Innoruuk gets performance boost from WebObjects

WebObjects development brings new features and a performance boost to hobbyist website when the hobby outgrows the IIS/ASP server.


Innoruuk calendar

An informal group of a few thousand Everquest players who play on the Innoruuk server, including Wolfypaw and Skyal, who happened to be illumineX developers (in Meat Space, anyway).


The population of the Innoruuk server, through a series of summits (long boring meetings in IRC) decided that a few highly contested zones known as the Plane of Hate and the Plane of Fear would be scheduled so that guilds could plan ahead and get time in the zones without having to continually battle other guilds for a chance. The summit decision required a central calendar that would be the "official" (according to the players on the server, not the game publisher Verant) place where the schedule would be kept. The initial calendar application was developed by a selfless player in Active Server Pages and hosted on the Microsoft IIS web server on a PC.

The original calendar application was performing poorly under the load which sometimes reaches 80 or so simultaneous users. At the start of the project, page loads on the IIS/ASP calendar system were averaging around thirty seconds. "Performance wasn't great," according to Wolfypaw. "The pattern was to click on a button, then go read your mail while the page loaded. But the real motivation for the new system was the old system was going to be shut down -- it didn't have an admin tool, so the previous site administrator was crushed under a workload of edits and such. It just reached the point where he couldn't sustain that amount a work for a hobby. It cut into play time!"


illumineX developers Wolfypaw and Skyal spent a week of evenings to build a new web site and a new calendar system for the group.

The new Innoruuk calendar system is written in WebObjects, hosted on a modest, single-processor intel PC running Linux, with a Postgres database back-end. "It took us about a week to get the first version." Wolfypaw says. "It's very snappy, and of course it looks pretty cool, too. Skyal did an awesome job making it look good."

Wolfypaw says that a number of new features were added to the system, too. "We didn't want to go to all that work and wind up with a faster version of a trivial scheduler. It couldn't even enforce the basic scheduling rules that the group agreed to, before."

The team added:

  • raid start times to the front calendar page
  • secure submission and editing of events (you can edit your event, but not somebody else's event)
  • error checking and scheduling rules enforcement
  • an administrator tool for the site moderator

In addition to a host of new features, the calendar response time is dramatically improved, says the group. "Page loads are normally under a second, now," according to Wolfypaw. The new admin tool enables off-site volunteers to share the administrative workload, too, and the site administrator doesn't need to edit with SQL statements anymore.

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