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The book swapping site I run – www.BookChain.co.uk – has relaunched!

What Is It?

Book Chain is a free book swapping site. Send books you’ve read to others; get sent books you want in return.

How Does It Work?

Once you’ve signed up you can start adding books you’ve read to your library. This lets other users know the books you’re willing to share. As soon as someone asks for one of your books, we’ll let you know. Each book you send earns credit; the more credit you earn, the more books you can receive.

Once you’ve earned credit add books you want to your wanted list. Then others can send you books you want to read!

What’s New?

The biggest difference is moving to new servers (more on that later). This has made the whole site much faster; as well as helped expose some horrible performance bugs.

Book Chain also integrates more closely with Facebook now. You can now “like” books on Book Chain to let your Facebook friends know books you’re willing to share.

To celebrate the relaunch we’re running a competition. One lucky person that posts a book between now and the end of the year will win £50 in Amazon vouchers! So sign up today and start swapping books!

New Hardware

After a long time running on a shared server, over the last couple of weeks I’ve moved Book Chain into the cloud with Elastic Hosts. Amazingly, for roughly the same price I was paying for my own Tomcat instance on a shared server, I now get my own virtual Ubuntu box, with way more memory and CPU than I had before! And not only do I get more bang for buck, with Elastic Hosts I can scale my hardware up and down as I need to.

How Much Better Is It?

Well as you can see from the red line in the performance graph below, from the 7th of November (after a bit of a shaky start while I ironed out some issues) mean response times have plummeted from anywhere between 2 and 4 seconds down to consistently under 100ms. Some of this was me fixing some absolutely horrific bugs (more on that in a future post!) – but much of this improvement was simply from moving to better hardware.

Book Chain performance over the last month

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