Category Archives: Uncategorized

Exercising our infrastructure

Hi everyone. Unfortunately, yesterday evening the server responsible for our User database suffered a hard drive failure. Database fail-safes kicked in and kept all accounts online and accessible. However, custom themes which are stored as separate meta data needed to be restored and imported separately, making themes appear reset until the data was restored this morning.

While we were thrilled that the site survived the crash, we were very disappointed with the time needed to restore custom themes. As engineers who take a tremendous amount of pride in our work, we are meticulous in ensuring the reliability of our products. This particular delay was the result of our misunderstanding how the user database storage engine (InnoDB) interacted with our incremental back-ups. What should have been a 30-minute recovery kept all of us up until 4AM. Huge thanks to brilliant team at Rackspace (Will Kelly is our hero), and the impeccable Marco Arment.

As always, it breaks our hearts to inconvenience our users. And we’re putting more measures in place to ensure the reliability of our service.

Thank you for your continued support and understanding while we continue to expand our infrastructure. April will be bringing some very cool updates to Tumblr.

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Emergency server maintenance

I’m afraid our User database has suffered a hard crash and is in the process of being restored. Access was not affected, although custom themes will appear reset until the import is complete. Please avoid editing your theme until then.

Our deepest apologies for the inconvenience.

– Marco

We almost had nice weather

Hey folks! Sorry for the slow week. I’ve been battling the flu. But Marco’s been holding down the fort and we did get a few cool things out the door today.

Link Descriptions

Add a description

Probably our second most requested feature. You’ll now see a link to “Add a description” when adding a new Link Post from either the publisher or bookmarklet. This will pop open a field to edit the link’s description.

To anyone using custom themes, you can add the descriptions by putting this inside the Link-block:

{block:Description}
{Description}
{/block:Description}

Quote Size Tweaks

After some great feedback, you guys steered us to thinking that explicitly applying a span-class to Quotes is pretty inflexible behavior. It also doesn’t account for things like adding quote-characters (“) to the beginning/end.

So instead, we now send a variable {Length} inside the Quote-block. It uses the same values we had been sending as the Quote’s span-class. So {Length} will be set to either “short”, “medium”, or “long”, depending on the length of the Quote.

If you’ve already applied dynamic quote sizes in your custom theme, the easiest way restore them is to wrap the variable {Quote} in a span like: <span class=”{Length}”>{Quote}</span>

Sorry to waffle on you. We hate making operating changes to theme rendering, but we wanted to nip this in the bud and implement quote sizes gracefully.

New Import TypesNew Ways To Import Feeds

If you check out the Import Feeds panel, you’ll now see two more ways to import posts.

Links with descriptions” imports RSS posts as Links with the new description field set to their body contents. Works great with Delicious feeds.

YouTube Videos” will grab tagged YouTube videos, or videos belonging to a YouTube user, and import them as embedded videos for playback on your tumblelog. You can learn more about YouTube RSS feeds here.

Bookmarklet V3

Thanks to tons of great feedback and suggestions, today we were able to make the Tumblr Bookmarklet a whole lot cooler.

Bookmarklet V3

The most apparent difference is the ability to change which type of post you’re creating. Now if you want to link to a photo instead of posting it, you can click the “Link” tab. Or, if you want to use the selected text inside a Regular Post instead of a Quote, just click “Regular”. This also lets you do things like enter Photos or Video embeds from any site on the web. Auto-detect still works the same, and the bookmarklet will automatically grab Flickr photos, YouTube videos, Quotes, etc.

There’s also a really nifty new interface on the “Photo” tab. Now, if you click “Photo” on any page where we’re not sure which image you want, the bookmarklet displays a thumbnail of EVERY image on the page. Just click the one you want and save.

Some of the new things you can do:

  • Post a video embed from any site on the web
  • Select text on a page to appear inside a Regular Post
  • Add a description to Link posts
  • Link to a photo or video instead of posting it directly
  • Post a photo from any page on the web (no need to open it in its own window)

We’ve also added auto-detect support for Metacafe videos.

Have a great weekend everyone! Marco’s headed to Long Island, and I’m snowed-in watching Casino Royale.