Yippee! This Week’s Enhancements & Fixes

Hello every doggie! Hope you'll having a great week. The weekend is alllllmost here =) Before I do this week's updates, I wanted to give...

Dogster HQ  |  Jul 23rd 2010


Hello every doggie!

Hope you’ll having a great week. The weekend is alllllmost here =)

Before I do this week’s updates, I wanted to give a background on some major server-side work we’ve done which is invisible to anyone using the sites.

In June we were VERY busy doing backend performance enhancement. Hundreds of our most commonly served files (images, javascript, css) are now being served from clusters of servers around the world meaning they get to you a lot faster no matter where they are.

We also started spriting images which means that we put a whole bunch of common images in a single image file so that only one file has to be downloaded instead of 25 files which makes browsers much happier. Then we do some web css magic to make just the desired part of the image appear in any place. Want to see a sprite? Here’s one. If you zoom in you’ll see it’s a whole series of homepage images all in the same file.

We also just upgraded ALL our live web servers. They have 4x as much RAM and are running very current server code. You won’t see much performance improvement on a regular day but it’ll real make things run smoother on heavy usage days.

There’s another very important speed enhancement we are working on but that is not yet live. We hear loud and clear that viewing threads in forums and groups is often slow. The same goes for posting to forums in those area. We find this problem almost always happens in the big and popular threads. Turns out there are 15,000,000 rows of forum posts in our database and sometimes memory runs short retrieving them all when many people are requesting at the same time. Some goes when people are trying to add to those threads. So we are in the process of partitioning our biggest forums and groups into virtual database structure and giving them dedicated memory that should be plenty adequate to stop this from happening 98% of the time. We’re so sorry that this has been frustrating you, but we are on it and hope to have these new virtual partitions live in 7-14 days. Please note that we’ll also being doing this for friending slowness (friends have 54,000,000 rows in the database) and recent friend activity tables.

OK, Now here’s an update on changes and fixes the have just gone live:

* You will no longer ever see an ad on top of the Community Tab (Praise dog!) Since we can’t control how some partners serve their ads we just push the ad down when the community tab is open so they can’t cover it over.

* Alice Billman has made a new and far enhanced custom button designer for your pet pages. It works with both rows of navigation links AND lets you customize the color of the Community tab AND the page footer!. To find it just go to My Account -> Your Pet’s Profile -> Custom Navigation Buttons. (Please note if you have older versions of code that colored your buttons you’ll probably want to remove it so it doesn’t interfere with the new pawsomeness.

Here’s an example from Zach‘s page

* The displaying of the Recent Friends Activity Page and the Recent Corral Activity Page is faster. We have to admit it isn’t great yet. The problem is if you have 25,000 friends and we have to retrieve all their activity over the last 48 hours and then sort it by order of most recent it’s a huge hit to our databases. So this should definitely make it faster then it was, but we’re still working on ways to make it better. If it’s slow for you we sure are sorry, but do know we haven’t given up, just improving as we can.

* We fixed the bug that went live yesterday when we upgraded our webservers that caused the updating of group profile and uploading of group photos to fail.

* We fixed the bug that went live yesterday when we upgraded our webservers that caused friend invites to not be sent.

Thanks so much for reading down to here. Please know we truly do love you all and love making these sites. We love that you come here every day and share, laugh, cry and learn. Thanks for being great and inspiring us.

And as usual, 25 zealies to the first person that finds a typo. I’d rather get back to making the fun then copy editing. I’m sure you understand 😉

Oh, I do need to point out we’ve instituted a new commenting policy. Since this is a blog dedicated to the community we’re requiring 1) members post links to their pet or family profile (or another web URL that is theirs) with a pet name or human name and 2) that comments are on-topic, friendly, fun or informative. If there’s any thing else you’d want to say, use the contact form.

That’s all for now. See ya!