Adventures in Big Data: Join the Community, Share, and Give Back

Posted by Bill Yetman on February 19, 2014 in Big Data, Development

Ancestry.com to Host HBase Meetup on March 12th at our SF office  If you are thinking about starting a Big Data Initiative, you may want to consider its affect across the organization. At Ancestry.com, we have been a very traditional Microsoft .NET and SQL Server shop for a long time. Several Initiatives, two which involve… Read more

Throwing Dynamite into the Log Jam

Posted by Tyler Jensen on February 6, 2014 in Development, Inside our Offices

I changed teams at the beginning of the year from search services to an R&D team working on some exciting projects. The team has created a distributed system to repeatedly process and analyze many billions of family history records using a complex and time consuming algorithm that has been challenging to scale up and out.… Read more

Why Have a Browser Support Policy?

Posted by Jeff Lord on January 6, 2014 in Analytics, Development, Mobile, Testing, Web

With the growing number of web browsers and mobile devices being used to access content on the internet, it has become increasingly important for organizations to solidify a browser/device support policy. Internally, this type of policy can help with the development and testing of new features and pages by focusing time, effort, and resources on… Read more

Exposing APIs to Your Clients

Posted by Seng Lin Shee on November 27, 2013 in API, Development, Mobile, Technical Management

So, you want to share your super awesome system with the world. You have it all figured out. You implemented it as a web service, and you have exposed the necessary APIs as HTTP endpoints. Your hope is that people will start to leverage those endpoints and begin to build awe-inspiring apps that will further… Read more

Imagine Future Technology for Family History Simulations

Posted by Lincoln Cannon on November 19, 2013 in Development, Machine Learning, Science

Ancestry.com is a technology company that knows family history – not just a family history company, and not even a family history company that just happens to use technology. Technology, and particularly computing, is essential to our mission to help everyone discover, preserve and share family history. Without it, we could still tell family stories… Read more

The Platform Initiative at Ancestry.com

Posted by Jim Mosher on November 18, 2013 in API, Development

Ancestry.com has been operating a massive data service and website for over 17 years. As you might imagine, the needs of the business 17 years ago were much different from what they are now. Currently supporting over two million subscribers and providing access to more than 12 billion records in over 30,000 historical collections, Ancestry.com… Read more

Untangling Authentication and Authorization

Posted by Seng Lin Shee on September 27, 2013 in Development, Mobile, Technical Management, Web

When designing web service APIs, a decision has to be made to protect the usage of such APIs. If you are working within a protected firewall, and you trust every single user or machine on the network, this article does not apply to you – you are in API heaven. For the rest of us,… Read more

FedEx Day (a.k.a Hack Day) is a Fun Way to Introduce Innovation and Encourage Collaboration – and Improve Your Website

Posted by Bill Yetman on September 14, 2013 in Development, Inside our Offices

I’m taking a break from writing about “Adventures in Big Data” to focus on another passion – how to inspire collaboration and innovation within your organization. At Ancestry.com, we hold a FedEx Day twice a year, and try to make a big deal out of the event. The idea to run our own FedEx Day… Read more

Put More Engineer in Software Engineering

Posted by Brian Bradford on September 10, 2013 in Development, Inside our Offices

My great-granddad, Vet Bradford, was the foreman in charge of digging a tunnel through a mountain in the 1950s. There was a stream of water on one side of the mountain, and a really thirsty town on the other. To speed things up, he had two crews digging on each side, with a plan to… Read more