The Robot Co-op

43Places goes offline to prepare for a new 43Places

March 31, 2010 · 13 Comments

We are going to take offline for most of the day today while we work to rollout a new set-up for 43places. We aim to be back by 6 pm PST. The new site starts out looking much the same with one exception: lists. But under the hood a lot has changed.

So what’s new? Out of the gate, the changes are mostly in the infrastructure. All of the Robot Co-op sites were built around a shared database and at various times were cached and served collectively. This new 43places is running on a different set of hardware, with a different database, making it almost fully separate from the other sites. For users, we hope this means no difference. But for the Co-op, it has been a good chunk of work to allow it to get to this more flexible and independent set-up. Moreover, we’ve chosen to go forward with a hosting set-up that operates “in the cloud”. We are serving the whole site from EC2 webservers and the RDS database in the sky.

So what’s else? Well as we said in a previous post, we are moving the travel lists that lived on over to We think this will lead to more list building greatness and we’ve got a few new features for lists (like voting and new display formats). When the site is back up, check out a few lists, like:

  • “New York Times” 31 Places to Go in 2010
  • BBC’s 50 places to see before you die
  • Everybody Hates A Tourist: USA Edition
  • With the new infrastructure work done, we are looking forward to getting more new features out that make 43Places a useful and fun place for travel enthusiasts. And with these back-end improvements, we’ll now be able to work quicker on launching new features.

    With all this change, there are bound to be bugs and some half baked ideas exposed. As always let us know about them. With the move of the lists, there might be a week or so when some lists aren’t yet showing up on 43Places, but we will be working to get them there as soon as we can.

    Thanks everybody!

    Categories: Uncategorized

    13 responses so far ↓

    • sipes23 // April 3, 2010 at 9:29 am | Reply

      The place lists being over at 43places makes good sense. I like the big thumbnail images. The list hiding out on the page it pertains to is also *very* cool. It’s all kind of exciting. They’re new all over again.

      Will the ability to switch between the thumbnail view and list view, like the list of places, be enabled? That would be handy for some of the longer lists.

      Will the functionality, for lack of a better term, green/pink/white flags on lists I’m working on return?

      Or am I just too impatient to see what’s going to happen? (And why wouldn’t I be? This is cool stuff.)

    • apartmentcat // April 5, 2010 at 4:47 pm | Reply

      I’ve just checked out the new places list formats, too. Having the white/green/pink colour scheme just like it is on Lists of Bests would be fantastic. So satisfying! Being able to clearly see where you’ve gone without having to mouse over each picture makes a lot of sense.
      Also, will I have to go through and re-tick all of my completed items on my lists, or will they pop up at some point?
      Also impatient and hoping to be excited!

      • Laurel Fan // April 6, 2010 at 2:50 pm | Reply

        apartmentcat and sipes23,

        At this very moment we are working on a way to show which places you are going to/have been when you’re looking at a place list, so stay tuned…

        The places you have already checked off are still there (you should be able to see them when you mouse over the place on the list, and also on the list of all places you’ve been on your profile page).

        Thanks for checking things out, we’re excited too!

    • vex // April 13, 2010 at 4:41 am | Reply

      Hmmm, I’ve noticed my entries on 43Places aren’t showing up in my 43Things feed anymore. Could this be due to the changes?

    • Joe // April 14, 2010 at 11:35 am | Reply

      Hi Vex,

      Yes, this was one of the downsides to the new 43places system. Fixing feeds is on our to-do list and we’ll get it taken care of as soon as we can.


    • Ninja Neko // April 17, 2010 at 10:05 am | Reply

      Hi Robots, I’m not able to change the order on my places lists anymore. It was very easy to do this on listsofbests, so some of that old functionality would be great to have here too. That ‘see the bests’ feature where you could see what the most popular ‘country visited’ etc was, was also very cool.
      Also, I wanted to notify you that problems have not been processed for the last week, everything seems to be stuck in ‘pending’ status. Thanks!

    • Joe // April 19, 2010 at 4:38 pm | Reply

      Ninja, thanks for letting us know about the problems with problems! We have a script that cleans up the ‘pending’ ones, but there’s a bug in it. We’ll take a look at it ASAP.

      As for reordering Places, that’s a great idea! We’ll add it to our list.

    • Todd Schoonover // April 19, 2010 at 8:07 pm | Reply

      Hi Gang,
      Just checked out the new version of the site and like some of the changes, and have some suggestions as usual.

      One thing a number of us have noticed is that the site now says that we’ve added zero places when we have added dozens, in some case hundreds of places. Was this data lost in the migration so that all existing places are no longer the creation of the individual users but now generic 43Places?

      On the list view of my places, I can see that I’ve received cheers on them and when I click on it, it pops up a view of the five most recent. Any plans to be able to let us see them all? (I know I already prodded you via email about letting us see both our full received and given cheer list here again).

      How about some date functionality for planning trips to places, kind of like how you have the 2010 goal for 43Things?

      I haven’t tried doing it yet, but I would love it if when you mark that you’ve been to a lower level location, it automatically marked you as having been to every place in the hierarchy.

      I ditto the request to be able to change the order of my places I want to visit list.

      Thanks again for all you do.

    • Todd Schoonover // April 19, 2010 at 8:27 pm | Reply

      Oops, I see I can change the order of my Places when I’m in list view. Thanks.

      How are the number of questions answered calculated? And why is there not a link to show those? I don’t think I’ve answered that many questions, though I have asked quite a few and commented to responses that I asked. I’m guessing the count includes questions I’ve asked, answered and commented on.

    • Dan // May 1, 2010 at 10:44 am | Reply

      One thing you got rid of that was very handy, letting the number code of the place find the name of it when you add to a list.

      Today I added Henry Wadsworth-Longfellow House in Portland. I used to be able to browse easier from Portland into downtown, but being downtown there are many of them and there is only one page of choices, so I couldn’t get to Portland from there.

      So I added it to the site itself and then came back to my list, but now the list wouldn’t find Longellow’s house the text search.

      The old number trick doesn’t work anymore so I couldn’t just paste from the URL.

      So I actually told it to add a new place again and told it where it was (inside Maine Historical Society) and then it linked up just fine.

      That worked this time around but it may lead to duplicates if theres any accidental difference in the names.

      Are you guys developing anything for remote check-ins?

      You thought of this location based web stuff way before foursquare but it’s overtaken this site in number of users, which is a shame because this is designed way better.

    • Ninja Neko // May 7, 2010 at 5:35 am | Reply

      Hi Robots,
      I’ve found another weird problem on 43places. When you click ‘browse’ under a country or major city (like Paris for instance) a bunch of places that were already merged are showing up. At first I thought somebody was creating new places and started merging them, but after merging they all remain in the ‘browse’ view. then I noticed places with entries from 2007 that I knew were already processed before, and some even had a notice in the upper right hand corner saying ‘merged into cityabc by xxx 9 months ago’.
      This is making hierarchical browsing a bit difficult :) .

    • Joe // May 10, 2010 at 12:04 pm | Reply

      Hey Ninja,

      Thanks for letting us know. I can see the problem you’re talking about (e.g. “Catacombs” vs “Catacombs of Paris”). Looks like a bug in the way we merge places. I’ll look into it.


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