My oh my, can this really be a WordPress post? (feeling Groom-y)

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PorcuJim, originally uploaded by Serenae.

So, we have very quietly been running some WordPress blogs for the past month or so. I say “quietly” because we are treating this is as something of testing phase. Not so much testing the software (which has mostly run well, with a few hiccups on the custom hacked stuff), as testing how it works for a set of exemplar cases and monitoring the associated support needs. Hopefully I will be able to share the stuff that’s been happening in the not-too-distant future, as some of it is quite exciting.

There has been one technical issue that has bedeviled us. Even though we are running the system on a top-end hosting platform, and the usage levels are relatively light, some users report periodic stalling and hang-ups when posting or even commenting. The problem is particularly acute with the admin and management interfaces. The strange part is that reported slowdowns are not reflected in any anomalies with the server or activity logs. It seems worse for users off-campus, and perhaps worse for users on wireless networks.

I thought I had identified a major cause while traveling a couple weeks back. The management interface in Firefox was stalled, so I tried it in Safari where it worked like a charm. Firefox was still non-responsive, so I tried it again there with Greasemonkey turned off, which proved to be my problem. When Greasemonkey was on, the interface hung up, when off it was fine.

I thought this was THE breakthrough, but most of our users reporting problems claim they are not Greasemonkey (or even Firefox) users, or of other similar extensions such as Firebug.

It seems clear that there is some issue related to javascript, and network latencies. (Do I sound impressively techie with that last sentence? I hope so, as I am mindlessly parroting what smart people are telling me.) I am hopeful that someone else out there has dealt with similar problems… Are there things we can advise or ask people who complain about sluggish performance? Are there any plugins that might be causing the problem? (We have actually been fairly minimalist in our use of plugins precisely due to potential issues like this.) Is there anything we can do to address this problem in our management of the system?

I do hope to get this cleared up, as overall the early returns suggest that the platform is a winner.

About Brian

I am a Strategist and Discoordinator with UBC's Centre for Teaching, Learning and Technology. My main blogging space is Abject Learning, and I sporadically update a short bio with publications and presentations over there as well...
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