2350.org blog

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Now, with iTunes!

A couple of updates since last time.
  • Switched from the Apache Xerces library to hypirinha for building HTML in Java. Though the casual visitor shouldn't notice any differences, hypirinha is much easier to develop with.
  • Added the plumbing for links to the iTunes store. Another new feature is links to individual tracks as well as releases. Consequently, it's now easier to locate and listen to tracks on releases that don't have an "official" digital release -- like the first Deltraxx 12". (Only Deltraxx and True Colours have iTunes data right now, however.) The links are really ugly, but we'll prettify them later.
We're going to keep working on Phase I before we start adding more releases. As always, comments, suggestions, corrections, and requests are welcome.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

2350.org status update

What's going in with 2350.org? Why haven't there been any updates since October?

On or around October 16, 2008, the hard disk crashed on the server hosting the site. The most recent backup of the site's source code and database were around three or four years old. Fortunately, we had a static copy of all of the pages that we'd been using as an offline copy to enter data for the new version of the site we've been working on. We tweaked and uploaded this as an interim solution until we finish the new version of the site we're working on.


We are working on a completely new version of 2350.org.

Cool. But why?

Initially, we wanted to introduce a new version of the site last year for its tenth anniversary. Though that date has long since passed, our two main goals are to update the look of the site, and to make the discographical information more accurate and easier to access. (For example -- are you sitting down? -- information about the Collectors' Boxes will be included for the first time. We've also stopped interpolating specific dates for releases whose official release date is given as a week.)

And though we started work on the new version before the disk crash, all of the options for "bringing back" the old site beyond what has already been done are large and/or tedious, so we're not going to do any of them.

What do you mean, "easier to access?"

First and foremost, the orientation of the discographical data is going to change from releases to tracks. This means that it will be easier to see all of the releases a particular track appears on, as well as other versions of a track and what releases they appear on. This will be in addition to all of the "old" ways of looking at the Fax discography.

We're also going to be using some fancy 21st-century technologies (like AJAX) to help present data.

What about the old site?

It's going to just sit there for a while. We apologize for the inconvenience.


There's a lot of work left to do. As of today, we've got only "Phase I" of the Fax discography included, and there are still a few missing releases and inaccurate entries. So, there's about 15 years (or so) of releases yet to catalog. The visual redesign isn't finished, and there are lots of features that need to be added yet -- little things, like reviews, artwork, and iTunes Store links. We're also going to be fine-tuning the amount of detail available about particular releases.

Having said that, we've publicly posted a preview of the new site. We'd love to read any comments, suggestions, corrections, or other feedback that you have -- please leave them in the comments here.

Also, watch this space for announcements of updates to the preview and other postings about our work on the new site.

A few technical details

The now-defunct-but-frozen-in-time version of the site was built using PHP and MySQL. While PHP has a lot of positive aspects, we've decided to build the new version of the site using Java. Though this list is subject to change, the big components we're currently using for development are:
We welcome your technical questions in the comments of this blog.

Are you backing up now, you big idiot?

Yes. We're even using version control now. As they supposedly say in Texas, "Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me...can't get fooled again."