Updates — Apercite is back!

Published on Apr 23, 2018, 9:25:00 AM by Romain

In the middle of Febuary 2018, the Apercite service has been shutdown.

We perfectly understood this decision. Managing a service provided for free to anyone is time consuming and unrewarding, especially if you do it for 10 years, paying all the server and related services bills, all that while working on the side. Priorities are important in life, and this is how Apercite slowly died... Until today!

Today we're proud to announce that Makersquad has taken over the project, and that after a few hardcore weeks of coding and plugging servers and containers together, we're confident enough with the base service to be able to announce the current status, and our plans for the future.

Current state

The Apercite service is back up.

I mean, not everything, but the most important part is. There are a few changes (although all the URLs you already use should still work as expected), mostly because we switched the browser we use to a more modern and resource-savy one. It also means that the "hasJava" and "hasFlash" flags has no effect anymore. It is the same browser for everyone. Please let us know if it causes any trouble for you.

The simplest URL to use Apercite anonymously is now https://www.apercite.fr/api/<your url there>. A quick reference is available at https://www.apercite.fr/doc/, and this page will be enhanced over time to link and describe all APIs and possibilities.

All URLs you were using for the thumbnails API still work, let us know if we missed one (but server logs tend to say it's not the case). The "date" and "update" API is not back up yet, feel free to contact us if you have specific needs.

So meta...

Work in progress

Our top priorities, now that the service is back up, is to work on the following:

  • Fair usage: the free public API is provided for all to use, and it's important that we don't allow abuse of the service, those would decrease the quality of service for others. If you need intensive API usage, please contact us so we find out the best solution for your case.

  • Public website: the public homepage is kind of sad actually, and we'll describe the service way better quite soon. Again, our priority was the service first.

  • Status page: we'll be transparent about what's happening on the service. You'll know exactly how many browsers are actually working (hint: quite a lot), how many thumbnails are created, and status of the different services (a post is coming to explain our architecture, very soon).

  • User acounts: we're still thinking abouut how this will look like in the future, but to give a few ideas, it may include informations about your domains and sites, about thuumbnails you use, and probably tools to understand why some thumbnail is not working (because there is always a reason).

  • Secondary APIs: meta informations, thumbnails update requests, formats, statistics, etc...

The future

Once this is done (and not before), we will look toward the future of Apercite.

One top priority from this point will be to think about Apercite's business.

Let me say it first, the free service is here to stay.

But we also need to think seriously about sustainability, to offer a world-class service level to the most demanding customers.

There are a lot of things we may propose from this point. Prefetch service, different image formats (png, but also webp for modern browsers), asynchronous javascript api to reload an image once it's generated, priority spots in the queues, daily updates of thumbnails, domain/site management in the user area, content delivery networks, white-labelled domains, ... we do not lack ideas, obviously (and we keep some of them as secrets for now, too).

It's also a good time for you to tell us what you'd need. We can't make any promises, but we'll listen and answer. Use the bottom-right question-mark, Luke!

Oh, and we speak english, but also french. Feel free to use either language to talk to us.

Closing words

We're really proud to have the chance of taking over the service.

Francis, founder and previous dedicated housekeeper of Apercite, did an amazing work over the last decade, and we would not be at the tip of launching the third major version of Apercite without him. So thanks a lot to him for the great work he achieved.

Also, the coming tasks are challenging, but hopefully, we love that!

Looking forward of making bazillions thumbnails for you...

Stay tuned!

Romain @ MakerSquad.