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Moving Away from Intercom

Migrating our site support system
Moving Away from Intercom

Moving Away from Intercom

A few years ago a consultant convinced us to integrate Intercom into our website. In retrospect this was a mistake which I’ll discuss in more depth below. We are migrating away from Intercom right now…​ That means that if you have an email address or ongoing chat history with us in Intercom it might get lost!
Worse. If you unsubscribe this might also get lost due to the migration process (sorry about that!). We’re moving to a new far better system (crisp).

What’s Intercom

It’s the chat widget at the bottom right portion of the website.

It also handles the emails we send out offering help or pointing out information about Codename One. We use it to send out email announcements etc. It’s useful because when you reply to an email or chat it all goes to one place so we know who we’re talking with (sort of, it doesn’t do a great job). E.g. if you use the chat wizard then answer through email for us it’s one interface.

Why does it Suck

Intercom is a bad product and to make things worse it’s expensive. It does the basic things reasonably well but it’s UX and UI are very badly designed for us and our audience.

Despite Intercom’s many shortcomings we were lazy on the issue of migration as there is always something more important to do. Thankfully Intercom decided to change their pricing model so we’d pay 5x the already inflated price which was the perfect incentive for us to discover crisp which is far cheaper and seems like a better product altogether.

With this you should already see the new chat widget below and should be able to interact with us there…​ You can also check out the new website that was generated as apart of the process. Hopefully we’ll strengthen it with a bigger knowledge base.

Where Next

Unfortunately this is just the tip of the iceberg. Intercoms code is embedded deep into the backend systems. The problem is we still have some app engine servers running and it’s really hard to update them as Google effectively killed off the system we were using. So we are finally doing what we procrastinated on for 3 years and removing app engine completely from our stack!

This is a HUGE move, I can’t over state it. All our user logs and everything is in app engine. That might mean that if you had an old "dormant" account that you haven’t used in years it might get deleted in the migration as we won’t be able to migrate it. That’s not a big deal since such accounts would typically be free accounts and you could just re-create that account. The bigger benefit is that we would be able to implement a lot of the features we always wanted to and couldn’t because of the problems in our backend!

You might notice some kinks in the migration let us know in the comments or the chat if things don’t work well. Setting up the automated emails from scratch will be a nightmare but it has to be done.

This might delay some things such as the book release, but we are making progress there…​

I’m sending out an email with some more details there if you are interested. It will be the first email to go out with the new crisp system so hopefully this works out nicely. If you don’t get it let us know in the chat and we’ll try to track that with you.

Codename One 5.0

This isn’t directly related to that but with this overhaul the decision is even more important. We decided to bump Codename One 5.0 to September 2018 instead of the current July release date.

We think features such as JDK 9/10/11 support is crucial with the new JDK release cycles. I’d also like Codename One to work with OpenJDK which is now a more stable target. Since these things require a lot of testing over time we think this new release date is crucial.

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Posted by Shai Almog

Shai is the co-founder of Codename One. He's been a professional programmer for over 25 years. During that time he has worked with dozens of companies including Sun Microsystems.
For more follow Shai on Twitter & github.