CodePen search has recently gotten better!

Quick story first: we had a little unplanned downtime last week. It was ~18 minutes where the web servers were really struggling and most requests timed out or failed. It turns out that our search servers were the root cause. Sometimes a little on fire situation like that causes some unplanned development work, but ends up being of benefit to everyone after it’s done because it forces rethinking, upgrading, and attacking a problem fresh with new lessons learned. For one thing, no longer is it even possible for our search server to take down the site. A “circuit breaker” is now in effect for that and other similar dependencies. But we also took the opportunity to improve just about everything there is to improve about search.

Like any development work, some of it ends up being user-facing, and some of it has benefits that are

What else has improved from a user-facing perspective?

  • Speed! When you execute a search on CodePen, we have to send your request over to our search servers to work their magic and return results. This happens now faster than it ever has.
  • Better index! It’s leaner and meaner and a fresh re-indexing should yield better results.
  • Speaking of re-indexing, we’ve set ourselves up such that re-indexing is much easier for us to do. This means if we need to tinker with what is indexed and how, we can do that more swiftly.

Now here’s the most important thing about this blog post: we’d love some feedback around search from you! Any feedback regarding search is useful, but I’m particularly interested in when you don’t find something you are looking for, but feel like you should. Feel free to shoot that feedback to with a search query and what you thought you should have found.