AfterDawn: Tech news

Changes to the way pages are loaded at AfterDawn.com

Written by Jari Ketola @ 09 Feb 2011 12:24 User comments (12)

Changes to the way pages are loaded at AfterDawn.com We have just implemented a couple of relatively small, but quite significant changes to the site. Both changes aim to improve the overall page rendering speeds. In short - pages should hopefully load and display faster than before. The changes focus on the way advertisements are displayed on our pages, and on the way certain images are loaded. After the change most of the advertisements are loaded after the page has completed, which allows you to start viewing and reading faster than before.
Even though we have done our very best to test the changes on a variety of browsers and platforms, there is a strong possibility that problems occur on some combinations of browsers, operating systems and service providers. Should you run across any problems with, for example, advertisement placement (see this fabricated example), please let us know either by commenting this news article or by sending us feedback.

Another change that we've implemented has to do with loading images on some of the "image heavy" pages at AfterDawn. A good example of this is the Desktop pics forum thread. Slow loading pictures in posts or signatures can cause some forum pages to load very sluggishly. Now, after the recent change, all the images in the all posts are loaded "lazily", i.e. when they are scrolled to view. You'll see placeholder images such as this when you view posts. Those placeholders will be replaced by the actual images once your browser has loaded them.

If you encounter any problems with either advertisements or the lazily loaded pictures, please do let us know. When reporting any problems, please make sure to mention your browser and its version, the operating system you're using, and your ISP.

Looking forward to hearing your comments on the changes!

Tags: AfterDawn
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12 user comments

19.2.2011 13:13

So to speed things up you've added an additional 10kb gif file? ^_^

29.2.2011 13:26

Pages loading much faster for me boss, haven't ventured into forums yet, but main pages and especially news are loading great, on home computer and on smartphone.

39.2.2011 13:50

Originally posted by hikaricor:
So to speed things up you've added an additional 10kb gif file? ^_^
Sorta true, yes. But as the image is the same for every picture placement, it gets loaded only once -- and your browser should cache it for quite some time, thus the pic wont get loaded again on next page, etc.

Furthermore, browser is told the image dimensions, thus, it can render the page to be readable/visible even before that 10kb gif is finished loading -- with forum images, etc the page itself doesn't know the image dimensions and thus, the rendering can't proceed at all until all the images of a particular discussion are loaded.

Essentially this means that, specially with slow connections, page is visible and readable much, much earlier than previously. One page containing 20 different user signatures, each from different server -- added with possible 20 images in discussions itself -- can easily take 20-60 seconds to become visible. With the current change, it should be visible within 1-3 seconds.

Now, also the occassional 3rd party server connection problems wont make the page unusable.

Anyway, this is one big part of our grand scheme of making the site faster. The backend is pretty darn fast already (most "normal" pages should take less than 0.1 seconds to generate) -- its the HTML rendering, CSS usage, etc that can be improved.

Petteri Pyyny (pyyny@twitter)
Webmaster
http://AfterDawn.com/

49.2.2011 13:55

Had to be done. Sometimes with the way the ads used to load, you could be stuck with a partially loaded page for a long time. Seems to load much faster now thankfully :-)

59.2.2011 15:59

Originally posted by hikaricor:
So to speed things up you've added an additional 10kb gif file? ^_^
Actually I've replaced n*50+Kb images with a single, well cacheable 10Kb gif file. =)

I was considering using this instead:
..but it looked quite boring and facebookish..

Here's another example of the script in action:
http://forums.afterdawn.com/t.cfm/f-48/changes_to_the_way_images_are_displayed_at_forum_threads-887616/

This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 09 Feb 2011 @ 16:01

Jari Ketola
Administrator
http://www.AfterDawn.com

69.2.2011 18:14

Ajax is broke: Homepage, clic "news" in Chrome 6.0.472 and instead of loading the ajax data, the page http://www.afterdawn.com/ajax/q.cfm?a=fp&content=news&output=html is displayed.

79.2.2011 22:44

Hmmm...I didn't notice any difference; maybe it has something to do with Adblock+



810.2.2011 1:49

Originally posted by patrick_:
Ajax is broke: Homepage, clic "news" in Chrome 6.0.472 and instead of loading the ajax data, the page http://www.afterdawn.com/ajax/q.cfm?a=fp&content=news&output=html is displayed.
Why Chrome 6? It is in version 9 now.

910.2.2011 2:50

Originally posted by patrick_:
Ajax is broke: Homepage, clic "news" in Chrome 6.0.472 and instead of loading the ajax data, the page http://www.afterdawn.com/ajax/q.cfm?a=fp&content=news&output=html is displayed.
This happens when you manage to click on a tab before they are initialized. Granted, it's not a very elegant, and I will probably change it so that in these cases you're forwarded to, for instance, the news front page.

I have now changed the tab initialization so that they'll fire as quickly as possible. You can tell when the tabs are initialized from the "Latest" tab turning orange.

Also, like Andre mentioned, Chrome 6.0.472 is quite outdated. You should consider updating to a newer version.


Jari Ketola
Administrator
http://www.AfterDawn.com

1010.2.2011 14:10

Yea! The news works on my Firefox again. It used to load only in basic form, like an old HTML designed website from 1997 for some reason. Now it looks like it should.



1111.2.2011 1:40

to me it does seem to be running faster... i'm running Firefox 4.0b10 with windows 7 ultimate, 32 bit version. I hope it works for everyone else and it so good that you guys worry to improve things on an already great page.
X_x


X_x

1217.3.2011 7:11

My problem is whenever I write a post many times it won't come up till days later, the other problem when I get a new e-mail updated statement, I will get several more in the mail before a new new comes in.

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