Improved Image Performance

Have you ever noticed how slow the images can be to load on The Battle Directory? If so, you won’t notice no more!

In the past images were generated as they were needed. If you were the unlucky person to visit a report for the first time then you would have to of waited for all the images to be generated and resized based on the author’s original images. This is a pain. Its made worse when new view modes come along, such as the Comic Book style, because these use new image filters and sizes and so images need to be generated again!

From now on each image will be resized into all sizes automatically after its uploaded. This will happen in the background so that the battle report writing experience isn’t slowed at all. The process is off loaded and you’re free to continue updating the report. Meanwhile the server is busy generate 20 versions of each image for you!

Now when your report is published and the various view modes are used by viewers the first timers will not get a slow experience as the images are generated. They will already have been generated and ready to go.

I have also back dated this process, so that all old images are also generated too, ready for the new view modes. Enjoy!

Next Caption

Quick post about a new feature. When you come to save a caption for an image you can Save and Move to Next. This will save the caption and then automatically open the next image caption ready for editing. 

This saves you having to open each image to add or edit a caption.  I want to improve the speed of the site, to help users write reports faster. It can take me a few hours to write a report, what with remembering everything, vetting images and making it interesting. Anything I can do to improve this will benefit everyone. 

Got a suggestion? Let me know in the comments!

Image improvements with the Amazon Cloud

We were having some major issues with image resizing. This was entirely my own fault as in my last game I used my digital SLR camera which produces images that are around 7MB. So I increased the upload limit from 5MB to 8MB.

What I did not account for was the memory issues this would cause when you tried to resized 12 images of 7MB each. It was crashing the server and having an impact on the overall site.

I contacted my hosting provider and asked if there was anything they could do. But there wasn’t really and they suggested using Amazon’s EC2 virtual servers to do the heavy lifting of image resizing.

So I gave this a go and it’s worked. Images are now stored on the main server but requires to resize them to the varying sizes are now handled elsewhere on EC2.

The benefits of this are two fold. The first is that the main web server is now free to serve the HTML of the site as quickly as possible without being bogged down by image resizing. The second is that because another server is handling the request elsewhere when you upload images you get the page back much quicker. The other server then resizes the images independently and loads then as they finish. You can then continue editing your report instead of always waiting on the image upload.