Site Notes

RTH Still Loading Pages Slowly

By Ryan McGreal
Published October 15, 2009

After last week's site migration to a new web server, I hoped that the frequent slowdowns and occasional timeouts would end. Unfortunately, the site doesn't seem to be any better now than it was before. A few people have reported to me that the site is actually worse.

Anyway, I've pretty much given up on the ability of our current hosting provider to give the site the bandwidth it needs for the traffic it's getting. From now on I'm concentrating on getting the site rebuild completed as quickly as possible so I can move the site over to a new hosting provider (Webfaction), with the new codebase running on an open source technology stack including Linux, Apache, MySQL and Python.

I've accelerated my work on the site rebuild and hope to be done pretty soon. In the meantime, you can check out a working demo (note: the content is a few months old). Right now it's mostly a collection of TODOs with a few FIXMEs thrown in for good measure.

Ryan McGreal, the editor of Raise the Hammer, lives in Hamilton with his family and works as a programmer, writer and consultant. Ryan volunteers with Hamilton Light Rail, a citizen group dedicated to bringing light rail transit to Hamilton. Ryan writes a city affairs column in Hamilton Magazine, and several of his articles have been published in the Hamilton Spectator. He also maintains a personal website, has been known to share passing thoughts on Twitter and Facebook, and posts the occasional cat photo on Instagram.


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By adrian (registered) | Posted October 15, 2009 at 23:38:36

Hey, the new site looks good! It definitely works. Nice job, I'm looking forward to a fully functional version.

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted October 16, 2009 at 11:19:00

Thanks. I've broken what has to be done into discrete chunks, and I'm committed to adding at least one significant piece of functionality a day - and preferably several - until the site is fully operational. Then we'll see whether we still need the Imperial Senate to keep the local systems in line!


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By FLOSS (anonymous) | Posted October 16, 2009 at 13:47:08

What say you put your money where your mouth is and release the code in an open source licence?

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted October 22, 2009 at 11:14:58

Update: I'm about 75-80% finished with the rebuild. In the next week or two, it will be ready for beta testing.

FLOSS wrote:

What say you put your money where your mouth is and release the code in an open source licence?

Yes, that's my intention once the rebuild is complete.

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted October 29, 2009 at 12:37:58

By the way, I've started tracking known issues with the RTH rebuild using the GitHub bug tracker:

If you see a bug or missing feature and have a GitHub account, you can post issues there.

Once the actual code is complete and goes live, I'm going to release it on GitHub under the GPL.

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted November 19, 2009 at 00:02:49

Update: progress is slower than I hoped, but I'm now about 90% finished with the new site. All I have left to do is build the admin section (cobblers' kids running around barefoot and all), set up the RSS feeds, implement comment threading, and then do some bug testing.

Feel free to head over and play around with the site. You should be able to log into your account (note the change to the login interface), manage your profile, post comments, post events, and so on. It's just a playground right now, so don't worry about breaking anything.

If you run into any errors, please email me with them or post them to the bug tracker:

which for some reason isn't working just now. Awesome.

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted November 19, 2009 at 22:27:54

Heading into the home stretch now:

  • Newsfeeds are all working - articles, blogs, articles+blogs, events
  • Password reset with email notification now working (passwords are stored as hashes, not plain text, so no friendly password reminder)
  • Still working on account registration and admin page

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted December 02, 2009 at 00:16:16

So the new codebase is basically complete. I'd still like to do some more beta testing before the site goes live, but the slogging is basically done.


Here are some quick notes:


There are currently no outstanding bugs in the site. There are three FIXMEs and four TODOs in the code, and three of the TODOs are only temporary pending the final data transfer and will be removed once the data is all transferred over.

Completed Enhancements

  • Asynchronous comment voting (vote is recorded without full page request)
  • Edit posted event
  • Improved login form
  • Dramatically improved admin interface
  • Passwords are more secure
  • Comments now support markdown syntax
  • All legacy URLs will still work (with http 301 permanent redirect to canonical URL)
  • Minor design tweaks

Missing Features

The following four features won't be included in the version 1.0 release, but I aim to include them in version 1.1:

  • Comment threads
  • Comment editing
  • Post comment submits back to the comment form and success or error message goes down there.
  • Traffic report currently doesn't work.
  • Relate authors to user profiles so authors can update their own bios

The missing features are all on the bug tracker:

All in all, I'm on track to getting the site cut over in time for our fifth anniversary, December 14, 2009.

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted December 03, 2009 at 09:26:06

FYI I've added comment editing already. It will be in the initial release.

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