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Weather forecast image speed improved.
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ChicagoFun has always tried to avoid having offsite content directly displayed on our pages. ChicagoFun of course links to everything, but technically, ChicagoFun avoids IMAGE tags pointing to remote servers. This means that images such as banners, advertising and fliers are typically copied to ChicagoFun and served from there. The primary reason is that other servers have proven far less reliable then the ChicagoFun server, so inclusion of offsite images almost inevitably slows down any ChicagoFun pages on which they appear. The one exception we have long had to make is the weather forecast image which appears on EVERY ChicagoFun page. Unfortunately, even this weather service server is often slow or even down. This formerly resulted in ChicagoFun pages frequently being slowed down dramatically by browsers waiting for the weather forecast image to finish loading, or somethimes even showing a broken image link red X symbol in place of the forecast image.
Now, ChicagoFun has been programmed to update this weather forecast image as a background process on our server, storing a cached copy locally. This local copy is now shown on all ChicagoFun pages instead of linking to the remote image. The result is that pages are never delayed due to the slow weather server. Furthermore, the cached copy is not overwritten if the weather system is down or temporarily unavailable. So no matter what the weather forecast image is displayed, though in a worst case it may become out of date by up to a few hours if the weather server is down.

2001.10.09