May. 26th, 2010

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I was one of the first on, late last night, and while there are some things that disappeared, there were also some nifty new features. Looks like a lot of the bits that aren't working properly are database issues, and they will be fixed over time.

Likely over the next month we'll be seeing bugs fixed and new bits appear (or old bits reappear) on a daily basis.

The old site must have been an absolute basterd to maintain, with bits dating from 2002 and steadily patched ever since. A complete rewrite using modern software and methods was always going to be needed, and given the limited resources available, a difficult task to implement.

BookCrossing is not some vast empire like Microsoft or Google. Not even a medium or small empire. It is the sort of thing a programmer could whip up in an afternoon and develop in spare time and then get stuck when the userbase grew and the bandwidth bills came in. Which is exactly what happened.

Frankly, I am astonished that it has lasted this long without bankrupting the principals. I know Ron had some tough times along the way, and without the volunteer support team it would long since have vanished. TexasWren, Bookczuk, Antof9, GoryDetails and a few others are the shining stars in my BookCrossing heaven.

There's a few glitches. They'll be fixed. The database queries will be refined and access to data reappear. As Elhamisabel noted, there wasn't the resources to keep old and new sites going at the same time, so the switch had to be flipped at some point, and again, I'm astonished that it was so painless. The fact that the process lasted a few hours, rather than several days is encouraging.

As to the look, well, it's not the old BookCrossing, but it's been the subject of a lot of thought. The essential elements are still there.

My main beef is that there are a lot of features that are hidden, and you have to click on little grey arrows and stuff to find them. It's not obvious.

Bottom line for me is that it isn't the books, or the site, or even the thrill of releasing and catching. It's the BookCrossers I love most of all.


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September 2010

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