Update on site performance

posted by Patrick Crowley on November 21, 2006 at 5:27 am

As many of you know, we’ve had to temporarily disable our search tool due to the high volume of traffic that Cinema Treasures is receiving.

We’re making good progress improving overall performance on the site. Theater pages and news pages are now loading near instantaneously, thanks to the caching support we’ve added. We’ve also made a number of optimizations to the site that will help improve performance.

As a side effect of this, we’ve limited the “Who’s Online?” feature to just the homepage. While it’s nice to know who’s online, this feature was one of the things really slowing down the site. So that means going forward, “who’s online” really means “who’s online on the homepage”. Practically speaking, it might seem like less people are online, but the true number will be much higher.

So when will search return? The answer is… as soon as search doesn’t make the rest of the website so slow it’s unusable. Our goal is to fix this issue by the end of the year, but we’re making very good progress and may be able to restore this feature soon.

As always, thanks for your patience and continued support. And have a nice Thanksgiving!

Comments (17)

JodarMovieFan on November 21, 2006 at 6:00 am

You guys do a terrific job with the site. I can’t say enough positive things about it to my friends and fellow movie/theater fans. But my only concern, and its a small one, is that there seems to be frequent submissions of theaters that are really newer or just opened plexes. I always thought that the site had more to do with older venues that have some kind of historical, architectural and/or interior significance.

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on November 21, 2006 at 8:00 am

Those of us who visit CT regularly appreciate the work you do to keep the site working efficiently. The “Whose On-Line” feature is not that important to me.

exit on November 21, 2006 at 8:20 am

I won’t miss the “who’s online” list so that is a good decision to improve performance.

I know it’s difficult it is to get a movie website up and running. (ours is still waiting for help to build it). Cinema Treasures, along with www.CinemaTour.com, is a valuable resource and I’m happy to see the improvements here. The two sites seem to compliment each other; this site having more text and CinemaTour having more photos. I’d love to see these two sites put in links to each other for each theatre someday.

I have both these sites plus the wonderful www.widescreenmuseum.com on the bookmark bar of my Safari browser so they are just one click away from any screen.

Thanks for the efforts, CT team, and Happy Holidays everyone.

Roger Katz
Roger Katz on November 21, 2006 at 2:44 pm

CS: CinemaTour does have links to the theatres on Cinema Treasures. I can add them there if need be as well if there are some that are not linked. On Cinema Treasures any user can post a link to the CinemaTour photos that complement that theatre’s write-up in the comments section of the particular theatre.

Patrick Crowley
Patrick Crowley on November 21, 2006 at 2:49 pm

Thank you, Roger. We’ve met with the CinemaTour guys also, so there might be other ways we can work together down the road.

Lost — most duplicates happen when the site is overloaded, but this sounds different. I’ll look into it.

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on November 21, 2006 at 6:34 pm

If I click on the name of a state, I can still see the list of theatres in the state. But if I instead click on the name of a city, I get the “search disabled” page. Since there are a lot more theatres in a state than there are in a city, why is the city disabled but the state still OK?

Patrick Crowley
Patrick Crowley on November 21, 2006 at 6:45 pm

Category pages (like architects or states) share a lot of code with the search page.

But it’s easier to disable search, so that’s why it’s not working. We never made specific “city” pages… so those pages are just searches, and that’s why they’re disabled.

States, on the other hand, are distinct pages, even though you wind up with similar results.

Ultimately, though, any page that shows a list of theaters — whether a search or not — will need to be optimized. These types of pages put a tremendous load on the server.

exit on November 21, 2006 at 7:44 pm

Roger and Patrick: Thanks for the cross-links. I intend to link the theatre reviews on CInemaSightlines to both sites.

JimRankin on November 21, 2006 at 10:52 pm

Call me naive, but I never quite figured out just why we have a “Who’s On-Line” section anyway. Would someone care to enlighten me? We know who is participating by means of the “Recent Comments” feature; all others are ‘lurkers’ and what bearing on enjoying CT do they have? It is not as though one can click on their name and engage in a private chat session. If the goal is to impress visitors with totals of participants, then likely only posting a current total will satisfy that (though there are likely some who will always consider any large number to be ‘optomistic.’) By all means, if the “Who’s …” feature slows down operation, I say eliminate it entirely.

longislandmovies on November 22, 2006 at 12:47 am

I like the online now ……….there are times when one has a question on a theater and i see them online i will leave it on the theater page you get a responce asap………

Patsy on November 22, 2006 at 4:28 am

“Thanks for all of the time and work you put into this site!” Happy Thanksgiving

BrooklynJim on November 22, 2006 at 7:43 am

There is very little I can add, except to echo Patsy’s (and others') positive sentiments. CT is truly one of the best retirement perks I’ve had the pleasure to enjoy. Happy T-Day to all!

Patrick Crowley
Patrick Crowley on November 30, 2006 at 8:11 am

We’re still testing it… but, for now, search is back up!

Also… we’ve made a lot of progress improving our “category” pages… like browsing theaters by architect, firm, etc. Those pages are loading almost instantly now (vs 20 – 30 seconds before).

We probably won’t make an official announcement until Monday, but I thought you guys might like to know. :)

JimRankin on November 30, 2006 at 8:49 am

Good work, Patrick; now about dividing long pages of Comments into multiple Pages ….

It is a testimony to the success of CT that the number of Comments for some theatres approaches 100, but this mass of verbiage is also slowing down the complete loading of a theatre’s page! Maybe if a colored line could appear at the top of Comments saying something like: “Page 4 of Comments; For earlier Comments click on Page: 3, 2, 1, or PREVIOUS” Whenever a theatre is called for, only the Most Recent page of Comments would display, with the server fetching the previous pages only if called for as shown above. It would be your definition as to what length constitutes a ‘Page’ of Comments. I think that such a provision would make it faster and easier to navigate the site, especially for those of us who cannot use broadband.

Patrick Crowley
Patrick Crowley on November 30, 2006 at 9:37 am

With our current technology platform, paginating comments would be difficult, Jim. We do have ideas for how we might deal with this issue in the next major site upgrade… but, for now, we need to work with what we have.

But there is some good news. We’re now compressing long pages as they’re sent to your browser. So pages with lots of comments are loading quite a bit faster than before, even on dialup.

longislandmovies on March 15, 2007 at 10:43 am

is it me or is this site during the day sooooooooooo slow

JodarMovieFan on March 15, 2007 at 5:05 pm

It was going slow.

Is it me, or does it seem that some of the older comments have disappeared. On some movie theater listings, I could’ve sworn I left a comment about an experience but its gone.

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