Watchful platform updates for Summer 2022

Published by Vic Drover

Platform Updates For Summer 2022

Summertime is typically a bit of a slower period here at Watchful. So our engineers get a chance to chip away at some of the less-urgent tasks on our roadmap. While many of these don’t warrant their own blog post, I thought it might be useful to compile our platform updates for Summer 2022 so they don’t go overlooked.

User interface changes

A number of the changes we’ll highlight in this post are related to the user interface or UI of Watchful. We’re always looking for ways to improve the user experience, and many of these begin as feature requests by Watchful account holders.

Improved log filters

A small but very useful change to the log search and filter tool. As most of you know, the Watchful logs are extensive and can be overwhelming when you add more than a few sites.

Many users will filter the logs either by site or by log type. In the latter case, perhaps you want to view the recently completed backups. You can now select this easily in the log type dropdown grouped with the other backups related log types.

The change here is that the log types are now grouped in the same way as the log types are grouped in the notifications area (core updates, backups, file changes, etc…).

Log Filtering Changes 2022
Log type filters (left) are now grouped the same way as the notification selectors (right).

Password protected secret key

When you add a site to Watchful, we use a secret key to encrypt communications between the platform and your website.

Previously, anyone logged into your Watchful account could view the key. This could be a security risk if your PC was left unattended while logged into Watchful (for example).

The secret key can be viewed when editing the site details. As you can see below, the key is now password protected. You will need to click the eye icon and reenter the account password to reveal the secret key.

Passeword Protected Secret Key
The secret key is now password protected by default.

Opt-in to test new features

The final last UI change we made that I want to highlight is the ability to opt-in to our early access program. This can be found on the profile tab of the account area in Watchful.

The early access program is included with Watchful Premium and lets users test new features in late-stage development.

Join Early Access Program
Opt-in to the early access program in the profile area at Watchful.

New features

The platform updates for Summer 2022 also include a few new features.

New uptime monitoring tool

First on our list is a new uptime monitoring tool. We’ve been quietly developing it for some time and started slowly and carefully rolling it out over the summer months.

As we’ve expanded its use, we’ve fixed bugs and improved reliability along the way.

False downtime alerts are one of the areas we hoped to improve when building our own uptime monitoring system. False positives often occur when the server performing the uptime check is physically located far away from the server hosting the website in question.

One of the most recent changes we made to address this problem is the addition of multiple servers around the world to help check and verify that sites are actually up or down. Our array of servers can now perform uptime checks from Australia, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Ireland, Sweden, and the United States.

As a result, a number of new IP addresses have been added to our white listing documentation.

Update, 2022-10-27: The new uptime monitoring tool has been fully launched. See the announcement on our blog for full details.

Theme updates enabled

And finally, WordPress now supports updates for your WordPress themes alongside plugins and core updates.

This was a very common feature request and we are thrilled to have full support for all types of WordPress updates.

This Fall we will also add theme updates to our Automatic Update Scheduler.

Wordpress Theme Updates
WordPress themes in the Watchful Updater.

Work-life balance is important

Summertime can be hectic for anyone in the web design business. For me personally, it’s always a struggle to find the right balance between productivity at work, spending time outside to enjoy the warmer weather, sharing a vacation with family and helping my children get ready for the upcoming school year.

Despite this, I’m proud of what we accomplished this summer and I’m excited to celebrate our 10th birthday next month!


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