SMART Technologies

SMART Technologies can now spot errors in their JavaScript code before they affect end users

In the world of digital transformation, where every company is a software company, the moviegoing experience now begins online. The small cinema sector is no exception, and the pressure is on for boutique cinemas to keep up with large multiplexes and meet online expectations.

“It’s not just about when you turn up to the cinema anymore. It’s about the entire booking process,” says Sean Jackson, Software Development Manager at Veezi. “Buying your ticket online needs to be as easy and simple as possible.”

To help independent cinemas provide the unique and frictionless experience that moviegoers crave, Veezi’s development team needs to deliver updates and features that are error-free.

“It’s incredibly important for Veezi to deliver a reliable experience.” Sean says.

Sean Jackson, Software Development Manager at Veezi
Vista Cinema software runs in 40% of the world's cinemas in 100-plus countries worldwide. If our customers aren't getting a reliable experience from us, that means their customers aren't getting a reliable experience from them.
Sean Jackson - Software Development Manager

As a manager, it’s Sean’s job to maintain development velocity by optimizing the time developers spend writing code. As part of that task, Sean is always looking for inefficiencies in processes and tooling. During a routine evaluation, he noticed that managing errors was consuming too much of his team’s time. Sean recognized that instead of testing every configuration and looking through error logs to diagnose errors, an error monitoring solution would alert them to errors and their cause.

Sean says that when they implemented Raygun Crash Reporting, he was able to introduce more efficient error management workflows. The results were excellent—his team saved hours every week—enabling them to optimize time spent writing features and delivering quality code to customers.

Collection of images showing Veezi by Vista using Raygun Crash Reporting to increase reliability

The confidence to deploy, even during times of increased load

Modern multiplexes have set the bar high for independent cinema. Moviegoers want a boutique experience, but still expect state-of-the-art screens, luxury seating, and flawless booking experiences.

Monitoring thousands of applications for software problems is challenging, but Veezi has built robust workflows that ensure—even with increased load from blockbuster movie releases—there is no downtime for their customers.

Sean explains: “For movie releases like the Avengers or a new Star Wars movie, we'll see up to 20 times our usual load coming through our ticketing systems.”

Even during these high-load windows, Raygun Crash Reporting gives the team confidence to deploy changes and bug fixes faster. “When we deploy a feature into our test system, being able to find any errors before we push it up to production and before our customers notice is absolutely critical. Raygun is absolutely an integral part of our workflow to enable deployment of better software faster.”

With Raygun’s Dashboard, Sean’s team can investigate and resolve errors before customers notice, allowing them to deliver their product more reliably and more quickly.

I think now we have one of the best workflows you would find anywhere. We're able to power through writing new features more of the time and that means better outcomes for our customers and their customers.

A best-practice workflow enables Veezi to innovate and scale up faster

A best-practice workflow enables Veezi to innovate and scale up faster

Online ticket sales for cinemas are increasing every year, and we know that moviegoers that purchase online are more likely to attend in groups, buy concession items and upgrade to premium seating. Therefore, more independent cinemas are turning to Veezi to help increase their online reputation and their bottom line.

As Veezi’s team grows and scales up to meet that demand, Sean wants to ensure the development team is always delivering new value and maintaining an error-free product.

"It's important for us to be able to have a lot of confidence in our own product. Because everyone here is really passionate about the movies, we are essentially customers of our customers. That motivates us to innovate faster and deliver our product as soon as achievable as well.”

Linbis uses Raygun Crash Reporting and Slack for proactive error monitoring

To create an effective method of detecting errors in production, Eric looked to Raygun Crash Reporting. One of the first steps Eric’s team took was to set up production alerts so that the development team is made aware of any issues in real-time.

“Raygun’s had a positive impact on our team; that ties back to the developer’s ability to spend most of their time writing features with confidence and reducing the lead time of feature delivery."

“Everyone is proud to be part of this unique business where we are supporting the independent cinema industry with a mission-critical product and in doing so, increasing both the standard of their moviegoer experience and the economic success of their cinemas.”

About Veezi and Vista Cinema

Veezi, engineered by Vista, is the leading independent cinema management software solution in the world. Running in the cloud, in more cinemas, in more countries than any other provider, you couldn't have better credentials to develop Veezi. A bunch of movie zealots working alongside Vista Cinema across 100+ countries (and counting), they understand the moviegoing experience and constantly strive to enhance it for all.

Visit www.veezi.com and follow Veezi on Facebook and Vista Cinema on LinkedIn and Twitter

For more than 30 years, SMART Technologies have helped educators achieve better results with technology products that support student-centered learning.

Their success is driven by a deep commitment to engagement with both the business and education communities. SMART Technologies boasts over 5 million software downloads annually, which makes Senior Software Developer Ben Schuiling driven to ensure the customer’s experience is an excellent one - regardless of time or location.

Ben recognized the need for a crash and error reporting solution that would give his team the ability to deliver the standard of software expected of SMART Technologies.

After realizing their current monitoring tool wasn’t performing to the required standard, Ben decided to try Raygun. A quick demo to the team was all Ben needed to get Raygun implemented across all SMART Technologies’ applications.

Ben from SMART Technologies
Raygun was the only tool that checked all the boxes - we are very happy with the product, so we never went anywhere else
Ben Schuiling - Senior Software Developer

Ben needed better data mapping and support for JavaScript Source maps

Before Raygun, Ben was finding his current crash reporting solution was making it difficult to backtrace obfuscated JavaScript code. Although it was doable, the team was losing valuable time attempting to recover any meaningful data needed to locate problems quickly.

Ben recalls: “The biggest issue we were facing was trying to (utilize) the data we were getting from our existing provider in terms of (relating the) call stacks back to something meaningful so that we can go and fix the problems we were seeing.”

With Raygun, Ben can access the de-obfuscated JavaScript he needs to locate issues quickly with Raygun's Error details pages.

Collection of images showing SMART Technologies' working areas

SMART Technologies puts their end users first with Affected User Tracking

For SMART Technologies, it’s all about the end user’s experience. Ben uses features like the Affected User Tracking (a standard feature to all Raygun plans) which enables Ben’s team to track which errors affected which users, and the navigation path they took to encounter the error. Being able to understand the exact environment in which the error occurred means replicating errors is much easier.

Does this give SMART Technologies an advantage over competitors? Ben thinks so.“It is extremely valuable to understand what has gone wrong on a customer's browser. Our end users are teachers in classrooms, so when things go wrong, they can’t put the class on hold and call us.”

Ben also uses the Affected User Tracking feature to triage errors. He sorts the errors using the Crash Reporting Dashboard and places a priority on errors occurring frequently to a significant amount of users.

We want to get a temperature check about what our customers may or may not be seeing and put our efforts into errors that are a high priority. For this, we use the affected user area a lot to see the impact of an error on our customers.

Ben saves development time by prioritizing important errors

Many of Raygun’s customers agree that spending time looking through the code for errors can be a waste of valuable developer resources. Especially when chasing errors that may not be a priority. Ben uses Raygun to get a deeper understanding of the overall health of SMART Technologies applications - including where bottlenecks and inefficiencies may be:

“The biggest thing we discovered by using Raygun was that we were paying attention to too many things. We realized we didn’t care about errors coming from third-party libraries because they were artificially inflating our error rates. With Raygun, we were able to filter those out.”

Would Ben recommend Raygun to another Senior Software Developer?

“Yes, I would recommend Raygun. Raygun offers the flexibility to set up your development environment as you wish while being able to gather metrics for your customers in a meaningful way. That helps you build higher quality software.”

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