chiefly offered subscription support services for the open source software, around configuration and performance tuning, performance optimization and technical account management. Nginx Plus is the company’s first commercial product.

Under a dual license, the commercial version of Nginx will offer additional features over the freely available open source version.

“The advanced functionality enhances the capabilities of Nginx in regards to load balancing, request routing, health monitoring and general control and monitoring of Nginx instances in mission critical environments,” said Andrew Alexeev, Nginx co-founder and head of business development.

One of the most significant new features is the ability to make configuration changes to a running copy of Nginx, without the need to restart the software for the changes to take affect. Typically configuration changes to Web server software, such as Nginx or Apache, require the software to be stopped and then restarted, which can momentarily disrupt operations.

“Even graceful restarts can affect the operation, and adds slight overhead. [Users] want to change aspects of Nginx on the fly,” Alexeev said.

With monitoring, the commercial package provides metrics of a running copy of Nginx, in the JSON (JavaScript Simple Object Notation) format. “You can import these metrics into any standard commercial or open source monitoring system, or you could use your own template through HTML or JavaScript,” Alexeev said. The software package also comes with its own metrics dashboard as well.

The health check can alert an administrator when a back-end component of a Web application has failed, such as the database. It does this by comparing the size of a new Web page with the size it should be. It can also automatically take out of service those servers relying on the failing components. Nginx has also collaborated with New Relic to integrate the data generated by health checks to show up in New Relic’s application performance management (APM) software.

Other features of the commercial edition include additional load balancing capabilities, and advanced media streaming for Adobe HDS and Apple HLS video formats.

Although Nginx Plus should run on any standard Linux distribution, Nginx has certified that the software runs on Amazon Linux, Red Hat, CentOS, Ubuntu, and Debian distributions.


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