Published Sep 13. 2015

Time for an upgrade

You might have noticed that the Global FlyFisher has been a little quiet lately. It's not because we're on vacation. We're working on a major site upgrade!

A test - This article sample is not anywhere near the final look, but a step in the development of the new site.
Imported article

The Global FlyFisher has a very long history and the system that runs the site has been a part of that for a very long time. Too long, actually...
Sites like ours require quite a bit of advanced technology to run. Long time readers of this site will have witnessed my Disk Space Blues quite a few times during the couple of decades that the site has been in the air as we have gone through different technology upgrades.
We started out with a small bunch of static documents, which could be fetched through this new thing called the world wide web, but have now become a huge site that has its gigabytes of information stored in an advanced database, requires all kinds of modern solutions to serve millions of pages and has literally outgrown the home made system that runs it.

It's not that the system doesn't work or the site doesn't run. It does. It also develops and gets new facilities. But it's just that all these parts are individually coded by me, and that the foundation is honestly a bit outdated and not built quite as smart as it could be. And I can say that because I built it.
The construction makes it hard to make changes and hard to expand the site with new facilities. Because of the inconsistency between the different parts of the site - articles, blog, videos, forum, user submitted pictures and so on, every new addition adds to the complexity and must be tailor made to run with the rest.
A structural change, a design change, adaption to mobile devices, more reader involvement. All these things and many more are difficult to implement because of the diversity of the individual parts of the site.

It's time for a change!

Editing and maintaining the site is also very different from part to part, and I am definitely the only person on the planet who can see through all the layers and navigate all parts of the backend of the system.

It's time for a change!
And time for another chapter in the Disk Space Blues series because such a change isn't easy to make.

A video - Our almost 7,000 videos have been imported into the new system.
Imported article

Selecting a new system is easy. I work with the open source CMS (content management system) Drupal every day to pay the bills, so the choice is pretty obvious for me. I have built, programmed, configured and maintained Drupal sites for ten years or more, and know this system very well.
I know that it can easily handle the Global FlyFisher. It's actually running the current video section as a system in the system. The forum also runs in a separate system called PhpBB. The rest of the site is my home built system, carefully developed and adapted to GFF.

And this mess of systems in systems makes it difficult to move to a new one. Several thousand articles, even more videos, forum posts, user uploaded pictures, wallpapers and much more is spread out in a very inconsistent way, and requires a lot of hand holding to get into one single and homogeneous structure.

But never the less I'm on it, and the first parts of GFF has been merged into Drupal: articles, pictures, forums, videos and users. The next steps are comments, patterns, user submitted content, votes and ratings and much more.

Soon GFF will launch in a new and better version.

Until then the site might be a bit quiet and with fewer new articles than usual.

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