One more thing about yesterday’s website upgrade… did you notice how much faster the site loads each listing?
The turbo-charging is largely due to the work of our principal engineer, Michael Smedberg, who figured out new ways to cache data about a listing so we don’t have to query our database for basic property history every time a user wants to see the page. This caching is a little like keeping a fridge upstairs so you don’t have to walk so far to get a soda. Some of the caching technologies we used have also been used by Facebook.
In a more elegant turn, Michael also re-worked how we load a web page about a listing, so you can see a listing’s photos and basic details at the top of the page, while the bottom is still fetching the list of comparable properties. This is a little like getting to eat your sandwich while your husband gets dessert.
And on top of all that, we installed a super-duper solid-state disk drive — it got passed around at a company meeting and I got to fondle it for a moment, without really knowing what it was — into one of our database servers.
So our approach to performance this time was a classic case of beauty and the beast. What this means is that the site should really hum now.
Long-term we’ve wondered whether so many details about a single home — its neighborhood, its yard outline, its listing history, its property taxes, its Zestimate, the similar listings and and recent sales — belong on one web page. Amazon has a long web page about every book it sells because people like seeing all the details in one place. Are real estate consumers the same?
For Michael that question largely comes down to whether we can deliver all that information in one page with reasonable performance — we can! But would you prefer to see the information organized into different tabs? Let us know!