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Clean out your Files Library

Does the time it takes to publish your store seem like an eternity? While a long publish time is usually caused by inefficiently written templates or very large number of pages in the store (or the combination of both), if you notice that the publish process seems to spend a lot of time at “Writing Library Files” or “Sending files to servers”, it may be time to do a “spring cleaning” in your files library.

The files library is kind of like a general storage bin in your store’s editor (which you can access from the Editor by clicking the “Files” button.) It’s typically used to store images, css, and javascript files used in your store’s HTML, however, nothing prevents you from storing other types of files there if you want to. And since it provides you with virtually unlimited storage, it’s easy to get carried away and start dumping all kinds of files there and forgetting about them over time. But storing all kinds of junk in your files library comes at a price.

When you hit the Publish button, the editor will first create the html pages. This can be quick, if you hit Publish Changes and you only have a few modified pages, or longer, if you click Publish All. Then the library files are written to the output queue. After that, the catalog is generated, and when it’s all done, all of this is sent out to the servers that are responsible for serving up your store pages when all those visitors come.

During the “Writing Library Files” phase a large number of files in your files library will slow things down because the publishing process has to compare every editor file to every published file to figure out what needs to be sent out. Then, in the “Sending files to servers” phase, if you have large files, those need to be copied to and resynched among servers, so that can slow things down as well. The bottom line is, the fewer files you have in your files library, and the smaller those files are the less likely they will slow your site’s publish time.

If you haven’t looked at the files in your Files library you are not alone. Most Yahoo Store merchants never do. But it may be worthwhile to take a look and get rid of files that you know for sure are not necessary. To do so, click on the “Files” button in your store editor. This will bring up all the files in your File library. Now click on the Size heading and click it one more time. This will sort all those files in descending order by their size. Look through a list (starting with the largest files) and check the date next to them. If they are several years old, chances are they are not needed. You can also click the file itself to look at its content. If you determine that a file is just old junk, put a checkmark next to it. Once you’ve gone through the list, click the “Delete” button to get rid of all the files you marked for deletion.

You can then re-sort the list by date, and look at the oldest files. See if any of those (regardless of their size) can be deleted.

Here is a word of caution though: just because a file doesn’t seem familiar to you it doesn’t mean it’s not being used in your store’s layout for example. When in doubt, leave the file alone. Only delete files you know for sure you don’t need.

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