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It turns out, if something bugs me personally (like, say, finding a download on a giant list, because I have every single Paizo PDF ever produced), it may in fact prompt more attention than it might otherwise warrant. (May all the things that bug you match mine!)
More improvements for downloads are in the works.
Today we're rolling out a new version of the website. If everything is going right, you're using it right now. If not, we hope to have the new version up very soon. What's new? Lots of stuff, and not much, and very much faster.
What's new: Lots of stuff
Goblin Squad Store
Order Checkout Wizardry
My point is, the checkout wizard was a really good idea and we've brought it back. I'm especially pleased with the final confirmation step -- read on for why.
Order Confirmation Emails
What's new: Not much
Well, not much visible beyond what I've described above. But this is the most significant revamp in Paizo's history, and we've done a LOT of revamps. Over the years our order processing system has grown in complexity as we've added features. Along the way the codebase has grown brittle and increasingly resistant to change without putting up a really effective and quite vicious fight. To get an idea, check out Auntie Lisa's Story Hour; each pivot Paizo takes requires new code, and those pivots come quickly. So there's about a decade of changes, some hasty and poorly conceived, some from the excellent-idea-at-the-time-if-we-were-in-that-business-anymore department, and a healthy mix of "we just messed up a few thousand orders, what do we have to do to fix this before anybody notices" in there.
Well, good fracking riddance, that's what I say. This codebase is cleaner, way easier to understand, and now comprises a foundation on which we can start building new things rapidly, instead of continually bailing water and trying to figure out why the thing we built a year ago just broke today. No promises. But I think things are about to get interesting around here.
What's new: Very much faster
Oh yeah, the site should be faster now. And we've made some big changes to our customer service tools that should help us fulfill your orders faster, too.
What's currently broken
Right now, gift options are unavailable during order checkout, as is redeeming promotional codes or gift certificates. (You can still redeem gift certificates from the gift certificates page.) Some displays may be a bit wonky, we've switched stylesheets and are in the process of revamping that a bit more.
We're still figuring out exactly what's happened and what we're going to do to make this not happen again. The power went out. The UPS that's supposed to bridge the few seconds until the generator kicks in decided to take a nap. The database cluster had to be restarted from cold, which is a tricky time for a cluster. (They generally prefer partial failures or rolling restarts.) When the cluster finally did come back up, something got misconfigured. A scheduled backup fires off and takes down one mode which apparently the others dislike and they all start squabbling about who has the most recent copy of this table or that, and so damage control, cleanup and restarting the site gets more complicated.
Yeah sorry, that's probably a usage that's idiomatic to my own background more than Paizo. Way back in the long ago, I worked for newspapers, and there was "editorial" (reporters, copyeditors etc) and "production" (design, typesetting, layout/pasteup etc). So when I say production I mean "taking materials and turning into finished product" (in this case bits rather than camera-ready art).
Selfies convince the alien overlords we are actually a race of weird-looking birds totally useless as slaves
We've recently added a new webpage that we are trying to keep updated when we're having downtime: status.paizo.com
If paizo.com won't load for you, that page should tell you if we're doing maintenance or having ISP problems or whatever. It's not hosted with the rest of the website so it should work even if paizo.com itself is down.