Archive for April, 2008

11 million pages and lots of improvements

Finally the new database is live, after a few trials and tribulations; things have been growing so fast that I had to beef up our infrastructure to manage the growth. The good news is that “under the hood” things are now not only ready for much more growth, they’re also much faster. The new database weighs in at about 36,000 sites and about 11 million pages. Which makes me wonder: what do you do when you’ve come up with some goofy tag line like “Search 10 million pages of trustworthy wine information,” and suddenly you’ve got 11 million pages? Oh well!

There are lots of new things in the database. Read on if you’d like a (marathon) overview. All of the links are to example queries, so please try things out along the way.

Continue reading ’11 million pages and lots of improvements’

Add Able Grape to your site

A few people have asked for embeddable search boxes so they can add Able Grape to their own site.

Ask and ye shall receive! I’ve just put live a first cut of a page that has a couple of different ways to link to Able Grape, including an embeddable search box, so users can search Able Grape directly from your site without leaving it. Please let me know if you have questions, experience any problems, or have suggestions for improvements. If there are additional sizes you would find useful, please let me know.

In any case, if you do find Able Grape useful, we’d very much appreciate a link to our site.

Back from Vinitaly

Vecchia vasca di cementoOn the plane on my way back from Italy — a fantastic trip. I have many, many thanks to give to all the people who were incredibly supportive of Able Grape while I was there! After a couple of sleepless nights, I managed to give my first-ever presentation in Italian without too much stammering, thanks in large part to the help and encouragement of Maurizio Gily. I finally had the pleasure of meeting some of the fine Italian journalists whose blogs I’ve been reading: Franco Ziliani, Elisabetta Tosi, and Giampiero Nadali. A number of producers were kind enough to spend time with me at their aziende and assuage my curiosity, and MW-student thirst for examples, about many things: Chiara and Alberto Coffele, Graziano PrĂ , Franco and Luciano Piona at Cavalchina, Francesco Iacono at Fratelli Muratori (Villa Crespia), Giampaolo Turra at Cavalleri, Giovanni and Elena Rava at La Casaccia, Jeffrey Chilcott at Marchesi di Gresy, and Giovanna, Italo, and Davide at Cascina delle Rose. My thanks to them all. I even — gasp! — got some tasting in (yes, that was me with the wine glass). I’ll try to post some fun notes in the coming days.

On the home front, I wanted to give a quick update on what’s coming up for Able Grape. Updates have been slow this month, because the new database is getting so huge it’s stretching my infrastructure. We’ve got all kinds of new content, and just need to work through some kinks when I get back to finish the build process. My goal at the moment is a twice-monthly update, with minor features and improvements on more like a weekly basis. Most good content changes much much more slowly than this, but it does mean that you won’t find the very most recent news — yet. Eventually, as we streamline our software, we’ll do daily updates.

Also on the horizon are full translations of the UI into several languages. I’ve noticed a dramatic increase in Italian users due to kind articles in MilleVigne, VinoPigro, and elsewhere, and a dramatic increase in Spanish users from postings on Verema — hang on, help is on the way!

Naturally, lots of other features and improvements are on their way as well. As always, we welcome your suggestions and comments! You can leave them here in the blog, or send them directly to me (see the address in my profile).

Able Grape, a wine information search engine