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We've successfully migrated dpreview.com to its new web servers. And, now that most of the teething problems have been ironed out, we're confident that the errors and degraded performance that some users have been experiencing over the last few weeks are well behind us. Dpreview is a big, complex site, and our old servers were beginning to show their age. The fact we were able to move to an entirely new platform (AWS) with almost zero downtime is a credit to the development team who work hard behind the scenes to keep the site running.
We used the server migration as an opportunity to simplify and optimize some of the older site code. This should help to keep things running more smoothly, and faster, and allow us to dedicate more of our development resources to building new features and improving visitor experience, rather than fighting a constant battle with our ageing servers.
We realize not everyone likes to read white text on a black background, so we've introduced a new Print View to the news and articles section (we're working on a plan for the reviews, but that's a far bigger task). When you open any news story (such as this one) you'll see a 'Print View' link in the bar at the top of the page (the one with the social networking links). You'll find the same link on articles (though in this case it's at the bottom of the page).
|Print View||Print View - for reading and printing|
As part of the server migration we've moved our news sytem to our CMS (the same thing that runs articles). The biggest change for users is the use of tags and categories. Click on any category (the colored block on the homepage under each story). or pick one from the updated news menu, to view all stories in that category (for example http://www.dpreview.com/news/category/NewCamerasAndLenses) or click on any tag (shown at the top of the news story page) to see all stories with matching tags (e.g. http://www.dpreview.com/news/tag/casio). There's also a tag browser at http://www.dpreview.com/news/tags.
We also thought we'd mention again a little-known feature that answers the small number of angry emails we get every day from people who don't like seeing the homepage cluttered with 'fluff' (articles not directly related to hardware) or firmware updates. The news filter on the homepage allows you to hide certain categories permanently from the homepage feed, so you can keep your blood pressure under control by never seeing the offending stories.
|By default the news filter allows you to restrict the homepage to a single category. Click on Advanced mode and you get more options...||...Uncheck the categories you don't want to see and click 'Make Default' and you'll never see them again!|
We recently ran a prize challenge, sponsored by Tamron (link), and the response was amazing, with just over 3000 entries and over 72,000 votes. In addition to the winner of the public vote we decided to award our own extra prize to the 'Editor's Choice' winner, as picked by Simon Joinson, Editor of www.dpreview.com. The winners (who both receive Tamron lenses as prizes) are shown below.
|Public vote winner: City Tower (Torun, Poland) by user Goami|
|Editor's Choice Winner: Lone tree, Sunset by user dejavu66|
We learned a lot from our first Prize Challenge, and we'll be implementing several changes before the next one.