Friday, February 5, 2010

The reason why the taxi booking app didn't work

The Comfort-Delgro Taxi Booking app is a great idea but its back-end needs help. If you tried using the app around 6pm yesterday, you would have found it impossible to use. After you keyed in your pick-up address, you hit a button and waited. And waited. And waited. And then, if you were like me, you gave up and hailed a cab, saving you the $2.50 booking fee.

What happened? The short answer, I believe, is server overload. If you type in your pickup address, say "9 king george ave", the app takes that and sends it to a server that will eventually translate the address into "9 King George's Avenue, Singapore 208581." This, naturally, takes a little time.

At 6pm yesterday, i.e. peak hour, the app essentially failed to work because it took forever for the server to translate your address into a format it could use. I'm guessing that it was overwhelmed with requests. However, I can verify that the app works because I tried it both yesterday morning at about 10am and yesterday evening at about 11pm.

Hopefully Comfort-Delgro will beef up the back-end to handle the load. It's a great app with lots of potential.


Mugunth Kumar said...

But does Comfort delgro does this or do they pass it on to google maps reverse geocoding api?

Jimmy Yap said...

Good question. I'm guessing they do this themselves but I really don't know. I'm guessing they are doing it themselves because Google Maps would not take so long to resolve the address.

Jimmy Yap said...

In fact, I'm pretty sure they do it themselves. Last night, I keyed in 163 Bukit Merah Central, and I got Block 163, Bukit Merah Central, Bukit Merah Polyclinic, s. 150163.

Google Maps would not have added the Bukit Merah Polyclinic.