Author Topic: Aditnow having code issues, going dark :(  (Read 2455 times)

Offline Brains

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Aditnow having code issues, going dark :(
« on: January 26, 2021, 05:14:57 pm »
https://www.aditnow.co.uk/Community/viewtopic.aspx?p=207863#msg207863

A sad day for mine exploration, just seen this posted on AN by Simon and quoted below. He is the main man over there...


I have a very sad announcement to make. Something I never thought I'd have to say.

AditNow is going to close. This is going to either be for an extended period or permanently.

The site as we know it has been around for 15 years, and whilst it has been added to and rewritten extensively in that time there is quite a lot of code that is now too old to run on an up to date web server, and this presents all sorts of problems.

My plan is to slowly rewrite the site, introducing features as they are re-built. All time permitting.

But for the moment it is going to have to take a breather.

The database and photo archive are quite safe.

I cannot apologise enough to all the people who use and enjoy this site, and who have spent time and energy adding to it. I am myself devastated.

Offline gingernutcrazy

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Re: Aditnow having code issues, going dark :(
« Reply #1 on: January 26, 2021, 05:36:08 pm »
Hoping it will come back one day... It's a pretty important website for industrial archaeology and archaeology/history in general. 
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Offline NASIR

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Re: Aditnow having code issues, going dark :(
« Reply #2 on: January 26, 2021, 05:49:07 pm »
Maybe we can scrape the site and rehost it hahaha

Offline mikem

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Re: Aditnow having code issues, going dark :(
« Reply #3 on: January 26, 2021, 05:57:20 pm »
Maybe we can scrape the site and rehost it hahaha
Probably quicker than them doing it themselves...

There are several other mining options.

Offline Tseralo

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Online SamT

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Re: Aditnow having code issues, going dark :(
« Reply #5 on: January 26, 2021, 06:47:31 pm »
Previous post removed as it was unnecessarily offensive.

Offline pwhole

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Re: Aditnow having code issues, going dark :(
« Reply #6 on: January 26, 2021, 11:10:54 pm »
It's a huge shame as it's a magnificent resource and data archive, and as a major contributor I'm gutted, but we have to hope it can be resolved eventually, and great credit goes to Simon and the team for all the work they've put into it over the years. If you've never checked it, have a quick look and see what you're going to miss.

Offline crickleymal

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Re: Aditnow having code issues, going dark :(
« Reply #7 on: January 27, 2021, 01:36:23 am »
Yes a great shame. I see that the mine explorer site run by Miles has never reappeared.
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Offline tdobson

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Re: Aditnow having code issues, going dark :(
« Reply #8 on: January 27, 2021, 02:15:22 am »
Maybe we can scrape the site and rehost it hahaha

wget --mirror http://aditnow.co.uk ?

Or does anyone know the HTTrack syntax?

Offline mikem

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Re: Aditnow having code issues, going dark :(
« Reply #9 on: January 27, 2021, 08:20:48 am »
Some of the regulars here are showing their appreciation:
https://www.aditnow.co.uk/Community/viewtopic.aspx?p=207966

Online Badlad

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Re: Aditnow having code issues, going dark :(
« Reply #10 on: January 27, 2021, 09:50:55 am »
Can someone explain in layman terms what the problem with the code etc is?  Is it because the site uses 'home made' software which has now become unsupportable?

Cheers

Offline ChrisJC

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Re: Aditnow having code issues, going dark :(
« Reply #11 on: January 27, 2021, 10:12:07 am »
Can someone explain in layman terms what the problem with the code etc is?  Is it because the site uses 'home made' software which has now become unsupportable?

Cheers

Basically yes, I believe that is exactly the problem.

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Offline Wayland Smith

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Re: Aditnow having code issues, going dark :(
« Reply #12 on: January 27, 2021, 10:14:21 am »
Can someone explain in layman terms what the problem with the code etc is?  Is it because the site uses 'home made' software which has now become unsupportable?Cheers
That about sums it up Badlad.
The site as we know it has been around for 15 years, and whilst it has been added to and rewritten extensively in that time there is quite a lot of code that is now too old to run on an up to date web server, and this presents all sorts of problems.

Offline RobinGriffiths

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Re: Aditnow having code issues, going dark :(
« Reply #13 on: January 27, 2021, 10:36:26 am »
AN is a bit more than just a forum in that it's also got mines sites gazeteer, documents, events and photographs integrated within it. I'm not sure what the actual stack is, but the front end is Asp .Net which nowdays is deader than your nan's budgerigar. 15 years ago, that would have been the way to go.

Online Pegasus

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Re: Aditnow having code issues, going dark :(
« Reply #14 on: January 27, 2021, 10:46:26 am »
This is sad news.  When we first took over UKC I asked what we should do and more than one person said be like AditNow.

I too would be devastated. What a bloody shame  :(

Offline droid

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Re: Aditnow having code issues, going dark :(
« Reply #15 on: January 27, 2021, 06:42:33 pm »
Is there no way that UKC can help*

Yes I realise to some people this is heresy but times change and AN is an immensely valuable resource with its forum and mine database.
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Online PeteHall

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Re: Aditnow having code issues, going dark :(
« Reply #16 on: January 27, 2021, 07:09:25 pm »
I'm sure it would not be too hard to move the AN forum to another platform (such as the Simple Machines platform used here on UKC) however I suspect that it is the huge database that is the difficult part and ultimately, that is what makes AN what it is. There is such a vast wealth of information stored there it would be a great shame to lose it, or at least, lose access to it, even if the data is safe.

Offline ditzy

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Re: Aditnow having code issues, going dark :(
« Reply #17 on: January 27, 2021, 09:40:01 pm »
Great site, great info, great pictures. will be a shame to see this go.  :doubt:

Offline tdobson

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Re: Aditnow having code issues, going dark :(
« Reply #18 on: January 27, 2021, 09:56:30 pm »
Can someone explain in layman terms what the problem with the code etc is?  Is it because the site uses 'home made' software which has now become unsupportable?

Worth probably adding the ways it is probably becoming unsupportable:
* It's likely (given the age of the stack) that it has become impossible to keep secure in a meaningful way. Keeping user passwords etc from bored and malicious eyes is a particular challenge for a 10 year old piece of software that may not be possible to run on the latest secure things.
* It's also likely that it has been patched up, and stickytaped, and glued for many many years but now - as the admin says - needs to be rewritten from scratch, feature by feature.

There *are* things the admin can do to keep the site online:
* run the site behind a WAF
* switch some elements of the site to read-only
* migrate the forum to a third party piece of software

But it's fair to say all these come at a cost of enthusiasm and energy, which are usually limiting factors for any established project.
It's often easy to find energy when something is new and growing, and challenging when something is established and yet significant work must be done to keep the status quo.

I feel like (and I'm totally backseat driving here) were I in the drivers seat, I'd take the following steps:
0) Make sure I have a really good backup
1) Put a reverse proxy in front of whatever is there (IIS?)
2) Figure out the most important interactive part of the site (I'm a newb to AN, but that'd be the forum?)
3) For the moment, acknowledge that updates to less important parts are not going to be possible
4) Generate a static copy of the less important parts (eg the mine database) and use the reverse proxy to host it as static content
5) Use the reverse proxy to pipe through a WAF to the existing forum area.
6) In this stage, all functionality is now read-only except the forum - which is now somewhat protected from baddies

Next:
0) Make sure I have a really good backup
1) Work on the hard and annoying job of migrating the forum schema to something more standard. This will be annoying, hard and boring. Probably.
2) When the import and migration process it seems good, take a final snapshot of the forum database, switch the reverse proxy from the old forum via the WAF, to the new forum software.
3) Test it ;)

Next:
0) Make sure I have a really good backup
1) Current situation: new forum is working well with all the old content - some functionality is in "read only" because it hasn't been moved to new architecture yet.
2) Write the Mine database thing and other stuff
3) Swap out the static content for the new Mine Database software written in pure QBasic
4) Migrate the entire backend database to MS Access 95
5) Redesign the front page in MS Publisher with extra Wordart

Ok... I got a bit bored in the last three points - but the migration plan is fairly possible and has the advantages:
a) no content goes offline
b) communications and community retained
c) I would suggest it's possible and feasible

But who am I to know. I'm sure a few extra techie hands wouldn't go amiss - any volunteers rolling around here?

Offline droid

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Re: Aditnow having code issues, going dark :(
« Reply #19 on: January 27, 2021, 10:21:08 pm »
Bloody hell  :o
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Re: Aditnow having code issues, going dark :(
« Reply #20 on: January 28, 2021, 05:16:45 am »
Some people don't realise that Simon is more than aware of what needs to be done and how to do it. A lot of you are underestimating the sheer scale of the project. He wouldn't make this call if there was a viable alternative that wouldn't constitute a major project.
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Offline cavemanmike

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Re: Aditnow having code issues, going dark :(
« Reply #21 on: January 28, 2021, 11:38:15 am »
It's good that he did make the call, many mind's and all that.
With the massive task ahead he could do with all the help he needs. Good luck

Offline pwhole

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Re: Aditnow having code issues, going dark :(
« Reply #22 on: January 28, 2021, 12:14:32 pm »
I suspect if a full re-design is required, then the techniques to implement it will need re-thinking from the bottom-up, and Simon's plenty capable of that - but as he pointed out, he needs some time to think, so let's give him that, and be prepared to help if asked. Not that I can write code, but you know, moral support - and certainly testing ;)

Online royfellows

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Re: Aditnow having code issues, going dark :(
« Reply #23 on: January 28, 2021, 01:10:23 pm »
From aditnow homepage:

Service update

I couldn't bring myself to close the site completely. Too many people have put too much time into it. So I've stripped it back to a working read-only archive, and can now set about re-writing to a modern standard.

It's going to be a long job, so please bear with me; and certain areas I'm not yet sure how to address, whether to write from scratch or use an off the shelf solution. But the end result will be a modern, slimmed down site, that works on mobile devices.
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Offline ditzy

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Re: Aditnow having code issues, going dark :(
« Reply #24 on: January 28, 2021, 02:51:52 pm »
its good to hear AN isnt going to go offline completely. i look foward to the future redone site  :thumbsup: :bounce:

 

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