Faster Overnight Website!

Hi All,

Many of our most dedicated community members have complained about various errors occurring for logged in users during the night (for us, in SF). This has been consistent for a long time, and the code causing problems has been around for years. It precedes everyone currently on the dev team. We have automatic database maintenance tasks that run overnight, some of which are responsible for these problems.

We have heard your pleas! I believe we have just one feature that will break if we completely remove all of these tasks. So we're going to try an experiment this weekend. We hope for these results:

1) Posting should be just as smooth from 12am to 6am PST as it is during other times of the day.
2) These little stats icons will start to show inaccurate data:

This will not affect total view counters.

If our theory proves correct, we'll proceed to find another data source for that button. And you who are awake when we are asleep will have a much more usable site going forward.

Just wanted to give everyone a heads-up, since we're deliberately introducing a bug.... but I promise it's for your very real benefit!

~ Your Friendly Devs

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pseaton (author) 2 years ago

So... anyone notice any difference this weekend?

Just made posting that totally disappeared :(
No error, no warning, just back to what the page looked after loading it.
Had to create the posting again.
Happened less than 5 minutes ago if that is of any help.

Moem pseaton2 years ago

If I can actually post this comment, then that is a good sign.

Moem Moem2 years ago


Kiteman pseaton2 years ago

When it was working, it did seem faster. Otherwise, see my messages.

pseaton (author) 2 years ago

This just in:

Our hosting company has just informed us that they are replacing some network hardware which may affect users of Instructables. The maintenance window is from 4pm - 8pm PST on Sunday, July 12. We expect a brief outage during that time, and possible intermittent slowness affecting primarily logged-in users.

So our test to speed up the site may feel as though we sped it up in one place only to slow it down in another. The slow isn't us :)

Kiteman pseaton2 years ago

It's always the way, isn't it? You buy a faster car, and they dig up the road...

makendo2 years ago

Hi Phil. I note that the number of photos you can now include on a step before they get truncated and moved to the dreaded "Show All Items" status (i.e. never get seen) is now 4 instead of 6. I'm curious - is this because (a) you want authors to provide less photos or (b) more steps? Or is there some other reasoning? It's a headache to design an instructable when this keeps changing, because I already felt like I was struggling to get it down to 6 and 4 will have me sulking again and going back to the style I tried in Well, probably not. It was a real pain. But I am interested in the why.

pseaton (author)  makendo2 years ago

A small handful of photos and about 200-400 words of text per step would seem to be the sweet spot according to the numeric engagement metrics we see. As for the number of steps, the sky is the limit - it should tell the story of your project as clearly and energetically as possible. What this effectively boils down to is pixel height of the page: audience members seem to like scrolling a particular distance through the page. Less and they bounce, more and they get bored and never click to the next step. We're trying to help everyone find the sweet spot, since it's good for everyone if everyone hits it.

Apologies this messed up your deliberate photo arrangement though. That wasn't our intent, but it's hard for me to guarantee we'll leave this alone in the long term. If you want to screen cap or link to a particularly not good photo set condition that we should improve, I'll happily share it with folks around here to make sure we cover all common cases. We're very actively invested in this part of the site.

makendo pseaton2 years ago

Phil - presumably you are aware of the frequency with which readers hit "Show All Items". Mind sharing that with your authors?

I published today, in which I was careful to add no more than 3 photos per step. It worked OK. However, it's less clear to me how to improve past projects. Delete photos down to no more than 3 per step? Add steps? Suggestions welcome.

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