Michael Z Freeman wrote the following in Disqus today :
"What was wrong with the old site ? I miss it"
So this has prompted me to publish an article today and tell all of you why changes had to be made, and how sometimes frustrating the progress we seem to be making is. All of us involved here have our own businesses to run. Ones quite separate from the nature of this site that earn us a livelihood.
We are unlike Sterling, who for him writing and maintaining the sites was his full time job and occupation.
Not only have we now taken over the web-sites, but we are in the process of writing new software for these sites. This is not off the shelf software, such as WordPress.
We wanted much much better than that. But in so doing placed quite a burden on ourselves aiming for a much more sophisticated presentation than could ever be achieved with mediocre software such as WordPress. WP is crude and basic and really these days is "old hat, yesterdays style". But in saying that we know that people liked the old style of Pesn/Peswiki and were very comfortable with it. So everything that was written in the old style will be retained in Knowledge (the title we are using in the yet to come new web pages) just the way it used to be.
Now my reply to Michael was as follows :
I think we all do. There were certainly some pretty good things about it.
But it was a matter of moving on. We couldn't stand still and just had to make changes both to overcome the problems being encountered, the huge cost at that time, and to bring the presentation up to modern standards.
(1) Times were changing. The software in use was Microsoft Front-page (In fact FP 2,000) which was no longer being supported. Thereby not being modernized for use with what people expect today, for say the likes of viewing on cellphones/smartphones as one example.
(2) We were unable to gain access to one web-site, namely Peswiki, due to being unable to obtain the log-ins for reasons outside our control and ability to overcome. We tried hard, but just faced a brick wall. Without Peswiki the "whole thread" of the system was lost. But Andrew was able to extract all the data from Peswiki, but its not cohesively joined together like it was. We haven't yet got it back the way it was. Nothing is lost, its just a matter of knitting it all back the way it was. Pictures are separated from stories, separated from audio, separated from links, etc. Once he (Andrew) sets up some new programming scripts this will enable us to sit down and start getting it all back together. This is mostly a manual job and will take many hours, in fact days really, if not weeks.
(3) Sterling had an intricate web of cross connections over dozens of sites. These were in his head, but not ours and were just a nightmare to understand let alone follow.
(3) Cost. The monthly bill for the Server that Sterling was using was more than we pay now for a whole year. Now we have 10 times the storage, much faster access speeds, greatly increased bandwidth.
The new site is not yet operating the way we intend it to be.Thats because we are writing it ourselves. This is not off the shelf software like say WordPress.We wanted stuff that worked 50 times better than that ancient software.But its a work in progress. Andrew is having to write the scripts in amongst his other jobs and clients which make up his income. He works on Pesn and Peswiki in his spare time.
All this production takes place on a development computer and if you could see what I see, then I imagine you would be a lot happier knowing what we have planned for the future. Its going to be really wonderful.There are going to be areas where you can take part in writing new stories yourself for publication. Forum involvement too.The new system will combine the old, which will be viewable as before. But knit the old into the new system to bring everything into a world of where its needs to be in this day and age.
At the moment until what's on the development server is transferred across to the working server, I cannot for instance add photo's in yet. This is completely hindering my ability to write new articles as no-one wants a story these days without photo's. I can add in videos from YouTube, but not photo's.
If I had the ability to publish a photo, then I could simply show you a screen print of the new layout. Since the only thing I can do is to describe it, it will look more like what you see in a newspaper type style. New logo's and a new layout with lots of new features added in. Knowledge (the old archived stories as they used to be), a new Forum and a Blog section. On the main page will be a headline, a photo, and a few words, exactly just like the newspapers do, exactly the way Sterling used to do on the old Pesn site, and you click on that to take you to the article itself. So in many ways this will be the old yet new.
Under the old Peswiki system your ability to write a story required skills way beyond writing the story, you had to have publishing and layout knowledge, and codes to enable italics and bold and adding a picture in was a nightmare. This frustrated a lot of people and put many off. In the new system when you write a story that is all you concentrate on, writing the story. The layout is just clicking a few buttons. Pictures will just be drag and drop.
And YES I too like things to still be familiar when they change so that all the things I like are still retained, but they evolve rather than change.What you see now is not what we will end up with. This is but one stage in the evolution. So all in all this is still a work in progress. And yes I know its frustrating, not just for you, but for me too. But we will get there albeit slowly.