I want to say a HUGE thanks to Stephen for all his help testing, his encouragement, his help building cms pages, and the list goes on. He was a constant optimistic voice of encouragement during the times when I was bitching and moaning and regretting the whole project. And a huge thanks to PhilB, who runs his own hosting company(lchost.uk
) for providing server space for literally years while I slowly tested the new server setup.
It turned out to be a huge amount of work to move over to a CMS system -- there was always one more thing to fix and do, and that seemed to go for months on end. It's actually been something like 5 years since I said we were going to move to a new cms system.. And at least a year of seriously working on it. The decision to move physical servers at the same time made some things easier, and some things harder, but it was an important step in getting us the cleanest, most easily maintainable setup.
It is such a relief to have moved to a setup that is easier to maintain and keep updated and secure. I expect there will still be some hiccups as we get things sorted out -- and some redirects from old pages that we will have overlooked and need to add in the coming days. But overall the move seems to have gone pretty well so far.
Most of the changes to the site you can't see -- they are behind the scenes in the way the back end of the site is handled. Lots of things that were kludged together (submission forms, license key payment stuff) in the past have been rewritten and will hopefully make things simpler and less error prone. The license key and donation system has been revamped and should be less confusing and less effort for everyone.
And I haven't said anything here about the new member server which is up and running and has some dc members working hard to polish up their pages.
I'll have a lot more to say about the new hosting company, the backend cms and the choices made -- why and where we go from here -- in the very near future.
One of the things that has really held back the current site in terms of writing new content and updating content on the website, was just how ridiculously hard it was to do (the pages were all hand-written static html pages, from 2005). Now that we can actually update the website more easily I hope we can embark on a course of adding real content to the pages on a regular basis. We can talk about such plans soon.
But most of all, everything we've put in place is in keeping with the basic strategy of creating something that can last indefinitely without major intervention and operating costs and overhead. So I hope we will be able to keep on keeping on for the next decade.
Stay tuned for lots more info about the new server and cms setup in the weeks to come. And thanks everyone for your patience! And do please let us know about issues you find on the new site -- there are bound to be some.