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Author Topic: Migrated Blockexplorer.com to BitPay's Insight  (Read 905 times)
liraz
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August 31, 2015, 09:50:20 PM
 #1

BlockExplorer.com is now powered by a lightly modified version of
BitPay's Insight, which pretty much solves all of the problems we had
with the old site. The new site has a modern design with good mobile
support, working search, transaction information that updates in
real-time, and a responsive public API.

Thanks to the generous support of Private Internet Access (who also
sponsor this forum) the site runs blazing fast on a 12-core system with
64GB RAM, a RAID0 array of SSDs and a very good Gigabit connection. Most
of the blockchain is buffered in RAM.

All of the source is on GitHub:

https://github.com/bitcoin-blockexplorer

Hopefully the re-launch will help re-establish the site as a reliable
part of the Bitcoin ecosystem. Blockexplorer was the first Bitcoin Block
Explorer. It's been around for 5 years and I'm happy to contribute to
making sure it sticks around for another 5 years. Preferably with as
many other easily accessible (hopefully open source) copies of the
blockchain as possible. A decentralized open source payment system like
Bitcoin should have a decentralized ecosystem of tools and resources
supporting it. Trusted third parties are a security hole!

I've done my best to preserve as much of the old link structure and API
as possible. It's not a perfect translation but there should be few
broken links. The hardest nut to crack were the shorturls which also
caused the most serious performance issues on the old server due to how
they were looked up in the database. This was compounded by the search
engine crawlers that pounded on them 24x7. Thankfully, by lucky
coincidence we can continue supporting all of the shorturls with the
NoSQL database (LevelDB) that Insight uses as the lookup is super cheap.

Due to the load the site was almost impossible to work with in place so
I finally bit the bullet and shut down the site completely and completed
the migration over a couple of weekends.

The old code is still on GitHub, mostly just for reference / educational
purposes.

FWIW, the old PHP code finally gave out around the time the spam attacks
started. After that it kept choking on the blockchain. We kept the site
up for the last 2 years by kicking the can down the road and throwing
hardware at it. I'm actually kind of surprised it kept working (sortof)
for so long.

Thanks to:

- Private Internet Access for the hardware and support

- The Insight team for making such a kickass open source bitcoin
  blockchain explorer and to BitPay for sponsoring it.

- Everyone who offered to help and reported issues with the old site.

  Sorry for sometimes sucking so badly at responding quickly (even
  within ridiculously generous values of "quickly").

Apologies to Theymos for any confusion and misdirected complaints
regarding the site. In retrospect when I picked up the torch I
dramatically underestimated how much work it would take just to keep the
old PHP code up and running. Technical debt is a major PITA.

Notes on what you can expect if you want to run your own copy of Insight:

https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=801333.msg12294263#msg12294263

Stats on the level of activity the site currently gets (2 billion hits a month):

https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=1102750.new#new

Reference to older blockexplorer.com-related posts on the BitcoinTalk forum:

https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=272977.new

https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=1727.msg1541627#msg1541627
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August 31, 2015, 10:51:36 PM
 #2

Thank you for your efforts!

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bitspill
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September 01, 2015, 02:05:54 AM
 #3

This is certainly a good thing, the old blockexplorer.com was a very rough experience.

"Internet Private Access", should that actually read Private Internet Access?

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liraz
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September 01, 2015, 11:12:02 AM
 #4

Brain miswired. Thanks for catching that. I edited the post.

"Internet Private Access", should that actually read Private Internet Access?
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September 01, 2015, 12:06:07 PM
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Thanks ! Apperciate your work for the community.   

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September 01, 2015, 12:15:19 PM
 #6

This new Blockexplorer.com interface is nice, much better than the old one.

I have a problem with it when viewing transactions of an address. The transactions are not ordered with the most recent at the top. I believe it is currently sort by date (most recent on top) but within that day, the transactions are sorted by time (least recent on top). This is rather confusing.
liraz
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September 06, 2015, 03:47:50 PM
 #7

I can't reproduce this so that probably means I am misunderstanding you. Could you give me a specific example of what you are seeing for a given address vs what you expected to see?

This new Blockexplorer.com interface is nice, much better than the old one.

I have a problem with it when viewing transactions of an address. The transactions are not ordered with the most recent at the top. I believe it is currently sort by date (most recent on top) but within that day, the transactions are sorted by time (least recent on top). This is rather confusing.
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September 06, 2015, 04:00:44 PM
 #8

Looks pretty good. Is there any soft/hard limit to use the API @ https://blockexplorer.com/api ?

liraz
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September 10, 2015, 03:43:13 PM
 #9

Not really but try to use common sense. I had to block this one IP today from Sweden that pounding on the site harder than everyone else put together (over 50% of requests). No user agent. I put up with it for a week or so but he just kept it up. Relentless. If you're doing hundreds of requests a second on an ongoing basis, better to run your own copy of Insight.

Looks pretty good. Is there any soft/hard limit to use the API @ https://blockexplorer.com/api ?
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September 10, 2015, 03:57:20 PM
 #10

Very interesting choice, seems to be a move in the right direction if you ask me. Will take a closer look over the weekend Smiley
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