COPA 3 Day 3 report - COPA 3 Website Upgrade - COPA Admin - Cirrus Owners and Pilots Association

COPA 3 Day 3 report

In the After Day 1 blog post, we identified 3 priority issues with the site. We since added another, Real Names. Here's a report on the status of these items after today's software updates, which address improvements in all areas of concern.

  1. Speed
    • This site is running very differently than some other sites using largely the same software. That has thrown suspicion on some of the features we have added to 'COPA-ize' the site, and benchmarks confirm two features that are generating inordinate database loading and hence latency (slowness!).
    • In-Reply-To:  This simple sounding feature has proven to put surprising loads on the database. This is the tag on each reply that shows which post it is a reply to, and who wrote the original post. Creating that link on every post displayed in a thread means extensive calculations:
      • to find the originating post
      • to see the user-id that wrote it
      • to lookup what username they are using now (!)
      • to see what forum that post is in now
      • to track all the topics & subtopics that post is in to develop the URL that makes up the clickable 'in-reply-to' link
      • to repeat this process for every post in the thread being displayed in the threadlist
    • A change has been pushed up tonight that stores the username of the poster of the original post, and that replaces the URL link with a function-call so the URL is only calculated if the in-reply-to is clicked on. This greatly reduces the database load of this feature. NOTE: This has only been implemented so far for posts from tonight forward. This means for now older posts will not have In-Reply-To links on them. This will be corrected with a script later, after we address more urgent concerns.
    • Red Numbers. This is another potentially hugely computational task, since every user's view every time is unique. These can involve considerable database traversing to calculate. The most intensive screen is the "Forums" screen, which in a worst case can take 8 seconds to compute. We have pushed in new indexes tonight which mean that calculation only has to be done once, and subsequent views should not require the calculation. We will be monitoring its effectiveness, but the initial looks are promising.
  2. Information Density
    • We have changed the site so it is now up to 200px wider on larger screens, which typically translates to several inches. This extra width is dedicated to the most important columns, so the net increase is very significant. This allows us to deliver a better experience to large screen users, while still having the site optimized for the tablets and other small screens.
  3. Fonts
    • Last nights change to darker fonts seems to have been well received and we are not planning further changes here.
  4. Real Names
    • There seems to be consensus that the proposed DisplayName defaulting to First Name Last Initial, with the user able to change it to a full name if they prefer is a workable solution. We will be looking to see if there are any other impacts to that change.

A number of users reported getting unwanted Forum Subscription messages, 1 email per post in many forums. We have published a Website Help wiki on how to turn those off, and have addressed the software issue that was turning them on.

Additionally, we have been knocking off a multitude of smaller teething issues. Just a sampling:

  • Missing phone numbers from user profiles
  • Missing link to COPA Wiki's under the Tech menu
  • Some users not being able to access their profile
  • Out of date News headlines
  • Adding comments to this blog (!)
  • UK users ending up in the wrong regions
  • CSIP and CSIP Platinum added to the CFI profile item
  • Broken links on the Weather pages
  • Autojoining US members to their regions based on their State
  • Discovered&documented that IE11 needs to be run in Compatibility mode until we install a patch from Telligent (next year)
  • Some lapsed members were getting added to Regions
  • A number of the Special Interest Groups had the wrong members

Finally, our developers of our Android and iCOPA apps (who do it out of the goodness of their hearts, there certainly isn't any money in it!) are moving forward with their work to adapt to COPA 3. Unfortunately the new site necessarily broke both apps and has required essentially rewrites of their programs. They have published updates on their progress here:

iCOPA 3.0 Update

COPAme 3.2 in Play Store

We are working hard to get the site to a stable place this week, as our developers are hoping to enjoy some holiday time with their families. We think we made good progress today.

  • Thanks for all of the work!

  • After a few days on the site I am liking it more and more.  Thanks for the updates as to the behind the scenes work as it helps us understand the why of the speed issue.  Thanks for all of your work!  

  • Curt, thanks for keeping everyone apprised.  And to the whole COPA 3 team, thanks for all efforts on the upgrade to date.  I'm one of those masochistic fellas who love change, so it's been quite the fun week for me seeing the product evolve in front of our eyes (you can probably tell from my increased postings the last couple of days).  Whilst there may still be some refinement ahead, it's evidential that a good foundation has been laid along with the right principles that will see COPA forge ahead.

  • Team... I have been one of the "complainers" .... still not very usable, but let me discribe what I am experiencing and maybe you can make some "savy" of it ... I have FIOS and no other site I go to is slow, so I think the speed issue is all COPA.  When I log in, nothing happens for about 30 sec, then the little "secutiry warning box pops up that says "do you want to accept things that were sent secure or non secure?  I have tried both choices, and it does not make any difference .... then the screen remains forzen until the little right hand tabe appears approx 30 -45 sec later that has "friends on line, topics, and new post tabs...... after htat side tab is in placeI can then begin to scroll   to read things...but nothing can happen until that right hand tab loads .... ..the little box will not allw me to read what I am typing so I must now stop ...I can not follow ....sorry I can not read what I am writing this box is jumping alll around... I am tryig to hang in here ...ben

  • The extra width is fantastic!  Much appreciated.

  • Curt!!! And you thought managing the web migration was easier than flying  the Eclipse!!!

    I see constant improvement and am thankful for what you gentlemen are doing! Now go get some sleep!

  • Amazing the amount of detail that goes into this....thank you guys for all that you are doing.  You are awesome!  

  • Great work COPA web team. A conversion

    Iike this to replace the obsolete platform is no easy task.  Thanks for all of your time and expertice.

  • As for point 1., I'll refrain from asking how all those other forums do the magic effortlessly.

    Point 4, however, really irks me. Sorry, but "darker"? Just make the main font black, please! "Darker" is still very hard to read, both on white an especially on those mud colored boxes shown, for example, in these comments. So, if you don't like the word black, as seems to be the case, just call it "all dark" or "maximum dark" or maybe "256th shade of dark". But please change it. Thanks!

    FWIW, we made the exact same mistake once in our magazine. Looks real cool - until you try to actually read it.