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Even faster online manuals through caching

January 13th, 2021

As promised, we have just implemented further performance improvements for the live online manuals.
Rendered HTML versions of your topics are now cached on our servers, which means the topic content can be shown instantly. Browsing your online manual is now faster than ever!

The effect of these changes will be most noticeable on long topics with more complex layout.


Faster browsing of online manuals

December 23rd, 2020

Some performance optimizations today. We were able to optimize the code that “renders” topics in your live online manuals, which has resulted in topics loading quite a bit faster. This is especially noticeable on long topics with a more complex layout.

Also, we changed the way the new topic loads when navigating to a different topic using the Table of Contents. Previously, the topic content area was blanked out while the new topic loaded, which caused a “flashing” behaviour. Now, the old topic content is greyed out a bit, with a nice loading animation. Makes it feel smoother and snappier too.

BTW: more performance optimizations for the live manuals are coming up early January 2021!

Even faster manuals: all images now “lazy loaded”

June 29th, 2020

We’re always looking to improve the loading speed of the online manuals, to make navigating them as “snappy” as possible.

The next step we made in this area is the “lazy loading” of all included images. Images are now only loaded as they come into view. In other words, images at the top of the image (and in view) and loaded instantly, but others further down the page are only loaded “as needed”, when they are scrolled into view.

This makes the navigating between topics even snappier than before, especially on mobile devices and on slower connections.

Faster online manuals / scrollable ToC panel

June 24th, 2020

In the past few weeks, we have been working on a major overhaul of the code that renders the live online manuals, to make them faster and to resolve the most commonly reported user interface annoyance.

These changes will make browsing the online manuals a much faster and more pleasant experience.

Faster browsing of the online manuals

Basically, the main change here is that when clicking a link to a different topic (either from the Table of Contents of using a link inside topic contents), it does not do a full page re-load anymore. It now only loads the content of the new topic into the content panel on the right.

Because of this change, the ToC does not have to be 1. re-generated by our server and 2. downloaded to your browser, making the loading of the new topic much faster, especially for manuals with lots of topics. Another big advantage of this is change is that you don’t lose your place / scroll position in the ToC.

Table of Contents panel can now be scrolled separately

Up till now, the ToC panel has always been “locked” to the content panel, always scrolling together. With this overhaul, we finally resolved that common complaint.

The Table of Contents panel can now be scrolled independently of the topic content AND it retains its scroll position when navigating to a different topic!


Faster loading of topics with (lots of) images

June 16th, 2016

Another performance improvement for the live manuals.
We found that topics including images experienced a slight delay before they started loading. I won’t bother you with the details, but it was related to fetching the image sizes.

Our system now caches this information, making the loading of image-heavy topics much faster.

Faster loading of live manuals

March 2nd, 2016

We never stop trying to make our stuff faster 🙂

Today we completely rewrote all database queries that are used to load the Table of Contents of your manuals. Browsing a live manual is now Slightly Snappier™. The improvement is especially noticeable on manuals with many topics.

This optimized queries are now also used in your admin system, but the difference will be less noticeable there.

New hosting solution results in even faster manuals

August 27th, 2015

Manula is growing and growing. More customers publishing online manuals and a lot more readers visiting all these online manuals.

To be able to deal with the increased load on our server, we have moved it to a new hosting solution last Monday.
A dedicated high-end web-server, with a separate server for the database.

Looking at our server monitoring tools, response times have dropped about 30 to 40 percent!


Next step: a faster solution for serving all manual images.

Faster image downloads through Amazon Cloudfront

January 18th, 2015

We have been experimenting with Amazon Cloudfront for Manula for a few months already, but today we switched over permanently. As of today, all images in your manuals are delivered through Amazon’s Cloudfront world-wide content delivery network.

This will result in faster downloads of all manual images for your readers. Once an image has been cached by a Cloudfront server near your (or your reader’s) location, it will be served super fast to other users in the same area.

Nothing to do on your end, just enjoy the performance improvements.

Faster Image Manager screen

January 7th, 2015

For some users, those with LOTS of images in their account, the Image Manager was getting slower and slower. The main cause for this was the Image Manager loading the full size original images into the screen.

We have now updated our image storage system to automatically generate and deliver thumbnail versions of your images, so that the Image Manager will open much faster.



Improved caching of live manual pages

October 15th, 2014

Some small performance improvements for the live manuals have been implemented today. The topic pages now have the correct “Last Modified” headers and now respond to “If-Modified-Since” requests, resulting in proper caching behaviour in your browser.
We’re still optimizing the system, so more news on this later.

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