comics.com jumps the shark

By | November 3, 2008

Users of my comics aggregator might have noticed that it has been slow for the past few days and has had problems retrieving comics that are hosted at comics.com.

It appears that comics.com rolled out a new version of their Web site over the weekend.  After the rollout, it had problems, to say the least.  Pages were taking several minutes to load, when they loaded correctly at all, which was impossible to predict.

When I discovered that they had rolled out a new version of the Web site, I tweaked the aggregator to understand the new site format.

Then, at some point after the rollout, they switched the URLs of the images on their Web pages to point at a different server pool, and I tweaked the aggregator to understand that as well (the aggregator parses HTML to look for the comic strip images, so it needs to know what the image URLs look like).

Then, I tried to mitigate the continued abysmal performance of the site by adding cacheing for its strips, so that once the aggregator finally manages to find a particular strip for a particular day, it remembers where it is and doesn’t have to search for it again.

Then, in the middle of when I was doing that, the folks at comics.com decided to switch back to the old site, presumably in an effort to cope with the outrageous performance problems the new site was continuing to experience.

Now, they’re flipping back and forth between the new site and the old one, and both of them are performing outrageously badly.

The moral of the story here is that if you are seeing that the aggregator is running slowly today and perhaps for the next few days (one would hope that they’ll have the problem resolved by then!) and perhaps not displaying all of your comics, please bear with us while we experience technical difficulties that are somebody else’s fault. 🙂

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