Revamping the Sites dashboard
This week we broke ground on what’s the first of many improvements to the main Sites dashboard. Currently every site shown on the dashboard contains a thumbnail of that site. However, this is not actually a thumbnail; rather it’s the entire homepage (!) of the site loaded inside an iframe. Pretty crazy right? Talking about a heavy footprint! As reported by many of our dear customers, when the application starts to fill up with users and sites, the Sites dashboard load speed slows to a crawl. Obviously not a great situation!
We will start improvements to the Sites dashboard by removing the clunky iframes and use regular image thumbnails instead. This poses some interesting challenges though. If SB Pro / Pagestead were a regular SaaS application and we’d control the infrastructure on which the application runs, we’d simply install some code on our servers which would facilitate taking screenshots when a site/page is saved. However, since we don’t control the servers on which SB Pro / Pagestead runs, and code required for rendering webpages on the server and taking a screenshot is not typically installed on your average server we needed to come up with a different solution.
The solution we came up with is an external API which takes the screenshots. External implies that the screenshot code resides on an additional server, this would eliminate the need to install screenshot code on the servers running SB Pro / Pagestead. With this workflow, whenever a site is saved, the server running SB Pro / Pagestead communicates with the screenshot API which takes the screenshot and sends it back to the server running SB Pro / Pagestead which can store the screenshot for future use.
Final tests for the additional 200 blocks
This week we’re in the final stages of doing tests on the additional 200 blocks we’ll soon be releasing to our Enterprise customers. In addition to releasing these blocks to our Enterprise customers, we will also make them available for Starter and Professional customers (for an additional fee which will be decided later).
We have got a lot of ideas for additional block features which we’ll start working on as soon as we’ve release these 200 blocks. Some features we’re contemplating/testing are:
- color overlay backgrounds
- parallax backgrounds
- video backgrounds
- countdown timers
- basic animations
- many, many more
Updating the Sites dashboard is the last main feature we’ll be implementing before releasing v1.0.4. We still do have a number of small enhancements and bug fixes to complete, however as far as new features go, we’re drawing a line in the sand. Of course we’ll continue moving towards v1.0.5 right away with additional features. But we know a bunch of customers are anxiously waiting for Paypal integration, so we figure it’s time to get it out there!