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Why New Relic

Benefitted from both ability to dig deep into data and gain overall view and health of application

  • App Map provides visibility into external services
  • Transaction Traces identify root cause of problems
  • Custom dashboard allows users to specify unique time picker value

FiftyThree Brings Ideas to Life Using Node.js with New Relic

FiftyThree develops tools for mobile creation. Its award-winning iPad app, Paper, lets makers and creators capture their ideas as digital sketches, diagrams, illustrations, notes or drawings, just as one would using a notebook or journal. Users can share their creations over the web, or choose to get their Paper content published as a custom-printed Moleskine. To date, more than 8 million people have downloaded Paper, and it’s no wonder—the app was named Apple’s 2012 App of the Year and received a 2013 Gold IDEA award in digital design from the Industrial Designers Society of America. With offices in New York and Seattle, FiftyThree brings together the craft of software, hardware, and service design.

Why Node.js

Paper is a native iOS app. FiftyThree uses Node.js as its server-side code for enabling features like the in-app. Made With Paper stream and the account system for ordering Moleskine Books. The development team chose this JavaScript approach for a couple of reasons, the first one being that they liked the simplicity of using the same language on both the back- and front-end. Node.js’ event loop model also made it perfectly suited for being a fast web server. And it didn’t hurt that there was an enthusiastic and fanatical community surrounding Node.js to help FiftyThree solidify its decision. With its new framework in place, however, the FiftyThree team knew it also needed a performance monitoring solution to ensure that Paper was delivering the best user experience possible.

New Relic: A perfect complement to Node.js

In March 2013, FiftyThree joined the pre-beta program for New Relic’s Node.js agent. “We immediately saw that Node.js and New Relic went hand-in-hand from the start,” says Aseem Kishore, developer at FiftyThree. “Compared to the other tools we’ve evaluated, it’s by far the most professional and does the best job of revealing the root cause of problems instantly.”

After a few months of testing New Relic’s pre-beta Node.js agent, FiftyThree eventually upgraded to the product’s beta program—at which point, Kishore became even more impressed by the solution’s robust new features. Not only did Transaction Traces help him identify the root cause of problems in their Node.js transactions, but the App Map feature also provided superior visibility into their app’s external services. “Being able to see the different external components in our system, including the ones that are running the slowest, is extremely helpful,” says Kishore. “I also like that we can change the time windows for the charts we see in the dashboard. New Relic makes it very easy to pinpoint exactly what we’re looking for.”

Summing up his experience with New Relic thus far, Kishore references a famous quote from astronomer and author Clifford Stoll: “Data is not information, information is not knowledge, knowledge is not understanding, understanding is not wisdom.” Says Kishore, “The reason I bring that up is because it ties into how I feel about other Node.js monitoring solutions out there. They may give you the data, but no insight. New Relic, on the other hand, gives you the data and the insight.”

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