Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Site Changes

Well like everyone else (or at least a lot of people) I'm not writing in this blog as often as I should or as often as I set out to do. However we have some big news for the site so I thought I'd better put pen to papers, or at least fingers to the keyboard.

Well in fact there are going to be two big changes on the site, the first being a change of name. The site will be changing from Free Craft Downloads to Craftville.

There are a few reasons for the change. Firstly the new name is shorter and more memorable, it's a domain name I've owned for a long time, in fact it was the first one I ever bought back in the days when domain names were really expensive. Secondly, we will be using (although we do own as well) which reflects the fact that our users/members come from all over the world. Another reason is a change to the way Google index websites, they no longer seem to like descriptive domain names.

We will make sure that all old links and bookmarks continue to work, so even if you put in you will be automatically taken to the new site. Having said that we will be making a few changes to the structure of the site so, as normal, we recommend using the site map if you get lost :-)

I can't really tell you when this change is going to happen. I can tell you that we are working really hard behind the scenes to get it all sorted and hope to have a better idea about how long it will take in a couple of weeks. I can't see it happening for at least a month though.

Archived Sets

Set Archive Example
The other big change to the site will be the introduction of archived sets. Basically we have too many individual papers on the site.  At the moment we have just under 180,000 individual papers available but the way are server works it stores 3 copies of each image, a thumbnail, a medium sized copy and the full sized one for download. That means the 180,000 sheets lead to 540,000 images being stored on the server which is far too many and leads to speed and stability issues.

We needed to find a way to reduce the number of individual files we store BUT keep our promise to always have the designs available free on the site. The solution we have come up with is to archive many of the sets into zip folders and let you download the zip folders rather than individual sets. This means an average set, e.g. the name set "Adam", has 272 sheets in it, leading to 816 images being stored on the server. By turning it into an archive we reduce this to 12 files, 6 zip files and 6 example images. That is a heck of a saving!

We did ask in the newsletter and most people seemed to like this idea. It does have it's drawbacks, in an archive set it will no longer be possible to view or download individual sheets (although we have split the zip folders into types of sheets so you wont have to download everything if you just want 5x5 papers). However this will make it easier if you want say the whole of a Christmas set.

We have set up an example page HERE using the Arrows set. If will give you an idea of what an Archive set will look like and as it is working, give you a chance to download one of the zipped folders and look at that as well. We will be producing a page of instructions for those who haven't used zip folders before but it is very easy on the newer versions of windows where they seem to be treated just the same as any other folder.

At the moment we have decided to archive all what we deem to be "old" papers plus all the name papers and number papers, this only applies to the Backing Papers section, no papers will be archived in the other sections such as decoupage, templates, digi stamps etc.

By doing this we will be creating a lot more space to add new papers plus the whole site should work smoother and faster!

Well we've got plenty of work to keep us busy so I'll get off to it. Please feel free to leave any comment you have below.