For the past few months, I’ve been spending nearly every free late-night minute working (finally) to rebuild The Archive of Misheard Lyrics from the ground up. The site had become very long in the tooth, and a total design embarrassment. Not to mention the fact that I’ve done virtually zero work to maintain the database itself over the past five years (and am now sitting on more than 60,000 unprocessed submissions!)
The idea was not to mention a word before the site was baked and ready to come out of the oven. Then, last night, received email from an old friend saying that kissthisguy had been linked to in a story on Slashdot. Argh! Why couldn’t they have waited two more weeks? Timing couldn’t have been worse: Had to teach a class in five minutes, then race home, wolf dinner, and attend a 2-hour meeting at the pre-school. Think fast.
Put up a note on the site asking Slashdot readers to come back in a bit, then realized this would be the perfect opportunity to stress-test the new site’s Smarty caching system (the caching system gives you the behavior of a dynamic site with the performance of a static site). Only trouble was, I hadn’t yet run the script I had written to batch-generate the index caches, which are the most resource-expensive pages to create.
Installed a redirect from the old site to the development domain, headed to class, and watched out of the corner of my eye as server load shot through the roof over the next 15 minutes. Then, gradually, the load started to decrease, as each index cache was created on its first request. It works!
Anyway, that’s not how I wanted it to unfold, but now that the cat’s out of the bag, I’ll leave the site in “beta” while I work out a few remaining bugs and get the advertising straightened out.
Aside from the new design, the most important new feature is voting – to improve the quality of the archive, I’m letting people judge lyrics as funny/not funny, so I can use queries to delete the duds and rise funniest lyrics to the top. Same principle allows users to help process the massive backlog. Also lots of deep links into the iTunes Music Store (some buggy behavior there), near-live statistics, and a much better mechanism for reporting lyric errors.
Let me know what you think!