Website Relaunch

Take a look around, we've been pretty busy. We've stripped out years of cruft so that we can deliver our Portland beer goodness cleanly, and at faster speeds. We've kept all of your favorite content, but we have also made some great changes:

  • We have removed the superfluous parts so that we can deliver the content to you, quickly and cleanly. These things included unnecessary bells and whistles that either got in the way or slowed the site down, non-optimized code, and redundant information.
  • We have removed all advertising. Instead, we will be proving you with ways to support the site through purchasing cool exclusive gear from us. We hope this model will be beneficial to both sides of the equation: you get cool stuff and no intrusive ads, and we get some money to help keep this site afloat.
  • We have integrated features to make our site more interactive. You can now interact with all of our Twitter feeds directly on our site.
  • We have temporarily disabled the beer ratings system.  This feature will be back within the next two weeks.

It's about to get really geeky around here though, so if you don't care about the coding, just take a look around the new site. Of course, if you have any suggestions, questions, or concerns, please let us know! If you're feeling brave, and know what all of the ones and zeros do, continue on.

The main impetus behind the redesign was to separate out the design and data layers. As the site has grown over the years, the two have become intertwined, creating sluggish response times and limiting our flexibility. By separating these layers, the site becomes much more modular and we can make changes and additions more easily. For the first step in this process, we've taken our huge database of Portland beer related objects and created a RESTful API, separate from our website. This API holds all of the beers, breweries, statistics, events, etc. Our site now holds no data, but rather makes calls to this API to get the data. This separation also allows us to use our beer data for things like our Android/iPhone apps. As we move formward, we will also be moving the API behind Varnish Cache, which is a caching HTTP reverse proxy. With several applications hitting the API, this process will be able to make the API lightning quick and the speed of the returned data will be much less dependent on website and app traffic. We will be making other  code changes to the site as we move forward. Right now, we're going to keep an eye on the response and render times of the site during different traffic loads to target our next updates. We have also initiated a rolling effort to keep everything as lean as possible and really think about how we implement new features. This should force us  to maintain high standards when we roll out new offerings.