vowe.net has landed safely

by Volker Weber

Photo: NASA

What happened?

vowe.net runs on 12 y/o software. I believe in simplicity. If it ain't broken, don't fix it. So I am flying a Soyuz spacecraft instead of a Shuttle. The site is incredibly light, it's basically just html that is assembled with a bit of PHP code. Things that look the same on all pages, are the same on all pages. The things that are not the same on all pages are created with Perl code and stored in a database so they can be recreated. When I post, or when you comment, I generate the least possible amount of new hmtl.

This site was running in shared hosting. With tens of thousands of other sites on the same hardware. The operating system got refreshed and my bespoke construction no longer worked. PHP did, Perl did not. Nobody's fault, just collateral damage.

Once I knew this would be complicated to fix I asked Stefan for help. I pushed all the code to my sandbox, where parts of the site were already hosted. Today, we ironed out the last bug we could find and with a bit of help from 1&1, we pointed DNS to the new site.

Huge thanks to Stefan who fixed everything in his spare time. He is one kick-ass developer/admin.

vowe.net is still a Soyuz, but we no longer launch from Baikonur.


The analogies made me smile... :-)

alex martin, 2016-06-18

"If it ain't broken, don't fixt it" (sic)

Says the man who's got the latest smartphone at all times ;)

Frank Quednau, 2016-06-18

Der Unterschied zwischen Werkzeug und Werkstück. Alle meine Computer sind längst abgeschrieben. :-)

Volker Weber, 2016-06-18

Tolle Analogien, wirklich!

Wenn die Gerüchte zu meinem Hoster stimmen, werden die wohl auch bald magenta. Dann suche ich mir auch einen neuen!

Viel Erfolg weiterhin.

Goetz Goerisch, 2016-06-18

Wenn man Ausgangs- und Zielsystem kennt, dann werden die Analogien noch viel ... lassen wir das, ich teste nur nochmal 'ne Formatierung ;)

Stefan Rubner, 2016-06-18

Well, you should use this opportunity to add what has been missing for a long time.

What your site really needs is a message and a button asking me for confirmation that you may use Cookies. Asking this three or four times a day should be sufficient.

Also two or three rows of share buttons would be great and so colorful.

What about ads? You aren't running them anymore. Maybe re-introduce them with a bang. interstitial ads would be great, or auto-playing ads with sounds that could the wife.

I know, I know. All good thoughts. You will thank me later.

Mariano Kamp, 2016-06-18

Ps. The new site and commenting feels faster as well.
Nothing that could not be fixed however. A handful analytics scripts will get you going.

Mariano Kamp, 2016-06-18

I will ponder your suggestions. ;-)

Volker Weber , 2016-06-19

+1 Mariano.

If I could add anything to his wonderful list, please consider adding custom fonts. I figure one each for headings and body and links and dates.

Ian Bradbury, 2016-06-19

I don't think anyone has mentioned the "please subscribe to our mailing list / like us on Facebook" layer popping up just as you're getting ready to leave yet. This is a must for any modern site these day. Surely you don't want to be left behind?

Armin Grewe, 2016-06-19

Actually, the new "must have" is a pop-up asking whether you'd have some time to take a short survey regarding the web site / whether you'd like to talk to someone concerning the product you're currently looking at.

Stefan Rubner, 2016-06-19

I think I need an app. And then suggest an installation whenever you hit the site.

Volker Weber, 2016-06-19

That's not going far enough. You need to send the visitors straight to the App Store / Google Play / other to install the App when they're visiting on their mobile device. What's good for Facebook is good for you.

Armin Grewe, 2016-06-19

Yeah, and don't you dare 'forgetting' the Windows app, or else!
We might even start a petition!1!!!11

Hubert Stettner, 2016-06-19

Armin: And every effing time. Ask *every* time.

Hubert Stettner, 2016-06-19

I can't believe no one has mentioned the lack of outbrain links with other stories I might be interested in at the bottom of each article.

Mark Barton, 2016-06-19

@Stefan - I think you win.

Volker. Please please can you add a "Chat to me" button, that launches an instant voice chat with you - or maybe an AI you.

Ian Bradbury, 2016-06-19

Once I reach the bottom of any page, I want to be redirected automagically to the front page. No matter if I already read it.

And: please show a "page has been updated, do you want to reload?" layer after approx. 3 minutes without any user input/scrolling, allowing the user to say "yes" only.

Jonas Rathert, 2016-06-19

I <3 all these suggestions, would like to add one. Please use more colors in your page design. Lots more colors. Also user-selectable background colors. Maybe even let readers customize their pageviews by typing in CSS code, that would be cool! And since you're already remembering all comment text in a database, you could remember people's preferred CSS scripts, and automatically load at render time individually. That might also help with your "it's faster now" problem.

Bob Balaban, 2016-06-20

The suggested improvements are nice but what about the user experience? Parallax scrolling is the future. And please Volker every time loading the front page I want to hear a sound or even better an endless looping sound.

Sven Semel, 2016-06-20

how about a darktheme? ;)
now seriously: RSS for comments

Samuel Orsenne, 2016-06-20

and: wow - this site is fast - amazing!

Samuel Orsenne, 2016-06-20

@Samuel a feed for comments? Like the one here?



Ben Poole, 2016-06-20

Sam and Ben, you are moving off topic here. Please be team players ;)

One vowe.net app is a good start, but what about three apps? Vowe.net, vowe.net comments and vowe.net messenger? I think the messenger as a separate app is a must.

Mariano Kamp, 2016-06-20

Can't wait for the vowe.net App on my Samsung Smart TV! Pretty please ...

Tobias Vogel, 2016-06-20

While you are at it, can you please make your titles more interesting. How about "13 things Lenovo are not telling you about the new Yoga".

Or - "The worst thing you will hear this year about Apple"

Or - Alphabet's top 13 features for 2027 (you wont believe no 7).


Paul Mooney, 2016-06-20

Well and if we are talking about apps, don't forget to add Smartwatch functionality.

And why only comments, how about a vowe community forum?

Sven Semel, 2016-06-20

I'm laughing out loud right now! Everyone... trust your mother!

Ray Bilyk, 2016-06-20

You need more clickbait image sliders. And, please please take this into real consideration: Comic Sans!!!

Patrick Bohr, 2016-06-21

Seriously, you should all get big money for your *brilliant* consulting advise here! I am sure, Volker is composing and updating the requirement specification for newvowe.net all the time. Maybe there is a marketing flyer, already? At least a nonfunctional mockup?

And Ben, holy moly! I am reading vowe.net (well, the old one) since 10 years, I think. I NEVER had an idea, that there was a comments feed. Thank you so much. To (kind of) quote a famous former soccer player from Germany: 'Again what learned'.

Hubert Stettner, 2016-06-21

Selten so einen aufgeräumten Quellcode mit so hohem Inhaltsanteil gesehen. Habt Ihr gut gemacht!

Ich würde mir einzig noch eine bessere Leserlichkeit auf dem Smartphone wünschen.

Thomas Cloer, 2016-06-21

Old vowe.net archive pages

I explain difficult concepts in simple ways. For free, and for money. Clue procurement and bullshit detection.


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