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[IMPORTANT]Flightradar24 Website Functionality Improvement Suggestion

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  • [IMPORTANT]Flightradar24 Website Functionality Improvement Suggestion

    Hi everyone,

    I am amazed by what the team at Flightradar24 have managed to accomplish in the previous years, and I have seen coverage improve as more and more supporters helped to feed data to the servers. The exceptional element of the Flightradar functions is the website. It is beautifully structured and very intuitive.

    As a website developer, I have a habit of trawling through the HTML code used on websites to see how things are accomplished. However, looking through the FR24 website code, I found a small change that could be made to improve the functionality of the website. This change would also lower loading times and enhance the user experience.

    Currently, FR24 uses a big image file which contains rotation images of the aircraft as displayed on the website (see below):
    red_large.png

    Every time the website loads, a request is sent to the server which has to load this 1200 x 864 pixel file. As you can imagine, this would take a long time and it slows down loading times. Further, since the rotation of the aircraft is pre-defined in the image, the website is restricted in the manner that the plane may not be facing the EXACT heading of the aircraft.

    This whole system can be improved by using a sprite of each aircraft facing just ONE direction. Then, some simple Javascript can be used to alter the heading of each aircraft so that it is facing the heading of the actual aircraft, which can be acquired from FR's servers. Another simple change would be to use a simple built-in CSS function called transition to allow smooth rotation of the aircraft. As you can imagine, this would GREATLY improve the user experience as each aircraft would turn in a smooth way, instead of the current awkward rotation that is currently used.

    I understand that this may seem like a lot of work, but it is really just small alterations to the existing code, and it would greatly improve loading times and the smooth rotation of the aircraft would look great on the interface.

    Let me know what you think!

    Regards,
    Serenium

  • #2
    Thanks you for your post and suggestion. Our web team is always analyzing and evaluating all latest techniques to make to user experience as good as possible. Rotating by JavaScript, as well as other solutions like HTML5 Canvas + one other technique, is something we have tested and we have it up and running in our test environment. But for now our tests shows that the currently used sprite is the best solution when comparing compatibility, speed and functionality. But you never know what happens in the future...

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    • #3
      Surely the big graphic is downloaded once by the browser, then cached locally anyway?

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      • #4
        Graphics are cached in browser.

        The main issue with suggest JavaScript rotation is that it works very bad in IE7 and IE8 and it consumes more CPU compared to the solution we have today.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Mike View Post
          Graphics are cached in browser.

          The main issue with suggest JavaScript rotation is that it works very bad in IE7 and IE8 and it consumes more CPU compared to the solution we have today.
          Thanks for letting me know. I suppose we'll just have to wait and see where the web team take us with updates Great work on the website, by the way!

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