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getpersonas.com: where it’s from, where it’s going

getpersonas.com was started as a labs project in 2008. The plan was to get a website up and running to show off what lightweight themes were and see if they got any traction. If the site became popular, we’d merge it in to AMO in six or ten months and everyone would go back to working on other things. Ha.

As is all too common, way leads on to way, and now here we are three years later. getpersonas.com has become a juggernaut of 3000x200px free expression on the web. There are over 1.25 million registered users on the site, 400,000 personas, and a half million hits a day. The site was built with scaling in mind and, honestly, has needed relatively little attention.

On the other hand, the site lost its owners and maintainers last year. Deb stepped up with some awesome volunteers and contractors to fix minor issues but there are no dedicated developers to keep the site fresh. The web security bounty program late last year wasn’t kind to the old code, and any time devoted to the site turned in to trudging through old PHP code to solve overlooked problems from long ago.

We’ve decided that this is the year to finally replace the precarious cron job synchronizing the getpersonas.com and AMO databases for the past 18 months and finally migrate the site to AMO completely. This is no small undertaking, but we’ve had a lot of time to think about it. ;)

I wrote a migration plan a few weeks ago as a general guide. The searching and listing pages are already at parity with getpersonas.com. The reviewer and author functionality will be added shortly – and if you read the bugs and look at the mockups you’ll see it’s greatly improved. This is a mutually beneficial migration; the personas will be able to leverage AMO features like statistics reporting and collections, and AMO will get a fresh look at reviewing user submitted content and an influx of creative designers.

I snuck in to a personas planning meeting last week and I saw a lot of fun stuff in the pipeline for personas. I’m happy to say migrating them onto AMO will give everyone the server and developer resources to get that new stuff out the door. This will get underway in Q3 of this year.

{ 3 } Comments

  1. Barry | April 12, 2011 at 10:35 pm | Permalink

    Yessss

  2. Otto de Voogd | April 13, 2011 at 12:04 am | Permalink

    Great news!

    One thing I never really liked on the getpersonas.com site, is the way search results are ranked. They are ranked by age, with oldest personas first, instead of by popularity (number of users). This is one thing that maintains a bias towards older personas.

    Since you say that “The searching and listing pages are already at parity with getpersonas.com. ” I am a bit worried that we are going to keep the same search ranking system on AMO as we did on Getpersonas. I hope I am wrong.

  3. Wil Clouser | April 13, 2011 at 12:18 am | Permalink

    One thing I never really liked on the getpersonas.com site, is the way search results are ranked. They are ranked by age, with oldest personas first, instead of by popularity (number of users). This is one thing that maintains a bias towards older personas.

    Since you say that “The searching and listing pages are already at parity with getpersonas.com. ” I am a bit worried that we are going to keep the same search ranking system on AMO as we did on Getpersonas. I hope I am wrong.

    “at parity or better” would be more appropriate, I guess. AMO does not use the same ranking algorithm as getpersonas. If you do a search on AMO you’ll see 5 sorts at the top of the results:

    Keyword match – this is the search engine making its best guess
    Newest – show add-ons created most recently
    Updated – show add-ons updated most recently
    Rating – This is a complex algorithm to determine a sort based on user rating. See the equation here for an explanation: http://www.thebroth.com/blog/118/bayesian-rating
    Popularity – This is a sort based on the number of times the add-on has been downloaded in the past week

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