Performance FTW!

It's been over a year since we first launched FlipQuiz™ and it has been tremendously successful! That means a lot of you have created boards, though, and our database is starting to swell big time.

Imagine if you will that you want to create a new FlipQuiz™ board. When you create a board, there are several form fields to fill out: board title, board category, cover photo, maybe privacy settings, and all those categories, questions, answers, and point values. (Even if you're not a PRO member, privacy settings and point values are stored in the database. That way, when you upgrade, you have logical defaults to work with.)

Warning: the below content is a little nerdy and geared toward developers or people that just want to know how the site works. You've been warned.

The Non-Question Fields

So the database has a set of fields that stores data just for the non-question/answer fields. Besides the questions/answers/categories/point values, here are the other pieces of information that the database stores for just one quiz board - whether you even see all of them or not:

  • Unique Board ID
  • Board Title
  • Privacy Setting (Public vs Private)
  • Privacy Password [PRO only]
  • Board Organizational Categories
  • Cover Photo Location
  • URL Path
  • Publish Date
  • Publish State
  • Author ID
  • Sitemap Inclusion Information

That's a lot of data and we haven't even touched the bulk of the content!

The Questions, Answers, Categories, and Point Values

Five questions in each of 6 categories doesn't seem like that much information, right? Well, lets look at the numbers:

  • Category titles x 6
  • Question Fields - 6 x 5 = 30
  • Answer Fields - 6 x 5 = 30
  • Point Value Fields - 6 x 5 = 30

Just the Q&A section of each board contains 96 fields of data on it's own! Furthermore, these sets of data are actually in another part of the database, so each board has to reference another unique ID for each of your question/answer sets.

Add the fields from the section above (plus some other miscellaneous housekeeping fields) and you've got more than 107 fields of data for EACH board! Then there are fields for other site content - like these blog articles - and fields for user information and the database just gets enormous.


So What's Changed?

Well, something needed to be done before this got out of control. By combining the content from all 96 Q&A fields into one, we were able to dramatically decrease the number of fields of data stored in the database. Furthermore, these fields are now a part of the board - not a separate piece of content - so the back and forth requests for each board have been dramatically reduced as well.

Long story short, we were able to take 107+ fields and narrow them down to just 12. This will help with load times and database storage. We've already seen boards load in half the time on the presentation view and five times faster on the edit view!

This change touched A LOT of areas in the site. The board create/edit/view pages needed to be updated. Plus, the presentation view and flashcards had to be completely rewritten. Overall, the site looks a bit nicer and will perform a whole lot better, but it has been a long time coming.


*Side Note*

Currently, only new boards and newly saved boards will be formatted to the new layout, so if you want to take advantage of this performance boost (and help us out across the board - pun intended), edit your boards and re-save them!

Posted in Pro, Site Updates on August 15, 2017
Posted in Site Updates on June 5, 2017
Posted in General on May 4, 2017
Posted in Site Updates on March 20, 2017

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