Monday, December 29, 2008

Website Tinkering

I made a few changes around the site.  If I spent half the time making actual posts that I spend instead worrying about tiny little issues, I would have several epic novels already.  Well it’s easier to play with the site now than when I start working again soon.  My little change involves the archives.  My old site didn’t put much work into the archives, or “history” as it was called.  It pretty much generated a huge list of post titles that you could click to take you to the entry.  That’s great if I have a good descriptive title, which is maybe 20% of the time.  Your other option was to simply keep clicking “Older Entries” at the bottom of each page and read through my life backwards.  It’s a little confusing to read everything in reverse, but reverse chronological order is the best and standard way of promoting new content so that’s how it is.  You’ll see my new History section on the right of all my pages by year.  It takes you to January of each year and reads in chronological order, different than before.  Reads a little better this way.  Yearly seems to work for now, but I may change it to chapters like: “whiny freshman in college”, “internship”, “flight instructor”, “eagle first officer” if I want.  Who knows…

The other change is pretty big and affects, you guessed it, the friends page.  Yes, I still mess around with it a lot even though I haven’t made any major changes for a long while.  The page was working great, looked great, and I even installed a filter to stop Jo’s Tweets for Today (which he stopped after I mentioned it), but one problem still remained: Without the cache, it took a long time to load.  Sometimes over 60 seconds just for the server to generate the page.  It had to connect to each friends’ site and download the feed.  That’s what takes the longest.  It does apply logic and runs through algorithms to generate the final page but that’s milliseconds.  My solution involved emailing the folks at, my service hosts, and getting permission to use wget on the server.  I can now run a cron job that downloads my friends page once an hour and stores that page for the user.  So now when you click friends you’re grabbing a cached html file instead of running the php script and it loads significantly faster.  So even if it still takes 30 seconds for the php script to run its deal, who cares because it’s not the page you’re downloading anymore.

The old php script is the same url as always,
and the new faster stored cache page is

I don’t know if anyone else actually uses the page, but I think it’s a good way to keep up with everyone’s websites.  I like reading them and commenting, even if no one else does.

Posted by eclipse on 12/29/2008 at 09:35 PM
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