Spreading the News

Since we launched on Monday, we’ve seen a number of different ways people are getting the message out about WPD: blogs, news articles, tweets, press releases, and more. Alex Komoroske, Peter Lubbers, and Scott Rowe—all with Google—have put together a 30 minute video that’s a tour of our effort. This includes an overview of the site, a history of the content, instructions about getting started, possible future features, answers to viewers’ questions and much more. Take a look:

Have you used any unusual methods of telling friends and colleagues about WPD? Keep it legal, and keep it friendly, and let us know what weird ways you’re delivering the news about our site.

Building Web Platform’s Infrastructure

For the initial launch of Web Platform, we decided to go for an alpha release with a small and concrete set of platform goals. We used open source software, and we kept the initial set of applications small, to focus on preparing them to handle the initial launch load.

Applications targeted

The initial set of applications targeted were those that launched with the alpha: MediaWiki (docs), WordPress (blog),  Piwik (stats), Question2Answer (talk/forums), qwebirc (talk/chat), and LumberJack (chat logging). The first four are PHP applications, qwebirc is Python, and LumberJack is Python, PHP, and JavaScript.

Scaling targets

Our upper-bound targets for launch day were:

  • 100,000 visitors
  • 200 anonymous requests per second
  • 10 logged-in requests per second.

Our use case assumes 95+% of requests will be reads.

We wanted to be well-prepared for whatever the Internet would throw at us.

Launch statistics

Our actual statistics for the launch day were:

  • 86,000 visitors
  • 720,000 page views
  • 300 requests per second during the US peak
  • 350 requests per second during the Europe peak.

Our application servers combined CPU load was steady between 10-20%. Memory usage was steady between 20-30%. Database wait-io (the only statistic that really showed a blip) was between 5-10%. The storage servers showed no statistics worth mentioning.

Here’s how we managed this…

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One Small Step

Welcome to WebPlatform.org.

This site is really just the starting point for great things to come.  The goal of this site is to be the place to come for answers to your trickiest (and simplest) development and design questions about the Open Web Platform.

For years, web developers have had to rely on multiple sites to help them learn web programming or design, each with one piece of the puzzle. Great sites appear, covering one or two subjects, but too often fail to keep up with the rapid pace of changes to the web platform. This may have been good enough when the web was just simple HTML, basic CSS, and maybe a little JavaScript, but that was a long time ago. Today’s web is more than just documents, it’s applications and multimedia, and it’s changing at a breakneck pace.

WebPlatform.org will have accurate, up-to-date, comprehensive references and tutorials for every part of client-side development and design, with quirks and bugs revealed and explained. It will have in-depth indicators of browser support and interoperability, with links to tests for specific features. It will feature discussions and script libraries for cutting-edge features at various states of implementation or standardization, with the opportunity to give feedback into the process before the features are locked down. It will have features to let you experiment with and share code snippets, examples, and solutions. It will have an API to access the structured information for easy reuse. It will have resources for teachers to help them train their students with critical skills. It will have information you just can’t get anywhere else, and it will have it all in one place.

But it doesn’t. Not yet. Right now, it has a wiki, docs.webplatform.org, which anyone with an account can edit, and structured templates for ensuring consistency. It has a massive import of data from Microsoft, Opera, Google, Facebook, Mozilla, Nokia, Adobe, and W3C, still in a rough form, that needs a lot of polishing. It has a chat channel and Q&A forums, and a blog. And all this material will be available free, for anyone to use for any purpose.

This is an alpha release. There is much to do, and we think that the best way to achieve our goal of a comprehensive, up-to-date, and useful site is to enable the entire community to shape it, to meet our needs together. So in the spirit of “release early, release often”, we decided to announce the site at the earliest possible point, and improve it in public… with the web community.

This site has the backing of some of the biggest players on the Web: Adobe, Apple, Facebook, Google, HP, Microsoft, Mozilla, Nokia, and Opera. These organizations are stewards for the project, enabling W3C to convene the community and grow the site. Beyond their strong organizational commitment, dedicated individuals from these organizations have invested time to make this happen. Moving forward, it will likewise be dedicated individuals –hopefully including you– who help keep the site up to date, make sure that the information is pragmatic and useful, that the features meet real-world needs, and that people find the help they are looking for.

The stewards, those organizations who have put so much into this so far, are going to keep putting people, content, money, and effort into the site. But they are doing so as peers, with the same privileges available to anyone else who builds up trust and becomes a site admin.

Over the next few months, we will be asking extraordinary members of the community to help lead teams that will tackle particular challenges, whether that is creating new content to strengthen a particular topic, or helping translate the site into their local language, or patrolling the site for outdated, erroneous, or biased content.

Web Platform Docs is the first, and most important piece, of WebPlatform.org. We are here to help you, and to ask for your help to take this giant leap forward for the Web.