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Gandiblog Incident

We have been encountering serious performance problems with GandiBlog over the past few days, and you have unfortunately felt the full consequences of this. Please accept our sincere apologies.

What is happening

Since the opening of GandiBlog two years ago, many of you have created one or more blogs. At the beginning, everything went well as there was not too much data. Then, with time, comments started to be added to your blogs (this is not a bad thing, but it is at the origin of the problem as you will soon see). It turns out that around 90% of these comments are spam. We began to be aware of the problem last summer and performed several "cleaning operations" to remove spam from the blog comments. We believed that everything was going well, all the more so as we put into place a high-performance cache system. Wrong!

During the deletion of the spam, we did not take into account the comments that were published, but only the ones that were flagged as spam. Last night, a first wave of deletions removed 600,000 (yes, that is correct) published trackbacks.

The space occupied by the illegitimate spam led to serious performance problems for the database and therefore hurt the entire GandiBlog platform.

What we are going to do

Purge the spam

Yesterday, we therefore deleted 600,000 illegitimate trackbacks. We are continuing with this today, as there are easily 300,000 which have no business being on GandiBlog. Note, however, that we will not touch your comments in any case, this only concerns the trackbacks.

Optimization of our database

Several points remain yet to be addressed in order to improve the performance of the database. We are going to work on this in the coming days and weeks.

Display of recent comments on your blog

The widget, which allows you to display the latest comments published on your blog, now has a cache of 30 minutes. This was implemented this morning and will remain effective.

Improvement of the cache

Several significant improvements to the cache system remain to be implemented. These will be put into production this afternoon.

Closing of comments and trackbacks

We have observed that too many blogs have been abandoned with the comments left open. No comments will be published now for a blog that has not been updated for at least 2 months. It will be possible, of course, to reactivate the acceptance of comments via the administration interface of the blog.

We're working on it !

All of this will be done as soon as possible. We are even more upset than you are about the blogs not operating at an optimal level, and we would like to be able to continue to offer you new options. This will be the case, once the blogs are running, are rapid, and in a way that is stable.



Presents for a bit of colour

As we announced yesterday, GandiBlog now has a new theme called "Blowup" which allows you to customise many presentation aspects.

Furthermore, this theme proposes a module which allows you to copy the code of a defined style. This allows users to share their customised styles with other users. The "Blowup" theme also offers some pre-defined styles, but there are only few for the time being.

We're going to add more in days to come and thought you could help out as well. To do so, nothing simpler: configure your Blowup theme until you're happy with the result. Once you've done so, click the "+" by "Import / export" and copy the code in the text field which comes up. Then, you can just paste it right here as a comment (and give it a name if you feel inspired).

If you lack inspiration, visit Kuler http://kuler.adobe.com/.

The authors of the styles we will choose to add to the list of pre-defined styles will be given a Gandi t-shirt or a one-year domain renewal, as a token of our gratitude.

What is more, those who feel really inspired can design header images. Only one condition: These must be 800 pixels in width. PNG transparency is allowed (and encouraged). Leave the image's URL as a comment.

Note: Gandi personnel are allowed to participate, but won't get any presents...

Happy colouring to all :)




Temporary closing of GandiBlogs

GandiBlog will officially open its doors this afternoon. The update will cause an interruption in service for this one time only. The blog will go offline at 15:00 Paris time, and will go back online at 16:00.

You will see some changes in your blogs, that may ask you to make some modifications to it

Please read this entire entry if you have a GandiBlog. We will be discussing the additions that will appear after the update.


Addition of visitor statistics to GandiBlog

To view your blog's stats, click on the "Statistics" link that now appears in the left-hand column in your blog's administration interface. You will then see a page that displays your statistics for the current month (stats for previous months will be saved, and all stats begin on November 2006), along with the usual information (visitors per day, breakdown of visitors, browser information, etc.).

Something somewhat unique: you may see what keywords were used in Google to find your blog, as well as the most recent links to your blog's address.

Statistics are updated each day before midnight via the application, Visitors.

Statistics may vary somewhat from the results you get from other tools you may have added. This is to be expected, though please contact us if you see a difference that seems abnormally wide.

More good news: we will soon be giving you easy access to your blogs' raw logs so that you can use your favorite log analyzer :)

PS. Please remember that we are still in the Beta version of GandiBlog...at least for a couple more days ;)


GandiBlog Update, Part IV

Dotclear released version 2 beta 3 yesterday, and the update of GandiBlog followed today (not without some minor disturbances that hopefully you have not noticed).

You can already see the improvement made to this new version of GandiBlog (which has been updated several times already), in that it now has a plug-in for pings.

You may therefore notify the services of Ping-o-Matic! and Google Blogsearch. Ping-o-Matic allows you to notify many different services. If you want us to add others, just ask!

You may have also remarked that on the bottom of the page of your blog you will see a link to the following page: GandiBlog. This is the page where you can see a list of all the most recently-updated blogs (a RSS feed will soon be available).

Statistics will be available in the coming days.



Multiple writers for GandiBlog!

Due to a technical problem, this will take longer than anticipated...just kidding! Everything is ready, there is no need to click on "Totally delete" right away :-)

The principle is simple, you can invite whoever you want (enter their Gandi handle) to write entries in your blog, and assign them administrative rights.


GandiBlog Update, Part III

We updated GandiBlog yesterday, and several improvements have been made:

  • Addition of Wiki syntax help (click on the question mark next to "Text formatting" to access it).
  • Possibility of entering your Gandi handle in both uppercase and lowercase letters during login.
  • Possibilitiy of choosing how to sort the tags in the tags widget.
  • Correction of a problem with the HTTP proxy (for your weather or RSS feeds).

Consequently, the "Latest News" has reappeared in the Dashbord.

Please note: major changes have been made to the XML/RPC interface. In order to avoid sending your Gandi passwords out in the open, the XML/RPC interface has been moved. Information necessary for accessing it is available in the settings of your blof. The XML/RPC interface must first be activated before it will work, and before you can obtain the information that you need for your client.

The mandated user (aditional administrators of your blog) option will soon be up and running. The good news is that all is ready, there just remains one more thing to do...

The forum is also ready to go, and since this no longer depends on me, please give your encouragement to Tuf, who has taken the relay ;)


What's new with GandiBlog?

Last week, we added 1,000 additional accounts to GandiBlog. Welcome to all the new arrivals! We hope that you feel well at ease (a few accounts should still be available).

We updated the GandiBlog platform yesterday, adding a range of new features and correcting a few remaining problems. This includes:

  • The ability to import OPML[1] or XBEL into your blogroll (a OPML file may often be generated by an aggregator)
  • RSS and Atom feeds for tags (entries and comments)
  • The number of attached files is now displayed on your blog. In the administration interface, a paperclip icon shows you if an entry contains attached files.
  • If you add an image containing an XMP[2] header, information such as the date of the shoot, the image title, etc. will automatically be imported. A little bit later, we will be adding EXIF and IPTC compatibility, eventually followed by a great gallery :)
  • Some improvements to the WYSIWYG editor
  • From the Dashord, you will see a new link: "Informations GandiBlog". This will take you to a page that contains information pertaining to your blog (for the moment is it only in French). Right now, this only contains info on the XML/RPC interface settings; Many of you have requested this and we must admit that without this information, there would be no way to figure out how to do it :)

Also, and without a doubt the most widely anticipated: a customizable theme. On the 'Theme Settings' page, select the "Custom Theme" and click the 'save' button. After the page has refreshed, you will see a 'Theme Configuration' tab appear where you can enter all the CSS code you want, to customize the appearance of your blog. If you then change the theme and return to a customized theme, your stylesheet will be saved.

Last, but not least, the problem with trackbacks has been fixed.

Notes

[1] voir http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/OPML

[2] XMP headers are often added by Photoshop