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V8 -- Designing Pages for Authoring and Browsing Performance

Decisions you make about how to design your templates and pages can have significant impact on system performance when the page is viewed as published and when it is viewed while working on it.

While working on the page (either "My Changes" or "All Changes"), each CommonSpot element will have at least one tool icon (the "element properties" tool icon). Each tool icon has a menu; at least one un-cached database query by the CommonSpot server to its backend database machine is required in order to build each menu. Therefore, designing the template or page so as to minimize the number of CommonSpot tool icons will improve performance transitioning from View Page as Published to working on the page:

  • Use an image grid element where appropriate, instead of a table with one image per cell.

  • Combine adjacent images, text, and links into a Formatted Text Block ("FTB"). An excessively complex FTB may create difficulties for the Rich Text Editor; if that happens, one possibility is simply to split the content between two consecutive FTB elements: copy the FTB element, paste it in again, immediately after the existing copy, and then remove the second part of the material from the first FTB, and the first part of the material from the second FTB, leaving everything in one or the other, with no duplication, and no content missing.

  • Text-only images should almost always simply be text, for performance when loading the page and for readability on a wide range of desktop and mobile devices.

  • Organize your templates and pages to minimize the number of tables and the number of table cells, because you get an element layout properties icon table element properties icon (for the whole table), plus a cell properties icon cell properties tool icon for each cell of the table, plus the tool icons for each element in each cell. When possible, use row or column spanning (controlled through the cell properties menu), rather than tables-within-tables. This simplification will improve not only "Edit" and "Author" modes but also "Read" mode performance, because the HTML is more compact, and because the browser will be able to parse that HTML more rapidly.

  • Locking down templates to preserve element inheritance speeds authoring of derived templates and pages, because items that are locked-down in a template do not have CommonSpot tool icons when working on the pages or templates derived from the locked-down template.

  • Use dynamic elements (e.g., randomized photos) with caution. They will make your site "more interesting," but they will prevent caching of the page, and hence will seriously degrade system performance for viewing the pages as published and while working on them.

As a general rule, design choices for templates are especially significant in terms of reading and authoring performance, because multiple pages are likely to be built on each template. A modest change in system load per view for a template will be multiplied by however many pages are built on that template and its derived templates.