I wanted to give a quick summary of where we are in development.
My Files: Publisher and Download system redesign: We’ve spent a lot of time this year improving the new My Files section. Uploads processing and stability improved. Customers’ experience with downloading was streamlined, and they got new features like zip downloads. Publishing received many tweaks, upgrades and bug fixes, heavily based on user feedback.
Support: Development then spent some of the summer revamping our the support system, both internally and externally. The interfaces that users experience are much improved, but more importantly for the long term is that the internal improvements allow us to handle tickets better, more of them, and to open up other opportunities for other support features.
Since then, we’ve pushed out a couple of small releases dealing with smaller items. This week we released a small set of features, mostly little bugs and upgrades. This month we’ll release another set of improvements to the Purchases & Downloads section to make the process easier for customers to get their purchases. This will be the last large upgrade to this area for a while.
The rest of the year we’ll be focusing on some big improvements to the basic customer experience on the site. We’ll also be rolling out small bug fixes and upgrades, but there’s a lot of good stuff that we are currently focusing our development on for the Fall.
The site was upgraded today to improve the Publisher and fix a number of small bugs. We’ve run through all the requests from those who were still using the old Publisher. After six months of fixes, upgrades, new features, and multiple contacts to all interested parties, we’ve removed the links to the old Download area, Product Manager, and Upload pages.
Publisher upgrades that went live today:
Exposed direct Save Draft functionality: Previously, if you wanted to save your changes to a draft without publishing the draft or overwriting the existing values, you had to use an indirect method. By request, we’ve made the option to Save Draft now always available.
New “Show all help” and “Hide all help” functionality.
The third tab has been shrunk, removing the need to scroll when there is no help for that area.
We now limit the number of characters allowed as you type them in the tags field. If you copy/paste, there is still no limit in the UI, but when you publish it will trim the excess.
In order to help improve the quality of content on the site, product-type-specific attributes no longer default, but must be chosen directly. For example, you must now specifically state whether your 3D model is textured.
We’ve added a new attribute to 3D models: “UV Mapped”. This means that all faces in the model are assigned a flat UV coordinate for proper texture placement and appearance. This will also help improve the quality of previews.
Polygons and Vertices fields handle too-large values properly.
Sadly, IE6 is not dead yet. To punish our developers, we decided to make them code the new search UI for IE6. Along the way, we solved a few search bugs.
Separately, we’ve done an upgrade pass on the My Files Search.
General bug fixes include:
Main File uploads now allow parentheses in filename.
Format detection works for RARs and names with underscores.
Large thumbnails now showing in Presentation Images tab of Publisher during first edit.
Copying multiple products simultaneously from a corporate account now works correctly.
Uploads with non-flash uploader can go in any Step, not just Step 1.
Editing of descriptions for Textures type accompanying files after first upload, is now working correctly.
Font for Publisher + Reports pulldowns unified for all browsers.
Last week we upgraded our Database Warehouse infrastructure. That’s the system that holds large data sets for reports, such as the Statistic reports you can access from your Dashboard.
The infrastructure allows complex report requests to run in the background, so the reports themselves will come up faster when you request them. This new setup has shown dramatic increases in speed for report viewing, and also in the loads of the Dashboard and the reports that show on it initially. The Statistics report average is 20X improved, while the Dashboard average is 4X improved.
Today we upgraded the site with a number of new features and bug fixes. We feel that we’ve dealt with just about all the issues that customers and artists have brought up with the new My Files section over the last several months. We will be notifying everyone and asking for a one last set of feedback as we are planning to take the old Product Manager offline after the next release, which will be in a matter of weeks.
So, please check out all the new features and upgrades. Most of these changes were based off of user feedback. After you’ve tested it the new Publisher, please takea short survey to tell us what final things we need to do before the old Product Manager can be put to bed.
Bulk Downloads: Select multiple products, folders or files and TS will now zip them all up for one easy download
Inline file downloads: You can now download items from within a product without having to navigate into the product folder
Sales receipt page: when there is only one product in sale, the Download link now navigates into the product folder
Downloading free products navigates directly into the product folder
Fixed the permission error when trying to download a product from your file system that the artist had taken offline
Fixed a bug where Date Added was date modified, not date added
Initial load time of Publisher is much faster
Suggested products now allows entry of Product IDs
Fixed a bug with Suggested products where you had to select the auto-complete
We’ve created an alternative Upload method that is slower, but more stable. Certain users were having uploads regularly fail because of too many dropped packets due to internet routing issues. Check the help widget in Uploads section for more info.
Navigating to other tabs killed uploads, leaving them in “stuck”. We don’t have a final solution for this yet, but if you try to switch tabs, it asks you if you want to stop your download or stop navigating away, so uploads no longer get “stuck”.
Fixed bug where you were unable to upload from any tab that has a verification issue. For example, if you failed to put in a price and then hit Preview, that tab would be in this state.
Fixed bug where sometimes files weren’t removed from Uploads file system when selected in “Add from Uploads”
Fixed bug where apostrophes in file names caused crash in upload
Files being uploaded into Publisher no longer move around between uploading and processing steps
Fixed bug where you could create a product inside of another product
Fixed bug where certain media types meta data fields looked bad in Chrome/Safari
Folders named “0″ will now display
Fixed bug where hitting Publish Product on a product in Drafts folder gave a no permission error
Fixed bug where any saved changes to a Hidden product automatically un-hid it
GENERAL SITE IMPROVEMENTS
You can now right-click to open new pages from links on all the links from within My Files, not just a few
Several tweaks to improve SEO, including upgrading the CName pages (for example, cars.turbosquid.com). We’ll be A/B testing this, so some of you might not immediately see it.
Download Reports now includes source information about the downloader.
As expected, the new Publisher and Download section have left Beta and are now the default interfaces. The “Download” item in the navigation bar is now this new My Files section, containing all your purchases, published products, and uploads. You will still be able to use the old Product Manager and Download page for the next 1-2 months, but then they will go offline. You can navigate to these pages from a link on the bottom left of the page when you are in the Purchases and Download section or the Publisher.
Since these are stable, we’ll be coming out with blog posts, videos, and upgraded Knowledge base documents on the new systems- from basic how to’s to tips and tricks that aren’t obvious.
We’ve also rolled out a couple of smaller upgrades this week that you might have noticed. There’s a new footer and Company Info Pages in the new style. “Finally, a new footer!” I can hear you screaming with excitement. Perhaps not the most exciting new feature you wanted, but these are steps on the way to simplifying the basic navigation of the site. We’re going to be pulling certain things out of the navigation bar and just having them in the footer. That way the navigation bar can include only the more important and regularly used links. Making these changes in multiple releases makes it easier to deliver the end result.
Hi, I’m John Foster, the Systems Administrator at TurboSquid. We’ve been making some changes recently on the back-end of our site to try and improve performance and create a better user experience. Most recently, this past Sunday morning, we upgraded our main database server, and I wanted to share some of the before and after data with you.
We upgraded the server to the fastest hardware available to us which has increased performance site-wide. Some key areas where you should notice the performance boost are Full Preview, Product Manager, and Forums. Other integral parts of the site such as Search are running on separate servers which have also been upgraded over the past few months and are optimized by other means (such as memcached, for you techies out there who like to know these things).
Here’s some data from Full Preview page loads to give you an idea of the type of improvement to expect:
As you can see, the new server decreased the severity of some of the load time spikes that we were seeing on the old machine, greatly improving consistency. We’ve also decreased load times in general by an average of over 200%.
We’re very pleased with the results and hope that the performance enhancements improve your experience at TurboSquid.