I’ve made a few improvements to the Flamsteed Forums today.
First of all, I hope that the site performance has now slightly improved. I noticed some issues over the weekend, so have asked our ISP to move the site IP to a newer IP, which is behind a different load-balancer. Hopefully, this should improve performance.
Secondly, there have been several enhancements made to functionality within the forum:
– Each post made by a participant should now show the number of topics and replies made by that user;
– It is now easier to ‘quote’ a topic or reply, by clicking on the ‘QUOTE’ icon at the top right of the message;
– You can now add attachments to messages (an example attachment is on this topic). At the moment, I’ve limited attachments to 512kb, but will monitor this going forward;
– It is now possible to use BBCodes within message (a full list is attached). They allow you to add formatting to your messages in the same way as HTML does, but have a simpler syntax and will never break the layout of the pages you are viewing. For instance, you can add colour!
– I’m working on amending the message editor, so that it is more familiar to users of word processing software. It may take me a few more days to activate this.
– It is now easier to register as a user of the forum, as I’ve implemented a simpler ‘captcha’ system.
That’s all for now. Let me know your thoughts!
OK, well I’ve now managed to activate the new “rich text” editor for topics and replies. Hopefully users will find this more intuitive to use than the old editor, as it looks more like a word processing program.
In addition, adding links and photographs should be a little easier now.
You can edit your message in either the “visual” mode (i.e. this is how it will be displayed on the forum) or in “text” mode (i.e. effectively the “old” method of creating a message, allowing you to “fine-tune” the code behind your message).
Let me know if you find this easier to use.
Access to the Forum site does appear to be significantly improved. The site is quicker to respond and so far no hanging blank pages, nice work! Yet to try the added bells and whistles.
Sorry for the problems in accessing the website this morning… apparently our hosting provider has had a few problems this morning, but all should be up and running OK now.
That’s ok but I hope they dont have too many down times as it is a little frustrating as it has now been a few times I found it difficult to get on to this forum.
Oh for further feedback, I am still losing written posts when clicking submit and being greeted with blank pages. This results in more hurried rewritten posts which are even more awful than my originals and no doubt are horrible illiterate assaults to innocent readers senses, stumbling upon my posts 😉
Hmmmm… sorry about that Tej. I’ll do some more investigation. It sounds like a memory leak to me. I’ll get back to you.
Quick update on the site performance. I know some people had problems accessing the site this morning. I’ve had confirmation from our hosting provider that there was a routing issue that prevented some people from accessing the website between 9am and 11.30am this morning. The issue was sporadic and only affected a small number of people. Many other ISPs suffered the same problem today. The ISP will be replacing all of their affected routers over the next couple of weeks.
I also know that site performance has not been particularly good recently. After analysis, it appears that the forums are overloading the server memory and causing periodic timeouts. We’ve put a potential fix in place by increasing the memory limit for the site. I’d be grateful if people could let me know if they are seeing any improvement in site performance as a result of this. We can, potentially, expand the memory limit further, but we may look at a dedicated hosting solution if the problem persists.
Mike will we get more memory overload when forums rolled out to wider membership?
… will we get more memory overload when forums rolled out to wider membership?
Potentially, yes… which is why I want to resolve the issues now, and also why I was keen on a “soft” go-live.
Feedback from initial users is essential so that we can plan properly for the next phase of roll-out.
Great work, Mike. We’ll keep giving you feedback to help you shape up this very promising and soon to be thriving forum 🙂
I have experienced some problems with submit button and loading as Tej described but I put that down to teething problems. The question I would ask, based on my limited knowledge, even if issues are addressed now will there still not be problems when more people use the forum? In other words will not more demand cause more problems?
I ask because I find these forums to be very educational, thought provoking, interesting and illuminating. Mike they are a great new addition to our society and you are doing a great job on them. I do not envy you.
Great work, Mike
Thanks Tej… we’ll get there…
will not more demand cause more problems?
Possibly, but possibly not. Load capacity is always incredibly difficult to predict… all we can do for the moment is fix the problems that we are finding, but be prepared to react quickly if and when further problems occur due to increased usage. It’s all down to monitoring and reporting. I can monitor, but I rely on you guys to report back any problems you encounter.
I am seeing an improvement in performance this morning, in comparison to recently. Page loads seem to be faster, and I’m not experiencing any hanging screens so far.
Could forum users please let me know if they experience further performance issues. This is important, as we have to make a decision on whether to move to a dedicated hosting solution, which is obviously more expensive than our current platform. I don’t want to do this unless absolutely necessary.
Yep, load up times are feeling smoother and quicker so far…
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