Over the next few months we’re turning our attention to making Launchpad sing; not so much Edith Piaf, more the note struck by a perfectly tuned Ferrari.
This month — actually, this week — and again in April and June, we’re holding Launchpad Performance Week (LPW)!
LPW is all about tackling those pages in Launchpad that keep us waiting.
As you’d expect, performance is something we’re working on all the time but we’re approaching Launchpad Performance Week slightly differently. You know how the longer you play Tetris the faster the blocks fall? Well, we’re kinda doing the same thing with LPW. Each month we’re going to tighten our definition of “slow” so that we bring more and more pages onto our radar and then fix them!
Soft and hard timeouts
First off, we need to look at how Launchpad handles timeouts. Let me turn to Ursula in the Launchpad QA team.
“In Launchpad we have two types of timeout: soft and hard. Both help us to measure Launchpad page performance, and also to set limits of how long a page could take to load. Hard timeouts occur when a page takes more than this pre-defined limit to load. When it happens, Launchpad aborts the load and generates an error report, which we call an OOPS, showing the user an error page with the OOPS ID on it.
“On the other side, a soft timeout is more a warning for the Launchpad team rather than an error itself. When Launchpad successfully loads a page, it measures how long it took to load and checks if the soft timeout limit was exceeded. If so, Launchpad generates an OOPS report and lets the Launchpad team know that that page may be a potential problem.
“This month we’ve reduced both timeout limits on edge by five seconds. That means we’ll see more timeouts on edge, so we’ll become aware of more slow pages and be able to optimize them.
“Next time we do a Launchpad Performance Week, we’ll decrease the timeout limits even more, meaning more slow pages are exposed and we can keep working to make them faster, aiming to improve the whole Launchpad experience.”
What you’ll notice
So, each time we reduce the timeout limits more pages will hit the timeout limits on edge. We’ll fix those during the Launchpad Performance Week so that they come within the new soft timeout limit.
However, there is a chance that one or two pages may hit our hard timeout limit on edge and so fail to load. If you’re in the Launchpad beta testers team — or like to use Launchpad’s edge environment for any other reason — you may want to switch to using production Launchpad during that time.
If any pages do hit the hard timeout limit — and that would only happen on edge — then we’ll aim to get them fixed within 24 hours.
Either way, the main changes you’re likely to see are speed improvements and, possibly, small changes in the way that those pages work. We’ll always aim to maintain the same level of functionality in a page but we may find creative ways of making the page more responsive, such as loading some of the data asynchronously.
When we’re doing it
The first Launchpad Performance Week is now. You can expect to see updates on this blog and also a round-up of what we achieved sometime next week.
We’re planning the next LPW for the week starting 6th April, with another starting June 1st. Although we may move that depending on how this week affects people.