It’s here: a new and faster start.me

It’s here: a new and faster start.me

A faster start.me has finally arrived! Millions of users already use start.me to make their browsing experience more efficient. In order to prepare for future growth and to keep up with user demands for faster loading times, we’ve decided to invest in a complete rebuild of the start.me frontend last November 2017. We’re happy to announce that we’re now ready with the rebuild and that we’ve migrated our first users today. We expect all users to be migrated by July 16. Read on to find out more about this major update. 

Building a faster start.me

Cover of the original Kick-off Document to get to a faster start.me.
Cover of the original Kick-off Document to get to a faster start.me.

We started working on the most important release of our product with one singular objective in mind: more speed. We already knew we had built a very useful and versatile tool, and many users agreed. But some of them really felt it just wasn’t fast enough to make it their default startpage. We heard you.

That’s why we made speed our top priority. Never short for ambition, we started a project called Thunderbird. In the Project Kick-Off Document we stated the following goal:

We don’t want any functional or design changes, we just want the site to become super fast.

After describing this very clear goal, we also decided there was only one real objective here: the user experience must come first. Instant information, no more loading and waiting for start.me to appear.

It had to be responsive: usable on all browsers, on all platforms and devices. We wanted it safe: served via HTTPS to prevent snooping. Also: easy and free to use.

In short: we wanted start.me to deliver the instant experience, without losing even one of our features.

What has changed?

We’ve completely rebuild start.me from the ground up, fixing dozens of bugs and making just as many minor improvements along the way. In our next blog, we will illustrate them more in detail.

The biggest leap forward we expect from implementing a new technology to render pages within a Single Page Application. By also adding caching layers, we managed to reduce the transfer of bytes over the internet, further reducing network time. Switching between start.me pages should be instant now.

It’s like we’ve just put a whole new engine in your car. It’s got the same look and feel, but it moves a lot faster.

One important change: get to your preferences faster

Next week we’ll provide a detailed changelog of all the feature changes and bug fixes that are included in the new release. One major change that we want to share here already: in the new frontend, you can access the preferences for your account a lot faster, by clicking the user icon (top right corner). The second option gets you straight into the preference pane. Click the movie below, if you want to see it in action.

When will my account be migrated?

Today we’ve migrated our first users and we expect to have everyone migrated by July 16. If you don’t want wait to make the switch, please e-mail us at support@start.me and we’ll migrate your account with priority.

What do I need to do to migrate?

Nothing at all. We’ll automatically upgrade the application in the background and the next time you visit start.me you’ll be using the new frontend app.

How will I know if my account has been upgraded?

You should be able to feel the loading difference immediately. When you open the user menu (click user icon in right top), you will also notice a version number (version 2.0) in the bottom of the sidebar.

Please let us know

Once you’re migrated, do you notice any difference in loading speed? Also: did you come across any bugs?

We would love to hear your feedback. E-mail us at support@start.me or leave your comment in the section below.

Stefan van Dierendonck

Stefan van Dierendonck

For many years Stefan has been active as a blogger, building and maintaining his own and other websites. He is also the author of two well received novels. Wherever possible he tries to combine modern technology with literary or at least pleasantly legible content.


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17 Replies to “It’s here: a new and faster start.me”

  1. Thanks so much for the start.me rebuild – excited here! Question: Is the app going to get some improvements, too? For instance, I would loooove to search my personal bookmarks from within the mobile app. 😉

  2. Good day, while it’s nice to have better speed, I’m concerned about one trade-off. I believe you mentioned that links will now always open in the same browser window as the start page. While that may not be an issue for individuals, it is for education accounts. Having that start page remain available in a tab after closing another application is a big plus when you’re working with younger children. So, I would ask that you reconsider that functionality for education accounts. Rock On!

    1. Hi Charlie,

      Thanks for getting back to us about the new update. The problem you mention with opening links in a new window is still available for all accounts. We haven’t changed this feature at all. You can toggle the option in the new preferences pane when you click the user icon (top right corner). Look for the 4th option: ‘Open link in new window.’ Hope this helps you out!

      Stefan

      1. I can’t say that the preference “Open links in new window” works in my case since it does not and has not since the new front-end upgrade. All start.me links open in the same start.me tab regardless of fact I have this setting toggle to “ON” as I always have inconveniently requiring the user to navigate back to the start-page via the browser back-arrow every time a link is used. Actually in my case it is the 2nd option in preferences under the first “Show submenu with pages” option.

        And I’ve also noticed that my “Country” setting is incorrect and does not hold when I set the option to the correct value and click on “Done”. It seems that “User Preferences” is not working as it should. Hopefully this post will get past post screening as it’s presumably affable enough.

        1. I’ve since learned that the “open links in new window” preference does not work in sub-domain start-pages. I am told this issue will be addressed — so any idea when this will be fixed?

          Note: the “country” preference has been fixed. Btw, I stand corrected on the location of the “open links in new window” — Charlie is correct this is the 4th preference (I was only counting toggle preferences and not counting the textual “language” and “country” settings).

  3. Since today, my widgets’ text content is all black, impossible to read on a dark theme. It must be the change that did it, how do I change the text color?

    1. Hello,

      Thank you for your feedback.

      We’re deploying a fix for this issue in the next couple of hours.

      Best regards,

      Arjen

  4. Are you planning in the new UI, to allow us to change the text colour of the widgets? It would be good to have this option, for different background colours and transparencies.

  5. The upgrade seems to be good – faster loading and all! One thing: on the old version, a link’s text would turn grey after I clicked it. That doesn’t seem to have carried over to the new version. Is that something that will be brought back? It was very useful for showing me what links I’d already accessed.

    1. Thanks for your feedback! Yes we’re bringing back the grey color for links already visited. Hopefully today.

  6. Can we please get the “open in new window” pref fixed for sub-domains?

    I was in a blog just now and needed to look up the meaning of a word using the dictionary link on my start-page — but of course I do not have a start-page because because the blog link had opened up in place of my start-page as opposed to opening in a new tab as it should.

    So to keep my place in the log I am required to then open a new tab and load my start-page in that tab to get to my dictionary link — of course when the dictionary link renders the dictionary page I once again do not have a start-page at my disposal. (I know, I can right-click on links to open in a new tab — but old habits “die-hard” and I’d rather not create a new right-click habit that will inevitably “die-hard” as well…. If you get my meaning:))

    As you can see — Very inconvenient!!

    When is the issue with this pref going to be addressed?

    1. Hello Kent,

      The issue with links not opening in a new window for sub-domains is now fixed.

      Best regards,
      Arjen

      1. Yea! — I just noticed a few minutes ago and was about to comment on it myself. Really great news!! It’s an absolute must to open links in a new browser tab.

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