We have done some website updates over yesterday and I just wanted to touch on them here. These are mainly back end, and underlying software updates so if this kind of talk makes your eyes glaze over I will understand if you skip the announcement. ?
The Elephant in the room - Advertisements
As the expression is told, lets go ahead and get the elephant in the room out of the way. Yes, we have enabled ads however we have tried to make sure that they are non-intrusive. No pop up, or pop under ads will happen, and we tried to make sure all of the ad placement was in a way to prevent accidental clicking and also not ruin the flow of content.
The ads help us do things like: Renew our licensing for the website software, pay our server and bandwidth bills (Our bandwidth increased by 300% during the MapleStory 2 closed beta test), as well as work with developers for custom additions to the site or to buy existing add-ons. We may consider an optional donation option for those of you would rather donate than see ads. We know a lot of people use an ad blocker of some kind. But if you are feeling nice every once in a while and want to turn off your ad blocker for a few page visits we would really appreciate it.
Redis Caching (Not Reddit)
Improved caching on the site has been enabled with a Redis server. Before we were not actually using any server-side caching and instead relying on Cloudflare to do as much heavy lifting as possible and it definitely did a lot of heavy lifting for us. It served over 2.5 million requests from its edge servers, and saved us about 100 GB of bandwidth on 1 TB of bandwidth spent which is good considering a chunk of our bandwidth is actually .mp3 previews with Cloudflare does not cache natively. The Redis cache engine will help take some of the load off of the MySQL database and the over-all web server by caching page output, searches and tags for guest users.
Improved Search with Elastic Search
Some of you might have noticed while using the site yesterday that for a brief period of time search didn't work, and all of the activity feed disappeared. This was me fumbling through an Elastic Search server set-up and then re-indexing all of the content to the new Elastic Search cluster and shards. Before, search was using the MySQL database directly this can put a huge strain on the database as it is having to support normal website use plus searching through thousands of rows of data for multiple users. By offloading the search system to the Elastic Search cluster it will speed up performance in general for searching but also provide better search results.
It will now weight search results based on keywords and other factors. You should see improved search results going forward, and they should improve over time as well. It will search the entire index based on your keywords and then pull out 10,000 rows of data and compare them to your keywords and other factors to try to provide better results. It does all of this within a second or so basically.
Search has been made more clear in general as well, before it was kind of a "Am I searching the entire website? Just this submission? Just this category?" Now when you begin a search a pop up window specifically says if you are searching every where, or just in a specific section.
Improved Login & Account Security Options
We have added support for faster login and improved account security options. Now when logging in, or registering you can choose to use one of the external providers instead of just filling out all of the information manually on the login or registration form. You can choose to login or register with the following providers:
2-Factor Authentication - We have also added the ability to enable 2-Factor Authentication in your account settings. You can use the following options to add extra login security to your account:
- Security Questions & Answers
- Google Authenticator
Multiple System Languages now Supported
We have added language packs back to the site! You can find the drop down selector on the left hand side of where the menu is at the top, Or at the very bottom. We already have 10 languages supported, with Chinese (Traditional and Simplified) on the way. In the future we hope to support Korean and Japanese as well since we get a decent amount of traffic from those countries already. Please note, this only translates system text, if the post is written in English that will still be in English.
Phone Style Emoticons now supported
When clicking on the emote button in the editor now, it will have options to choose a skin tone, search and look through categories just like on a phone or tablet.
We have the following releases / changes coming up which will be available in a separate news post as this one is already very long.
- A "Light" version of our theme for users who do not like the constant dark mode.
- Adding the 3 - 8 person ensembles to the Maple Beats section
- News on how we are currently using the source from Mabilcco to modify it to support code editing, 10 tracks per part, and more.