Today marks the first day of the Cambridge Beer Festival, the longest running CAMRA beer festival, one of the largest beer festivals in the UK and in our obviously correct opinion, by far the best. Not only have we run the web back-end for many Cambridge CAMRA websites for many years, this year we’ve been involved with Cambridge App Solutions who run the iPhone Beer Festival App. They’d been having some trouble with their existing hosting provider for the back-end. In frustration they moved it to their Cloud Raspberry Pi which worked rather better. They then suggested that we keep the production service on the Raspberry Pi, despite it being a beta service.
Preparing for production
We’ve set up all our management services for the hosted Pi in question, including 24/7 monitoring and performance graphing. We then met up with Craig, their director in the pub to discuss the app prior to launch. The Pi 3 is fronted by CloudFlare who provide SSL. However, the connection to the Pi3 from Cloudflare was initially unencrypted. We took Craig through our SSL on a Raspberry Pi hosting guide and about a minute later we had a free Let’s Encrypt certificate to enable full end-to-end data security.
The iPhone Beer Festival App tracks which beers are available and the ratings for how good they are. Availability is officially provided, ratings are crowd sourced. The app is continuously talking to the back end to keep the in app data up to date. All this data is stored and served from the Raspberry Pi 3 in the cloud.
The festival also has some Estimote beacons for proximity sensing which use Bluetooth Low Energy to provide precise location data to the phone. On entry to the beer festival the app wakes up and sends a hello message.