The 'perpage' option

I hope I’m not out of line for bringing this up, but I was wondering about the effects on board performance of using the ‘perpage’ option in the url. This option allows you to load up the whole thread at once, rather than one page at a time, and therefore is quite handy when loading up a long thread without having to select ‘next page’ at the end of each page.

An example of the syntax is:

whereas the standard generated URL syntax is:

I would guess that this puts less strain on the server than loading each page as, for example, the page headers and footers only need to be loaded once. Also, there is only one incident of accessing the server, rather than several. I did a test on a four page thread to see which took longer, and curiously, the actual server processing time was identical (41 seconds) for both methods, however going one page at a time obviously took more time for me to do.

I’m assuming that most people who look at a thread want to read all of it, and once they’ve read up to a certain point can then read updates to it by selecting the latest page number, as usual.

If this is a good method to use, should it be publicised, or even added as an option (simply appending &perpage=999 to the end of the URL should do it).

Of course, it’s only helpful if you intend to read a thread of more than 50 posts from beginning to end. I don’t know about you, but that doesn’t happen often with me. More typically, I only want to read, say, posts 112-117. In this case, it’s better to have it set to 50 per page and just go to page 3. Or even better still to have it set to 10 per page and just go to page 12.

I think 50 posts per page is a good compromise, for the reasons that Achernar. brings up. Another point is that, at least on some browsers, loading everything at once would make things seem much slower than the 50-posts-per-page way, because of the wait to render the table that posts are in (I.m thinking of Netscape 4.crap here, specifically, but there are probably some others). If we’re going to be slow, perception factors need to be considered.

You know what would be good, though? An option that only brings up posts from the first unread post through the end of the thread. I imagine that that would save a good bit of bandwidth. It may take more processor power, though. On the other other hand, the board is already taking the time to look up the post ID of the first unread post for every thread that comes up, even ones I don’t click on, so maybe there’s not that much overhead.

Okay, my well-thought-out conclusion is that I have no idea.

Just to clarify, I didn’t mean that the only option should be to see the ‘whole thread’, or even whether there should be an explicit function for that. I guess I had two main reasons for posting:

  1. I quite often like to download a whole thread at once, particularly if it’s a long one and I am about to do something else that is download-intensive which I don’t want to interfere with (basically just to give me something long and worthwhile to read), so I find myself using the ‘perpage’ option myself. I wanted to know whether this was OK from a board perspective, and if so, …

  2. I thought it might be a nice tip for the folks here who have a similar need than me (even occasionally).

Apparently, not too many do, so I’ll keep it to myself. I do remember though, a thread where someone asked how to display the whole thread, so this is probably a more complete answer than the one given there (which was to go through ‘view printable version of the page’ and then select ‘see all posts’), as well as being a more aesthetically pleasing / easier to read way.

I thought I’d bump this thread rather than start another one, seeing as it’s on the same subject.

Has this option been removed? I’ve tried it, and it doesn’t work, although it still works for ‘show printable version’ option. I’d be interested to know why it was removed, to understand whether it was causing problems which I might not have forseen (in which case, I apologise), or whether I just imagined the whole thing.

I just tried it, and it does work. Since this thread is so short, I had to put the perpage option very low, but it works: showthread.php?s=&threadid=139298&perpage=2

Sorry for not being clearer - it seems to work for values < 50, but not for values > 50, such as if there are 235 posts, using perpage=235 still only shows the first 50.

Oh. Well in that case I don’t know. But I tried it too, and you’re right.

I don’t see any harm in loading several pages worth of posts, if you’re going to read them. But I guess it has been limited to prevent possible mischief, how many legitimate reasons are there to request perhaps thousands of posts? Maybe they just installed a software update that set the limit to the default page size. I used this parameter once or twice on 2-page threads, to save and keep a whole local copy on my computer, so I can’t say I’ll really miss it.

However, I’ve got two bookmarks to the GQ forum list, one normal and one to read the first 150 entries. It’s very useful to get an overview of the last day and convenient to work up through only one window. I’m glad the perpage option still works there.