Sunday, 5 June 2016

Whatever happened to the 1980s timewarp Website?

"If Timewarp was a loco it's status would be: Stored Serviceable."

The main 1980's Timewarp site was built up over a 13+ year period, with countless hours of painstaking research put into it. Over time, our site became increasingly popular, and as the site grew it was becoming increasingly difficult to keep it up to date with some pages not getting an update in months and in some cases years. A massive backlog of new information (gen) and photos had built up awaiting processing. It was taking up more and more time to put smaller and smaller updates together. There were many issues really, building up over time...

The main parts of the site were hosted by my former ISP, and the allocated 50Mb webspace was full and had been for some time, I had to remove the popular 1970's gen pages just to make space to allow any updates to continue at all. I also became aware of increasing numbers of discrepancies within the site's data and didn't want to get the blame for any screwing up of history as a consequence of this.

One major problem was that we needed to migrate the site from static pages to dynamic pages which is a more up to date way of working. This was, in theory at least, possible or so we thought with our former ISP. As far back as 2006 we tried this, but the way our ISP set things up, I could not import data or so it seemed, so I would have to sit there and type it all up again, plus everything new going forward... And this was not practical. So, we would need to relocate the site, something that we knew could not be achieved overnight. It was a big decision and something we kept on putting off, and off, and putting it off some more...

December 2013. The site, now almost entirely the work of one person, with all the issues of lack of space, backlog of data and not enough time, and a load of other stuff too, it just saw the site grind to a total stand still. We had no choice but to make that move happen if we were to continue.

As hardly a day had passed without some time being spent on Timewarp since the summer of 1999, so I wanted to take a few weeks away from it, then we would take a few weeks to put things back together and we would be back bigger and better than ever! That was the plan anyway. Now no longer with my former ISP, they took the old site down.

Only once I stopped the updates did I realise just how the site had taken over, so a few weeks became a few months, then a few months more. I'd been turning down nights out, trips on the train, all sorts, and putting off household tasks because I was 'too busy'. Guess what with? No coincidence that I've got more moves in the book since December 2012 than in the 'Timewarp' period before that? Hopefully, this will also explain why so many, once popular sites have disappeared or not been updated in ages. It's just so much easier to post stuff on Facebook but not so easy to look stuff up.

Anyway, I started back with the site, late Summer 2013, mostly tiding the data, working through the backlog, but only as and when, not treating it almost as a (unpaid) job as before, but I still dare not look at my email. So, early 2015, 'suddenly' I had more time on my hands, enough to even check my email. Loads of mails asking where the site was and when would it be back. Rather than reply, I felt time better spent carrying on working through until I had something positive to report. I even spoke to a few people back then, but their response was not at all helpful, but undeterred, I carried on. I was able to revive our old Classic Haulage URL.

"We've been away for far too long, but now we're back."

Summer 2016. This blog is an attempt to finally revive the Timewarp web presence.
Timewarp is much too big a job for one person, so going forward we are looking at much more of a collaboration and things are progressing in that direction and things are happening behind the scenes.

An archive of Timewarp can be found here.
Is it going too far to say that Timewarp is another branch of Railway Preservation?
Is Timewarp still needed or even wanted?
Is more of a collaboration a good idea?
Your comments are welcome in the box below.

"If Timewarp was a loco it's status would be: Stored Serviceable."
'UD' & 'Clayhead' - Preserving the gen online since 1999...

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