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Wix developers get insights into the user experience with browser monitoring

Business Challenge

Founded in 2006, Wix.com is a leading cloud-based web development platform with more than 80 million registered users worldwide.

Through free and premium subscriptions, Wix empowers millions of businesses, organizations, professionals, and individuals to take their businesses, brands, and workflow online. The Wix Editor and highly curated App Market enable users to build and manage a fully integrated and dynamic digital presence. Wix is headquartered in Tel Aviv, Israel, with offices in the United States in San Francisco, New York, and Miami; in Vilnius, Lithuania; and in Dnepropetrovsk, Ukraine.

Scaling and accelerating development with DevOps and microservices

What do millions of musicians, designers, dentists, bloggers, photographers, and other small business owners in more than 190 countries have in common? They use Wix to create and manage their online presence and small business workflow. “In addition to creating a stunning, professional website with our platform, business owners can choose from more than 250 apps to help them promote and run their business,” says Aviran Mordo, head of engineering at Wix. Those apps let small businesses manage everything from sending invoices, marketing their business, and using live chat with customers to appointment scheduling and reservations

As Wix continues its double-digit, year-over-year growth, adding 1.5 million new users each month, the complexity and breadth of the Wix platform is expanding significantly. That complexity and growth translates into a major challenge for Mordo’s team: providing high-quality apps extremely quickly across the various specific industry verticals that Wix targets.

To meet that challenge, Mordo decided to shift the Wix culture to DevOps and start moving to a microservices architecture. “The combination of microservices and DevOps is helping us scale our engineering resources as well as our infrastructure,” says Mordo. “Today we have more than 200 microservices running in production, supported by our engineers and a small team of operations people.”

An important part of the cultural shift to DevOps was asking Mordo’s team of 400 developers to assume ownership of their code running in production rather than depending on the operations group to handle issues. Mordo understood that this new responsibility required access to software performance data that the developers did not have at their disposal.

Software analytics that everyone can use

As a proof of concept, Mordo decided to start using New Relic application performance monitoring (APM) to monitor two of the company’s services. “We were surprised at how easy it was for developers to be engaged with New Relic,” says Mordo. “It not only gives them visibility into production, it allows them to be more proactive and understand that they are not just running software, they’re actually operating a system.” After the rapid initial success, Wix began running the New Relic Software Analytics Cloud across its entire platform, expanding its toolset beyond New Relic APM to include New Relic browser monitoring, and New Relic mobile.

Today every developer at Wix uses New Relic, along with the operations staff and even the business intelligence group, which incorporates the data into the Hadoop platform. Each development team has large monitors that show metrics from New Relic such as performance, user interactions, errors, number of deployments, and more. “New Relic makes the data really accessible to our developers and they love it because it’s self-service,” says Mordo. “It’s particularly critical for us because we can see the interdependencies between our hundreds of microservices running in production.”

Frontend developers at Wix use data from browser monitoring to report custom events about the different stages of application loading. “Because we're a full-page application, New Relic browser is one of the best tools that we found that allows our frontend developers to understand and measure what's happening.” With New Relic, Wix developers now have real-time visibility into application behavior on the frontend, including exceptions and errors. While Wix has roughly 15 million mobile websites, it is now starting to develop mobile applications as well. “Although it's very early stages for us with mobile apps, we’re already embedding New Relic mobile into what we're developing,” says Mordo.

Improving code quality while accelerating daily deployments

Mordo credits New Relic with helping his team adopt DevOps successfully. “I believe that DevOps is something that the whole company needs to do in order to release product really, really fast,” says Mordo. “It's about responsibility. If you build it, then you run it, and we use New Relic to empower our developers to do exactly that.”

Mordo provides an example of how data from New Relic has helped developers take on their new responsibilities: “In one of our daily meetings, one of the developers was looking at New Relic and noticed that the performance of one of our critical services was 50 milliseconds per request,” says Mordo.  "Without anyone telling him to do so, he went back and fixed the problem, reducing the time to 20 milliseconds."

Two other key aspects of the DevOps approach are quality and speed. Using New Relic, Wix is continually improving both. The company uses New Relic for daily monitoring as well as weekly reviews with developers to identify performance issues and prioritize actions to improve the code. At the same time, the company is accelerating its deployment frequency. “Every year we’re increasing how fast we’re deploying code,” says Mordo. “We now release code between 80 to 100 times a day compared to 60 to 70 times a day last year.”

The improved quality and performance of Wix’s platform was validated during a recent event. When the company decided to run an ad during the Super Bowl, Mordo’s team knew that everything needed to be ready for a sudden, dramatic spike in traffic. “We used New Relic to help us do a lot of load testing and capacity preparation ahead of the Super Bowl,” says Mordo. “When the ad ran, we had one minute where we saw this huge spike in traffic. All the engineers were prepared to take action if anything didn’t work correctly, but it all worked exactly as designed. We didn’t have to do anything.”

As Wix continues to grow and evolve its platform, Mordo knows that New Relic will be an essential component of his team’s success. “New Relic has dramatically impacted our culture, giving us the ability to be extremely data-driven in everything we do,” says Mordo. “When it comes to DevOps, Wix is leading the pack and New Relic is a big part of helping us achieve that.”

New Relic has dramatically impacted our culture, giving us the ability to be extremely data-driven in everything we do. When it comes to DevOps, Wix is leading the pack and New Relic is a big part of helping us achieve that.