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"The Marquee" Enhancements Bring More Speed, New Movie Sort Option in Showtimes, Sticky Selections

Posted on Friday, May 23, 2014 4:29 PM

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We just completed a major cleaning of "The Marquee," which is the section of this site that displays movie theaters and their showtimes, information, etc. Every line of code was reviewed and entire functions were rewritten to bring it up to current standards.

Increase Speed by Cutting the Fat and Working Smarter

The result of several weeks of work is that this portion of the site is almost 20% smaller, which means that it's also faster than before. While the difference is in milliseconds, that adds up when you have thousands of people accessing the site at once. Additionally, when we saw an opportunity to do things better, we took it. The end result is that the site works more efficiently and is easier to maintain, and we are now set up to make improvements to its functionality in the future.

Many of the changes that were made are behind the scenes, and if we did our jobs right, you won't notice a difference. However, there are a few things that we added that we hope you will like and find useful:

New "Release Date" Sort Feature in Theater Showtimes

A new "Sort By" option has been added to the Showtimes pages for all movie theaters that you will see in the upper right corner of the showtimes table. Along with the traditional sort order by movie name, you now have the ability to sort the movies by Release Date which puts the most recently-released movies at the top of the list.

For example, X-Men: Days of Future Past opened today, but in the traditional sort order, its showtimes would appear at the bottom of an alphabetical listing. When a theater's showtimes are sorted by Release Date, X-Men would now be up near the top of the listing instead. To be consistent with movies listed on the New Movies page, movies released in the past week are grouped together under a "New Releases" heading. Take a look at the screenshots below to see an example:

Sample Screenshots of Showtimes

Sticky Option Selections

The options you select in The Marquee are now saved for the duration of your visit. For example, when you select to sort showtimes by Name or Release Date, the site will remember that setting and show the movies sorted by that selection every time you visit a theater's Showtimes page. We've also added this "stickiness" to the "Show" options on the Nearby Theaters and By Region pages, so you can choose to view only "Drive-ins" on the Nearby Theaters page, and when you go to the By Region page, you will see only drive-in movie theaters by default. Of course, you can always change your mind, and the site will happily remember your choice for you.

Likewise, your range selection on the Nearby Theaters page is remembered as well, and that setting is also remembered in "Now Showing" (movie showtimes and information). For example, if you choose to see all theaters within 20 miles anywhere on the site, that range setting will be remembered and used as your default any time you need it. This should make it easier for you to get to the results you're looking for more quickly, and with less clicking to select the options you desire.

Currently, this stickiness will last only for the duration of your visit. In the future, we plan to save them to your account here for future visits, too.

Next Up: Mobile-Friendliness

One of the motivating factors in this project was to prepare the site for a mobile-friendly version. Now that we've accomplished this step, we're able to move forward on that project. It's a long time in coming and we appreciate your patience while we strive to deliver a great experience for those with phone-sized screens. Please stay tuned for announcements in the future!

As always, we welcome your feedback on these enhancements and all of the features of The BigScreen Cinema Guide! Please feel free to post a comment at the end of this article or complete the Feedback Form and let us know what you think!

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