Improved performance and a free iPhone app at Go Game Guru

People who visit Go Game Guru frequently, might have noticed our new design over the last few days.

Hopefully you’ve also noticed that the site is loading much faster than before. We’ve been busy upgrading our site recently, including enhancing the mobile version of the website for people who browse using their phones.

Benefits for Go Game Guru readers

Some of our readers won’t want to hear the details about improvements we’ve made to the site, so here’s the short version… Go Game Guru is now:

  • Easier to use – with better navigation and fewer distractions
  • Easier to read – with larger fonts, which are optimized for screen reading
  • Faster to load – there’s less stuff to download and the important stuff loads quickly
  • More secure – the site has been hardened against hackers and spammers
  • Easier to maintain – so I can spend less time hacking at code and more time writing about Go
  • Ready to be extended – with several exciting announcements to come later this year…

Simpler design

With the re-design of the site, we’ve gone for a simpler and cleaner look. We wanted to put the emphasis on the content and remove some of the distracting elements from our pages.

As a side benefit, the site will also load faster now, even without the other improvements we’ve done.

It’s a basic principle of Go that straightforward, simple moves are usually better. We thought that Go Game Guru should also follow this principle.

Performance enhancements

Go Game Guru is joining Sun Wukong (Monkey Magic) on the cloud

With increased numbers of readers visiting our site over the last couple of months, our small server has been creaking under the strain. If you noticed the site was getting slower, then you’re not alone.

We’ve started using some cloud based hosting with Go Game Guru to take some of the load off the server. It seems to be working well so far and things are loading much faster than before.

Obviously it’s hard for us to test the site from other countries, so if any readers would like to let us know what the performance is like for you, we’d really appreciate it.

We have been using tools like pingdom to test already, but they can’t really tell us what the actual user experience is like. Feel free to let us know what you think of the new design too!

Over the next few months we’ll continue to tweak the performance. Please let us know if you notice any problems with the site during this time.

Umm… what’s with the picture?

That’s Sun Wukong (aka Monkey Magic). He’s the hero in a classical Chinese epic called Journey to the West. He’s a cheeky monkey who became enlightened and mastered cloud travelling, among other things. Sorry, I know it’s a bad joke…

Improvements for smart-phone browsers

While we were doing all this, we also tweaked the mobile version of our website and finally got it all working properly. No matter which platform you’re using, it should be running and looking better now. If you can browse the internet on your phone, why not give it a try and let us know how it goes? Again, we would appreciate any feedback (good or bad).

Go Game Guru iPhone and iPad app

As part of upgrading the mobile version of our site, we’ve rolled out a web-app that you can install on your iPhone or iPod. If you have an iOS device, you can touch the + button on the bottom of Safari and add Go Game Guru to your home screen.

[Update: the iPhone app is no longer available because we’ve started working to make the whole website more accessible for mobile and tablet devices. Because of this there isn’t a need for a separate app anymore, you can just view the website in your browser.]

Have your say

As I’ve already said, any feedback that you care to give, good or bad, would help to guide us in the continued development of Go Game Guru. Thanks.

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About David Ormerod

David is a Go enthusiast who’s played the game for more than a decade. He likes learning, teaching, playing and writing about the game Go. He's taught thousands of people to play Go, both online and in person at schools, public Go demonstrations and Go clubs. David is a 5 dan amateur Go player who competed in the World Amateur Go Championships prior to starting Go Game Guru. He's also the editor of Go Game Guru.

You can follow Go Game Guru on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Youtube.

Comments

  1. Hi there! I am following you from France on Tweeter and the links usually do load quickly even on my iPhone. Keep up the good job!

    • tommyray says:

      @Mehdi
      “even on my iPhone” – is the iphone a low end device ;)?

      @David Ormerod
      There is still an issue with diagrams on mobile version of GoGameGuru, at least on iPhone – eidogo diagrams are trimmed on the right side. This issue is not happening on eidogo.com itself. It is not a big deal for me because I always download sgf file and play it through with SmartGo on iPhone, but if if you don’t have this app you’ll get some frustration trying to view all board in landscape mode where digrama is not trimmed but you don’t see the buttons below diagram (you need to scroll down to get them). I will send you an e-mail with screenshots.

      • David Ormerod says:

        And by the way, you have to post the image url (with file extension) rather than the link to the twitpic page (which is html) otherwise it won’t embed your image :(.

    • David Ormerod says:

      @Medhi
      Thanks, that’s good to know. 🙂

      @Tommyray
      It happens because the iPhone doesn’t allow zooming out (Android does). Previously I couldn’t even get EidoGo to load properly on iOS, so at least you can see the board now. I will have a look at how eidogo.com is doing it, thanks for the tip. In general, I think it may need some modifications for mobile, e.g. tap anywhere on the board to go forwards one move, or something like that (as well as sizing the board properly, of course).

  2. Can’t find the app, what is it called?

    • tommyray says:

      Just use Safari on iPhone and tap icon in bottom middle of navigation bar, then choose “add as Icon” or something like that. you will get an WebApp on your springboard.

    • David Ormerod says:

      That’s right, when you’re on the mobile version of the page: press ‘+’ and then “Add to Home Screen”.

      The first time you visit the mobile optimized site with a compatible device, you should get a small popup at the bottom of your screen explaining how to install the web-app. Did you get these instructions? The mobile version of the site should load automatically if you’re browsing using a phone.

  3. Thanks for putting the hot links back up.

    • David Ormerod says:

      David, no problem. We put a lot of work into usability this time. I hope that it’s making things easier. Those category links (that’s what you’re talking about right – Go News, Study Go etc) got left out in the initial migration because I didn’t want the site to be down for too long. I’ve tweaked various things since the new site went live and things seem to be running smoothly now.

  4. brandon says:

    Any way we might be getting a droid app too? i’ve got a nice custom g tablet that’s hungry for go apps!

    😛

    • David Ormerod says:

      Brandon, it looks doable. The difficulty isn’t in making the app, but making sure it all works properly with our existing setup. I’ve got it on my to-do list ;).

      Right now I’m working on some new articles including some for beginners, and I really want to finish those first.

  5. Tommyray says:

    “It happens because the iPhone doesn’t allow zooming out (Android does)” – David, take a look at Ars Technica web app – there is zoom in and zoom out – maybe they used some special tesuji you could use too 😉

  6. Michael says:

    I just found your site and I love it. What I really miss badly here is a date for every published article. This way one doesn’t know when something was published and how fresh it is. I believe it shouldn’t be too hard to put the article publishing date in the article list and the article itself. Other than that thank you very much for this quality site!

    • David Ormerod says:

      Michael, thanks for the encouragement. It’s so nice to hear that people appreciate what we’re doing. Regarding the date, I’ll be working on it add that soon when I have time.

      • Flandre says:

        Like this would be ideal I think:
        [img]http://s1.ipicture.ru/uploads/20110523/G3TeTVTW.jpg[/img]
        Thanks for your advices about tesuji, by the way. ;-o

        • Uberdude says:

          Echoing these comments, I was looking at some of the old articles from before I had the pleasure to discover gogameguru and it would be nice to have dates.