Rebel Insights

RebelMouse Q4 2021 Platform Performance Updates

RebelMouse Q4 2021 Platform Performance Updates

Click here to read our Q3 2021 platform performance updates.

Click here to read our Q2 2021 platform performance updates.

Click here to read our Q1 2021 platform performance updates.

RebelMouse said goodbye to 2021 with a celebration of our commitment to powering the fastest sites on the web. Our prioritization of user experience and page speed allowed us to outperform our competitors on Core Web Vitals the entire year, and we’ve got the data to prove it. Check out HTTP Archive’s Core Web Vitals Technology Report for 2021 into January 2022:

We invested 2,245 hours into our platform in Q4 2021 alone, and all of the sites on our platform benefited from the work in various ways. Here are the key areas that we focused on:

  • 489 hours spent on delivering new features
  • 627 hours spent on improving existing features
  • 1,129 hours spent on performance and infrastructure updates

Performance Improvements

Smart, High-Performance Cache for Long-Tail Pages

RebelMouse has always been highly optimized for high-traffic pages that CDNs can cache globally. But we have had slower response times for pages that are not at all popular as part of a site’s long tail. We dynamically assemble pages server-side, which is very powerful and provides tremendous opportunities to do smart features that process complex features with conditionals in code.

We are proud to use best-in-class open source technologies to make this possible. The core technologies include:

Kubernetes Data Warehouse

As part of the long-tail caching project, we’ve developed a Kubernetes-driven cluster that can auto scale to meet demand for a massive data warehouse in an elegant way.

Click here to read more about Kubernetes.

Prometheus Integration

Prometheus is a power-monitoring solution that allows us to have instant alerts based on data thresholds for a more stable environment. This is part of upgrades to keep our stability at an incredibly high, world-class level while maintaining a continuous iteration environment. Click here to learn more.

Deeper Support for Traffic Mirroring and Splits

We’ve increased our capacity to do traffic splits and mirrors at an infrastructure level. This is very important for two main business objectives: A stable, fast, and continuous deployment environment, and a systematic way to collect multivariate test data to compare performance.

When we deploy new features, they are first released to a cluster that is only handling a very small percentage of traffic. Then, we monitor performance to avoid disasters such as bad code that is only exposed under traffic. We also have tied everything to custom Google Analytics segments so that we can study the behavioral impact of new performance features in depth. Look out for some case studies we’ll be releasing in early 2022 that show how much performance improvements can impact a digital business.

Amazon DocumentDB Integration

DocumentDB from Amazon is a fantastic, modern solution for scaling JSON workloads. JSON is a critical data format that is used across the open web and in the RebelMouse platform to deliver data for rendering engines and APIs. We’ve integrated with our AWS Mongo cluster so that it is already in production. Click here to find out more about the technology here.

Kibana Integration for Data Warehouse

Kibana is an open user interface that lets you visualize your Elasticsearch data and navigate the Elastic Stack. We tracked query load to understand the way requests flow through the RebelMouse application and applied it to the new data warehouse project. Find out more about that here.

JestJS Snapshot Testing Integration

Snapshot tests are a very useful tool whenever you want to make sure your UI does not change unexpectedly.

A typical snapshot test case renders a UI component, takes a snapshot, and then compares it to a reference snapshot file stored alongside the test. The test will fail if the two snapshots do not match. This means either the change is unexpected, or the reference snapshot needs to be updated to the new version of the UI component.

This integration is an upgrade to our automated QA and continuous deployment process. Click here to learn more.

ProseMirror Integration

We are working on using best-in-class multi-user collaborative editing tools, and have made significant progress on ProseMirror. Rich content editors should ideally produce clean, semantically meaningful documents while still being easy for users to understand. ProseMirror tries to bridge the gap between editing explicit, unambiguous content like Markdown or XML, and classic WYSIWYG editors.

It does this by implementing a WYSIWYG-style editing interface for documents more constrained and structured than plain HTML. You can customize the shape and structure of the documents your editor creates, and tailor them to your application's needs. Click here to learn more about ProseMirror.

Signed Exchanges Integration

Google recently released a new product that allows them to precache results from search, delivering a faster experience for users, and potentially in the future giving those URLs an advantage in search results. We are studying data on performance and are considering a full platform release of this in Q1 2022. Read more about it here.

Improve Instagram and TikTok Embeds for Core Web Vitals

TikTok and Instagram are very popular sources of embeds for media websites. But they almost always create CLS penalties that lead to poor experiences and bad Core Web Vitals scores on articles that include them. We’ve taken the same approach as our Twitter and YouTube integrations so that we server-side render an embed, measure the height of it, store it server-side, and then pass it to the front-end code to avoid any CLS penalties.

Learn more about Core Web Vitals here.

Custom Dashboards Upgrades

We are very proud of how customizable the RebelMouse platform is, and we are always making further progress on creating customizations that can work in a secure and stable continuous deployment environment. We’ve dedicated significant engineering resources to create the following types of customizations for dashboards on any site:

  • Filter/Sort posts in the Post Dashboard by multiple site-specific fields in combination with other filters
  • Filter/Sort posts in the Post Dashboard by pageviews in combination with other filters
  • Filter/Sort authors in the Post Dashboard by the number of published posts
  • Filter/Sort authors in the Post Dashboard by the date of the last published post
  • Filter/Sort “Scheduled for Publishing” drafts in the Post Dashboard among other posts
  • Filter posts by an intersection of sections, both in the Post Dashboard and on Public Pages
  • Filter posts by phrase and order by relevance in combination with other filters, both in the Post Dashboard and on Public Pages
  • Filter posts by permission to view them without a paywall
  • Filter users by permission to modify them by the current use

Upgrade to Ubuntu Version 18.04

Ubuntu is an open source operating system that most modern web servers are running on. To keep optimal performance and security, we spent time upgrading to 18.04. You can find more about it in Ubuntu’s release notes here.

Easy Delete for Copyright Notices

We upgraded our asset manager core software so that it's easy to get a direct link to the media library version of any image, and then delete the file from all places on your site. This is vital to take fast action on copyright notices, and now no longer requires contacting us to take action on your behalf. Simply use the revamped UX to find and delete images as needed. Click here to learn more about this feature.

Upgrades to Entry Editor

We’ve made over 20 upgrades to Entry Entry to allow for faster speed, better stability, and enhanced features for editorial teams. The most significant was resolving potential bugs when embedding social media in posts. We've also integrated better upgrades for short codes, linked images into the media library in a simpler way, and performed massive upgrades to the customization possibilities for Entry Editors. Additionally, we've greatly improved the depth of automated testing for QA releases of new code.

RebelCare/Support Updates

  • First reply time is now under two hours
  • Time to solve a task has decreased
  • First FAQ published: "How to use Zendesk"
  • First NPS survey sent out to clients

Customer Success Updates

  • Introduced new monthly statements to provide additional transparency around how we are using your service hours.

Team Updates

We’ve added amazing talent to our team. The following new Rebels will help scale our ability to continuously update our platform while simultaneously delivering as a creative agency.

Creative Strategy Team

  • Veronica Torres Lugo, Account Manager
  • Marielisa Figuera Saggese, Account Manager

Services Delivery Team

  • Alina Kravchenko, Platform Engineer
  • Helio Inagake Toth Gonçalves, Head of Customer Support
  • Turabi Ozturk, Project Manager

HR Team

  • Manuel Felipe Castañeda Jaramillo, HR Analyst

Click here to read our Q3 2021 platform performance updates.

Click here to read our Q2 2021 platform performance updates.

Click here to read our Q1 2021 platform performance updates.

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Make sure your site is set up for success in 2022.

In the spring of 2020, Google let the world know that its Core Web Vitals would become the new benchmark for measuring a site's performance in its search results, known as the page experience update. Fast forward to more than a year later in August 2021 when, after much anticipation, Google's page experience update became official.

Since its rollout, developers have felt the impact of how their publishing platforms stack up against the new standard. Important decisions around the architecture of your site can now make or break your site's performance in the eyes of Google.

HTTP Archive, a tracking platform that crawls the web to identify trends and record historical patterns, frequently reports on how top content management systems (CMS) have weathered the page experience update through the creation of its Core Web Vitals Technology Report. RebelMouse has consistently outperformed major CMS platforms on Google's most critical metrics throughout the year:

Getting superior scores on Google's performance benchmarks isn't easy, either. The Ahrefs blog analyzed Core Web Vitals data from the Chrome User Experience Report (CrUX), which is data from actual Chrome users, to see how the web stacks up against Core Web Vitals. Their study found that only 33% of sites on the web are passing Core Web Vitals.

data from Ahrefs tracked on a line chart finds that shows only 33% of sites on the web pass Google's Core Web VitalsFrom Ahrefs.

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