Jun 13, 2021


This week I mostly worked on getting us towards having a generic way of linking GOV.UK email notifications to an account, for two reasons:

  1. Features like the Transition Checker conceptually have one email topic associated with them—the topic corresponding to your results—but in practice that means there’s a topic for every possible combination of results (sort of), all of which have a distinct name.

    So if the Transition Checker wanted to change a user’s email notifications (because they changed their results), it would have to do this:

    1. Call email-alert-api with the old results to get the old topic name
    2. Call email-alert-api with the new results to get the new topic name
    3. Call email-alert-api to get the user’s subscriptions, and pick out the one corresponding to the old topic
    4. Call email-alert-api to cancel the old subscription
    5. Call email-alert-api to create the new subscription

    That’s a bunch of steps! By having a slightly higher level abstraction, a named “email subscription” which can correspond to an arbitrary topic, we can push all the complication into account-api.

    So the Transition Checker instead does this:

    1. Call account-api with the agreed subscription name and the new results

    And behind the scenes account-api will:

    1. Check its database to see if there’s a previous subscription ID
    2. Call email-alert-api to cancel the previous subscription if so
    3. Call email-alert-api to set up the new subscription
    4. Store the new subscription ID in its database

    Having a database removes the need to do the “look up all the user’s subscriptions and search through for one matching the old results” step.

    We actually already have this, and have done for months, but it’s implemented in our account-manager prototype and only works for the Transition Checker. I’ve been moving the functionality into account-api, making it more generic, and preparing to migrate the data across (with no downtime).

  2. We don’t want to fully integrate email notifications with accounts yet, so for now we only want subscriptions which were created through the account to do things like update the address when the user confirms a new one.

    Notifications are likely to integrate more fully with accounts at some point (because notifications are a kind of account, and so it’s weird to have two accounts on one site), but not yet.

The Plague

This week my age group became eligible to book a coronavirus vaccination. Unfortunately, I discovered that my NHS records are… missing? The booking tool told me that it couldn’t find my vaccination records and to contact my GP.

Even more unfortunately, my GP was the University of York one who I registered with in 2010. I only tried to see them once, some years later, and the receptionist told me that they didn’t know who I was and that I should go home, re-register online, wait for them to process that, then come back in to book an appointment. I didn’t bother.

I’m not surprised in the slightest that they’ve lost my records.

So now I’ve registered with a local GP (which I’ve been meaning to do for a while anyway), and have emailed the previous one asking them to sort out my records. I’ll give it a few more days, and ring 119 on Wednesday if I still can’t book online by then.

Having no records seems likely to cause future problems too, so I’d really like to get this sorted out properly.


This week I read: nothing!