A Long Delay And Major Updates

Wow, it’s been over a year since the last announced update. There have been tweaks throughout 2021 but nothing big. Lots of reasons behind that but hopefully that’s the last big gap.

The main reason – of course – has been the ongoing pandemic and the pressure it is putting people in their professional and personal lives. Needless to say it’s taken its toll on the team and thus any kind of sustainable effort has been challenging.

The other has been the realisation that running a website that covers current software releases is very difficult and time consuming, and thus the decision has been taken to change the focus of WoSC from being another up-to-date repository and to concentrate on being the best possible version of the site as it was. The current WOS and Spectrum Computing have current releases tied up, so another site doing the same thing would be pointless. A fuller post regarding this change of direction and some exciting announcements about the sites future will follow very soon.

So, what has been updated? From a technical level, lots of stuff. The architecture of the site has been completely upgraded so that updates and deploys are simple. The site now relies on a local version of the open source ZXDB for data and only uses external services for searching, something that will change in the very near future. As always, we are extremely grateful to the ZXDB team for providing this invaluable resource, without which a lot of Spectrum sites just couldn’t function. An added bonus of this is that you can now browse a definitive (ish) list of releases by author or publisher, and the existing static pages within the archive are in the process of being updated to better reflect the available entries. The counts on the archive pages and most of the main subpages are also correct. Sadly, we have temporarily lost the type-ins section, but this will return very soon.

The site should now (mostly) work on mobile devices, although still from from ideal. This has always been an issue due to the nature of the site’s structure. Mobile devices simply didn’t exist when the original WOS was launched and trying to browse it on a small screen has always been tricky, much less viewing or enjoying any of the content and downloads. Therefore, this release represents the last of the current templates. With a new code base in place, a new set of templates will be built that are far more usable on the modern web but will stay true to the spirit of the original.

The final thing to announce today is the intention to perform a full overhaul of the site content. So much of it is old, out of date and obsolete. Although anything that currently exists will still be available, it would be a good time to update where appropriate, provide corrections and show how it has changed since it was originally written. There are lots of micro sites that exist on the WoSC domain – and they will be preserved – but the main site needs attention. New content is also being added, several new resources have been uploaded and will be announced soon, and it’s not impossible that some old beloved features that disappeared could be resurrected.

This has been a very long update, but only really scratches the surface. Several – more focused – updates will follow in the next few weeks, and the site itself will become even more usable, which isn’t bad for something that has existed largely unchanged for 25 years.

Thanks for reading, and keep it Speccy.

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