Aug 19, 2009

Thumbnail Previews of Templates

In our recent v4.3 upgrade, we started to replace all these little template thumbnails in the app:

old-teeny-tiny-thumbnails

with actual screenshots of your templates:

teeny-tiny-thumbnails-of-templates1

It’s a minor change, but it makes a major difference. Note that we’re not cropping them, so if you have an extreeeeemely long template, you’ll get an extreeemely long thumbnail. It’s something we’re still tinkering with, and could use some feedback on. Read more if you’re interested in how we’re doing this…

The process of generating screenshots actually started 3 days ago, and has not completed. So some of you will see the change, and some won’t. We’re using Amazon’s Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) to generate the screenshots.

They were initially running at 3 screenshots per minute, because we were only using 1 EC2 server for this. We’ve since spooled up a few more servers (5 total now), and we’re processing  about 23 screenshots per minute. We anticipate all accounts will be updated sometime next week.

Interesting sidenote: Amazon’s EC2 is amazingly cheap and useful, but we’re spending thousands of dollars per month experimenting with it (and other Amazon services) in the MailChimp Lab. So when our accountant got our first credit card bill with all these charges from "AMAZON" she asked me, "So um, exactly how many books are you buying from Amazon?"