Skip to main content

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.


Popular posts from this blog

Auto-update Copyright Year

This is one of those minor, recurring questions I'm always asked (each year): to update the copyright year in sites. Whether this is the "right thing" to do or not I don't know, but here is how you can make it automatic: First, go to the Variables page (these instructions are for Yahoo! Stores), and do a search for the word "copyright" or the year that's currently displayed next to your copyright message. If you can't find it there, chances are you have a custom template and the copyright message might be coming from some place else. In that case, you'll have to track it down, but because custom templates can be set up in any which way, unfortunately you'll be on your own. Assuming you found it, replace the year with this JavaScript code: <script>document.write(new Date().getFullYear())</script> Hit Update and you should be all set!

Pre-Season Checkup

With the holiday shopping season fast approaching it's a good idea to do a general checkup on your store to be sure it's ready for prime time. Below are a few things you would want to check, along with a few add-ons that are not too major in scope, but which are often neglected and give you an edge over your competition. Can you Search and Order? Every time we do anything major in a store we test two things: whether searching and adding to cart/ordering works. You can have nice, flashy pictures, cool animation effects, a very quick loading site, anything, but if the store search is broken or you can't add to the cart or can't check out then an ecommerce site is worth nothing. Can you Order? Chances are if your checkout was completely broken you'd know about it by now, but it doesn't have to be totally broken in order to scare away potential customers. So go ahead, go to your site and first do a search and make sure it works. Then, add one or more products

How to create clean and efficient CSS

In a typical workday, I deal with dozens of yahoo stores and very often I have to tweak, fix, or change CSS used by these stores. While some stores have very clean and easy to follow style sheets or CSS definitions, the vast majority of stores I've seen seem to include complete hack jobs, style sheets put together completely haphazardly, or as an afterthought. While working in such a store, the idea came to me to turn my gripes into a post. So the following is my list of dos and don'ts of good CSS or style design. 1. Externalize your style sheets. This means to save your style sheets into one or more css files, and link to them using the <link rel="stylesheet" type="text/css" href="/lib/yourstoreid/yourstyle.css"> notation, or in Editor V3.0, you can use the LINK operator. 2. Combine your style sheets into as few files as possible. Nothing worse than trying to wade through 6, 8, 10 or more different style sheets to find the color of a