Non-profit (but not by choice) since 1996

Dipping my toes in the water

Friday, August 7, 2009

At long last, I'm proud (yet somehow a little ashamed) to announce is finally back. It's been a long, arduous road, and things aren't nearly where they were before, but given time I hope to get there eventually.

You may recall this all started back in February when our host, LunarPages, decided to physically move the web server to a different facility in a different city. This necessitated the website being offline for two days, which begs the question of why they felt it necessary to take an untold number of websites down to physically move the server. This is asinine, folks. Obviously, they've never heard of virtualization, or about a half dozen other methods I can think of for migrating a server without disrupting service. I guess we're lucky that isn't a commercial site, because I would be royally pissed if my income was taken offline because some boobs were too lazy to develop a workable migration plan. (Okay, I'm already royally pissed off, but still.)

So as if that wasn't bad enough, once the site came back up, we started getting errors, and sessions were being dropped meaning logins were useless. I detailed some of this in several previous posts, so I'm not feeling up to going into detail. Suffice it to say, things were bad.

Meanwhile, because the errors were related to ASP.NET settings on Lunar's server that we had no control over and Lunar repeatedly said they fixed but never did, I started rewriting the site in PHP. I don't like PHP, but I was starting to feel it might be the only way to have a workable site. I sent Lunar more than one nasty e-mail detailing the problem, that their fixes didn't work, and informing them I would no longer be a customer if I didn't get satisfaction.

So after spending months trying to fix it, with absolutely no help whatever from LunarPages, we finally cancelled our account with them and I took down (which is why I informed rather than threatened).

At this point, I moved the web address to my employer's web server, but essentially had no site. I'd applied so many tweaks and fixes to the original site that I wasn't comfortable putting it live again, and the PHP site, while incomplete, was much more standards compliant and would be easier to maintain. My boss's server runs ASP.NET, which is still my first choice, so I made the decision to use the PHP design but rewrite the backend from scratch.

And that's where it stands today. I've spent the past couple months rewriting, just trying to get the site to a state where I could go live with a minimum of errors. Everything is much more modularized now, so it'll be easier to implement past and new features when they're ready, rather than, say, having links that go nowhere. My first concern was getting the blog running; that's done. I even managed to get the mobile site working as well. So up next will be Off The Wall and Good News, plus user accounts and commenting. I make no promises or even projections about when things will be done; instead, I'll just say, "What I can as soon as possible."

Really, it's a relief to have this again. There's been so much that would have been fun or interesting to write about, but with no outlet for making it happen. I made a conscious decision not to add any posts until the site was live again, so this is truly my first since April. Now we'll see where it goes from here.