Site Problems, Explained:

Site Problems, Explained:

Joined: January 1st, 1970, 12:00 am

April 12th, 2018, 7:23 pm #1

Yes, I know the comic has been misupdating lately.

Yes, I DO check it first thing in the morning- my 'day job' involves mail order, and the first thing I do is check for orders and start getting those prepped. Usually before breakfast. 😁 But keep in mind my "first thing in the morning" is several hours behind most of you in the States (and I have no idea where it is in conjunction with you ladies and gents in Europe. 😁 )

Now, here's the issue: When I started TWB, I had no idea how to "code" an automatically-updating comic. And really, I still don't have a clue. So a friend of mine whipped up a little program and set it up on his server. I set the updater (his program) and upload the new strip to his server- when it's time to update, his system generates three new pages, and uploads them- as static HTML- to my host along with the new comic image file.

Why three? Because each of the most recent three are different: The "index" page increments the date and strip number, of course, and the next two have different arrangements for the "next" and "previous" buttons. (The second one back says "todays" rather than "next".)

After that, going back through the archives, all the other pages are at that point correctly oriented with their "back" and "next" buttons and dates, and so there's no need to keep refreshing or updating them. (Except when I make changes to the overall page, like adding the banner for the books- at which point it does a site-wide rebuild, which isn't as bad as you might think, since the images are already up, it just uploads new copies of the HTML.)

What's been happening, if you're still with me, is that at some point in the middle of the night right when the comic is doing it's update- that is, a couple of files are being swapped from his server to my server- there's some outage or slowdown or timeout or something. And since the last THREE pages get updated, if something interrupts the upload, we get a situation like today's, where "yesterdays" comic page isn't there at all.

We've tried to adjust the update time, and have spoken with the hosting company, but it's such an erratic thing that nobody can nail down exactly what's going on. One brute-force fix is we're working on giving me an "update now" button, rather than waiting for the updater to cycle on schedule. That way, if I'm doing the strip day-by-day, like I've been doing lately, I can just stab that button as soon as the strip's ready and it'll update immediately.

It's not an ideal fix, though a lot of you might like it because the strip could update hours earlier than usual, but it'd be something.

Doc.
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Joined: October 15th, 2015, 1:31 pm

April 12th, 2018, 7:53 pm #2

Personally, with the quality of your webcomic, i do not mind waiting. to me its worth it.
2003 BIOHAZARD ELECTRO COCKER
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Joined: February 17th, 2017, 2:34 pm

April 12th, 2018, 7:57 pm #3

I can see this breaking the page, but shouldn't the image for the previous day still be there, e.g., http://www.the-whiteboard.com/autotwb2583.png?  (It is now, but I thought it also broke when this glitch happened...)

As an engineer/troubleshooter, I find intermittent problems are pretty much the worst ones (maybe tied with ones that result in catastrophic failures) - if you can't duplicate the problem, you can't fix it :^(

Repeatable problems at -40C aren't any fun either - how do I put a scope probe on a board in a temp. chamber (and ideally be able to move it around) when it's that cold?
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Joined: June 2nd, 2015, 3:34 am

April 12th, 2018, 9:05 pm #4

It's all good.   Your comic is worth the wait.
It is possible to commit no mistakes and still lose. That is not a weakness. That is life.
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Joined: October 5th, 2014, 1:59 pm

April 12th, 2018, 9:12 pm #5

Ah, I always wondered why the page would always update at round 4pm (GMT +1) now I know :D
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Joined: September 22nd, 2014, 11:21 pm

April 12th, 2018, 9:35 pm #6

Meh, I live in NZ. it updates when I am sleeping anyhow, so it's not an issue for me.
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Joined: April 25th, 2016, 7:52 pm

April 13th, 2018, 12:44 am #7

software and sausages - ya don't want to know...
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Joined: December 20th, 2016, 1:30 pm

April 13th, 2018, 1:43 am #8

paintballsycho wrote: Personally, with the quality of your webcomic, i do not mind waiting. to me its worth it.
What he said.
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Joined: October 8th, 2014, 2:06 pm

April 13th, 2018, 2:11 am #9

DocsMachine wrote:One brute-force fix is we're working on giving me an "update now" button, rather than waiting for the updater to cycle on schedule. That way, if I'm doing the strip day-by-day, like I've been doing lately, I can just stab that button as soon as the strip's ready and it'll update immediately.
I can imagine you looking at a completed strip, deciding there's no way this passes muster, and accidentally hitting the update button anyway.
This is a test. Explosions are a happy side effect.
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Joined: October 8th, 2014, 2:05 pm

April 13th, 2018, 2:20 am #10

Retromash wrote:I can imagine you looking at a completed strip, deciding there's no way this passes muster, and accidentally hitting the update button anyway.
I don't think the rest of us would notice. I suspect Doc is his own worst critic.
If it ain't broke, I'll fix it!
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