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New GD Library

We are getting ready to the launch of the new section and all inside applications are slowly upgraded to use bundled PHP gd library. We were using the library from Boutell for almost 9 years and this year we are finally ready to make this change and start using the library from PHP.

Coloring Pages Upgrade

Finally I can announce that TDP Coloring Pages are up for a new upgrade. New coloring pages have a bit different feeling. You can still import pictures, but pictures have to be more or less suitable for coloring. New interface also has a color selection and One-Click Filling so you do not have to drag “Magic Brush” any more.

Simply Select The Color and start clicking on a picture to color it. Don’t miss this latest TDP Free offering, go to http://www.thedollpalace.com/coloring-pages/v2 and start coloring :)

People brought our attention on some problems in “Personal Doll Makers”. Some members created makers with tags in names and managed to create some errors on the page.

We modified output and from now on all the tags will be stripped from Personal maker Names. You can still use special characters, but all HTML tags will be stripped.

Downtime - Apr 24

Entire day we had issues with connectivity and many people were involved helping us to resolve everything. I really appreciate all the help we got from our engineers.

Here is what was going on in the datacenter (behind the scenes)….


After a long and stressful night, agg1 is still decided not to cooperate. We are going to be replacing the device or migrating customers off the device.

UPDATE 11:32 AM: We are going to be swapping out the ram in the Sup2 module shortly.

UPDATE 2:26 PM: Ok we have swapped out a new sup into agg1 and it “should” be good and apparently seems alot faster than before according to some customers. If there is ANYONE having ANY issues at all please notify us immediately and we will work to resolve the issue.

UPDATE 4:11 PM : We are still working to resolve the instability issues..

UPDATE 4:24 PM: Everything seems to have stabilized we will monitor it closely and continue to watch for any problems. We are not classifying this issue as resolved however.

UPDATE 5:36 PM: We are ware of the current network situation.

UPDATE 6:48 PM: While we are configuring the replacement board (2nd board) we expect the agg to fail again, but it has been failing just about once an hour with a downtime of roughly 10min between down and coming backup. We have also replaced the RAM (again) in the current board.

UPDATE 8:05 PM: The new board has been inserted into the Agg and should be coming up in a min. This should be the final downtime of the evening.

UPDATE 8:40 PM: The board isn’t taking for some reason, we are investigating why, the old board is back in and the Agg is backup. The new board is back in the lab setup and the admins are working on modifying the configs to try again.

UPDATE 9:57 PM: We are in the home stretch, the new board is back in the agg and is undergoing final configs.

UPDATE 10:38 PM: Everything should be up now, there “might” be some additional downtime throughout the night while we iron out some more bugs but non lasting longer than 10min. Also more spares JIC are on the way in for 8am delivery.

Well entire last week was spent on optimization, and we continued working on it today.

All dynamic front page information is now cached… and we are not relying on MYSQL cache any more, now it is cached on the application level so page should load much faster.

For Coders:

Idea is basically to create an array or PHP object with all the prepared (ready to output) data, use PHP “serialize” function and put the result in a file or in a small table with a “BLOB” field. On The Doll Palace we used our main table for settings, this table has following columns: name (varchar), value (text) and date_value(datetime) columns.

Caching mechanism is doing a select for “value” with name and date_value in where clause. If row is found it takes the value, unserialize it and feeds to the main application. If row is not found, it calculates all the values, updates the DB and feeds the values to the application.

Day of Database TuneUps

All started from revision of Mysql Slow Queries file…. it appers that even 6 GB of memory is not enought to server the profiles and all site functions … probably will upgrade to 8 GB 

MySql is supposed to be good with joins, but after careful review me and DB amin figured that optimizer can not well handle many tables in the correct way…

On TDP Optimizer was constantly trying to prioritize Country table because of #of rows…. We had to replace joins with STRAIGHT_JOIN and tune the indexes on users table to properly select records with limits. Since we constantly show only 100 ordered records our indexes had to include order by field as a second indexed column.

I think Friends page returns all the results mu faster now…

TDP Navigator Dilema

We tried to put the new TDP navigator in the old layout and it looked very ungly…. had to take it off after all… Eventually all the pages will be migrated, but we need somethign in the mean time. I think we will create another navigator template for TDP blue.. and use it on all old pages.

TDP Navigator

If you will take a look at the blogs frontpage, you will find TDP navigator at tht very top, please start getting used to it …. TDP Navigator will be slowly migrated to all of TDP new pages.

TDP Stickers

Finally almost all of the requested stickers are getting ready to be mailed. Hopefully we will have a lot of happy members next week. Stickers were on delay because of problems with printing company, but now we again have all of them :)

Another award…

Ms. E just sent me an email indicating that TDP won an award… Thank you Ms. E.

 >From the Email

Hey, congrats! Even though I’m redesigning my entire website, I still have time to give you the 1st EVER official Enthusiasm-x ‘best site award’! Your site won because:
*layout-the color scheme and web layout were different
*ideas-you had original ideas like the ’stories section’, & ‘clubs & cliques’. Things that aren’t on any other site I viewed
*dolls-you had more dolls than all of the websites I looked at, and they were all  excellent
*makers-you had original doll makers with hundreds of items
*functionality-nothing crashed or wouldn’t load on your site, while on several others it did
*stats-you have a ton of visitors and members
All of these things combined definitely earned you your award! I hope you like, and enjoy it. 



TDP Award

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