Future Thoughts on TWV - 09/01/01
Article ID: 3611
Age Group: Adult
Days Up: 4,610
Times Read: 8,157
Posted: September 9th. 2001
Times Viewed: 8,157
Notes from a Pagan WebCrafter
Past, Present and Future...
Greetings Witches, Wiccans and Pagans,
Must be that time of the year! Over the past few weeks we have gone into reconstruction mode, our wheels are turning, we are mapping out ways to find the time to get back to some long overdue changes here at Witchvox.
Ironically it was exactly one year ago that we launched version 5.0 of Witches of the World. (see Witchvox Weekly update 9/11/2000 for details). Due to financial, technical and time limitations, R & D here at TWV has stalled big time. Sadly this is one of my fave areas to put time into. Daily maintenance here at TWV can be all consuming and it's time to step back, do some serious rethinking of who we are, what we are doing and more importantly where we are going. Your thoughts of this past week have, as always, inspired us in a big way.
This week I had planned on focusing on the other suggestions that many of you offered two weeks ago when we asked "What if YOU ran the Witches' Voice?"... I will touch on more of them later in this article. My mission of the moment is to free up time for some serious R & D. in the weeks to come...
Our Dilemmas and our Opportunities...
The Past: A year ago at this time, we released version 5 of WOTW. That dramatic rewrite was a smashing success and essentially quadrupled the traffic at witchvox.net. WOTW, by itself, is responsible for 2/3 of our traffic and generates 1 million "pages viewed" on a monthly basis. As a database programmer I was thrilled to see it take off and had hundreds of enhancement ideas. This joy was quickly squashed by the fact that we hit the wall as far as what we could deliver with our server shortly after version 5 went up. So much coolness never happened.
WOTW is a Mac based webstar/lasso/filemaker solution. The two weak links are; Filemaker is not multi-threaded and the up-speed of our pipe that delivers these pages to you averages 'round 350 mps (ADSL Gold). It's all we can afford, it's what we have to work with.
What is MOST frustrating is that all plans for a dynamic front end of Witchvox STILL haven't happened. I have been as patient as I can waiting for tools related to my skill set to be delivered. I am running out of patience
The Present: A few of you suggested that we look at PHPnuke and the like. PHP is a robust (abet bloated) programming language that certainly has the power to pull data from tables and much more. Since I work with sql2000 in a big way at my day job, I am very comfortable with the database calls. Upon checking out many PHPnuke related sites I noticed that they looked pretty much the same. The last thing we want to evolve TWV is to is something that looks "canned". This ain't gonna happen. From what I have witnessed, PHP doesn't seem to offer much more, in features, than the lasso language that we already use. WHAT is interesting about PHP, to me, is that it is FREE and is embraced by 100 times the users that lasso does.
Although, we have been planning on a webstar/lasso/mysql solution (via Mac OS 10.1). We are seriously considering an apache/php/mysql solution (via Linux or Mac OS 10.1). Festival God, Mac Bigot and Pagan Elder, Wade Berlin offered us an opportunity to take some of this technology for a spin just this past week. Also this past week we upped our personal Roadrunner cable connection to "business class" and paid their stupid price for a static ip. Although, this will be expensive, we do hope that it is temporary and a way to develop some PHP/mysql skills.
The Future: Our short term plans are to use witchesvoice.org as a testing ground for these new technologies. We plan on moving Wren's nest, Pagan perspectives and our site map (a new dynamic one) to this domain in the next few weeks. This will serve a few critical needs. 1). Give WOTW over at Witchvox.net a break, hence rendering better performance for YOUR networking needs and 2) add a portal from Wren's Nest to our front pages.
Your Wonderful Suggestions:
Bless YOU for your inspiring suggestions related to the future of Witchvox. Allow me to quickly share our thoughts on some of your suggestions... Kindly note that it has never been our intention to be everything to everyone, nor have we ever desired to be a one stop Pagan site.
Message Boards and Instant Commenting: For us to even consider the expense involved in the bandwidth hit that we'd take by doing message board(s) or chatroom(s) we'd have to all but kill our networking section. This will not be happening in the near future. It is worth noting that we list over 300 message boards and elists in our VoxLinks Pagan Search Engine. We encourage you to visit these sites and share your wisdom. It really appears that this need has been fulfilled.
Picture Gallery: Several of you noted that you'd like to see again the hundreds of photos that we've featured on our weekly updates over the years. We do still have them and agree that this is a wonderful idea. Compiling this images for the web would be a daunting task to say the least but do know that it is on our 'white board' and scheduled for the future.
Witchvox... A Wicca Site?
Huh? Even to the casual observer, TWV is not, nor has ever been a "Wicca Site"... Neither, Wren or myself or most of our staff are Wiccan, so there is no "hidden agenda" her folks. Since day one we have welcomed and noted "Witch, Wiccan and Pagan" in just about everything we written. We will continue to do so. Since the majority OF the NeoPagan community refers to themselves AS Wiccan, it only makes sense that that would influence the content of a community site like TWV. If YOU want to better celebrate YOUR path, add to this pool of thought and send something in about your trad. In fact we have a very busy section called just that "Pagan Traditions".
Let's face it, Wicca has been put forward to the society at large, over the years, as a softer word than Witch. Not by us, but by many. Back in 1996 had we thought differently we would have simply called this "The Wiccan Voice".
It's worth noting that our FAQ's and NeoPagan basics section are not presented as "sacred text" and were created to serve the "outside world" with VERY general NeoPagan beliefs ... Wren did rewrite of the FAQ's to reflect recent trends back in 1998 and will no doubt do another rewrite in the near future, in that our community IS in a constant state of change and evolvement.
So... If you are looking for Witchvox to single out one of the countless paths, traditions or solitary was under the Pagan/Traditionalist/Mystic/Occult umbrella and proclaim it the "true path", you have come to the wrong place. Ironically, many have criticized us over the years for NOT doing exactly just that.
In closing allow me to once again thank you all for your constructive criticism of Witchvox. Even the cheap shots were noted.
Proudly in Your Service,
Monday, September 10th. 2001
Location: Clearwater¼ v2, Florida
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