A slight diversion from photography for a moment; after all, I do make technical solutions too! :-) I was checking out the new version of the Jungfrau Zeitung website a few days ago, looking at the new layout and site logic, trying (and failing) to find the RSS feed which used to keep me up-to-date on English news from the Bernese Oberland and looking “under the hood” – at least, the one which is publically accessible – to see what changes had been made from a programming point of view.
Content delivery networking
While I was still working for the paper as co-developer, we decided to improve the performance of the website by implementing a load-sharing CDN (content delivery network) solution; namely, to move dynamic content images and extraneous files such as CSS and layout icons to a second web server, to allow the main web server to concentrate on delivering database content in the form of news articles. This made the main server run much faster, as it had to handle many fewer requests per web page.
(When you call up a web page, the web server has to deliver not just the page itself, but also CSS files which control the layout, images and so on.)
In order to stop a malicious programmer disrupting a website or gaining sensitive information, it is not possible for a script on a website to access another window (or iframe) which has been served from another domain. This issue also covers making XMLHttpRequest (“AJAX”) calls to a domain other than that of the website making the request. (A search at Google will turn up a vast number of websites explaining why in more detail, so I won’t go into that here.)
What are the benefits?
* Browsers add an artificial brake which means that only a certain amount of concurrent requests may be made from the same domain. That means that if you have a lot of files being requested by each web page, some of them will be queued until others finish loading. By putting some of the files in other domains – for example
images.permanenttourist.ch (none of which are actually implemented here, they’re just examples) – you’ll increase the loading speed of your web pages.
If you’d like to find out more about my website and programming projects, please drop me a line. I intend to put more details of specific web projects online when I can, but I can’t guarantee when they’ll start appearing! Follow the blog – using the RSS reader is easiest – and keep an eye out for new entries in the Internet category to see more geeky stuff.