World of Spectrum Classic FAQ

World Of Spectrum Classic (WoSC) is the spiritual successor to the legendary World Of Spectrum site. However, the sheer amount of information and resources available can be daunting. The original WoS FAQ should answer most of your questions about the site contents, so this FAQ is specific to WoSC, it’s aims, ambitions and hopes.

WoS Overview

The Present

The Future


WoS Overview

What is WoS? (from the original WoS)
The WoS is the world’s biggest and most popular archive of Spectrum related material. It plays host to a huge archive of software including utilities, games, tools, type-ins, TR-DOS games, et al. The archive also includes documentation, instructions for games, magazine scans, tape inlays and other assorted stuff. Go ahead, click on the Archive link on the WoS homepage to find all the goodies (notice the scrollbar)!

What is WoS Classic?
WoSC is a reincarnation of the old WoS site, before the complete transformation that took place in mid-June 2020. It aims to retain the look and feel of the original site, but be updated more often, be easier to navigate and use, make better use of modern technologies and standards and be far easier to maintain. In short, it will be what WoS could have been had it been kept up to date. That said, WoSC concentrates on only content and releases prior to the rise of the ‘modern scene’, and thus nothing released after March 2015 will be covered.

Who ran the original site? (from the original WoS)
WoS was the brain child of Martijn van der Heide. It was started by him in 1995 as a website dedicated to hosting Spectrum games but it soon grew into a behemoth hosting anything and everything under the sun that was remotely connected to the Spectrum. He provides the hosting capabilities and resources to run WoS and is the lead maintainer.

Apart from Martijn, there were co-maintainers who help run the site and manage the contents on a daily basis. The other maintainers are Andy Barker, Steve Brown, Tony Barnett, Paul Hurd, Juan Pablo López-Grao, Philip Kendall, Gerard Sweeney and Lee Fogarty. Indeed much of WoS’s growth and usefulness is due to the dedication and commitment of all the maintainers and contributors in making WoS what it is. A more in-depth rundown of who does what can be found on this page.

Who runs this thing?
The WoSC team are a small group of Spectrum enthusiasts with the technical knowledge, experience of the community and desire to keep some things the same while the world moves forward. However, the site won’t be anything without the community, so while the team are central to the running of the site, it is you – the reader – who are responsible for its content, progression and growth. Your contributions, advice and use of the site are everything!

Why was WoS Classic started?
When the WoS site was handed over to the present custodian, all updates (both in technical and content) stopped, and the site sat there rotting for a number of years whilst a new version was being ‘developed’. Whilst the community was frustrated that nothing was moving, the site still worked adequately, and was still the number one source for Spectrum downloads, information and entertainment.

A brilliant alternative in Spectrum Computing has existed for a few years, and does an excellent job of recreating the Sinclair Infoseek. Sadly, many people have preferred to stick with their beloved WoS.

As time passed, some parts of WoS ceased to function and it was becoming clear that a replacement of either the site or its maintainer was required, and some members of the WoSC team even looked into the possibility of setting up a rival or attempting to obtain WoS for the good of the community.

None of these came to pass, however, as there was no real incentive while WoS was still doing its job. That all changed in June 2020 when the new version of WoS was launched, to almost universal lament. Vast swathes of information and resources were missing, and the features that did exist were slow, buggy and hard to use. Over 90% of the links to WoS from search engines were broken overnight, including any links to pages on the site from elsewhere on the web. As of the launch date of WoSC, many of these links were still broken and the site was plagued by multiple outages that lasted for unacceptably long times, very little was done to improve the new site and no attempt was made to revert to the old site while the problems were ironed out.

The simplicity and ease of use of WoS were gone, the replacement was bereft of charm or character, and it was unpleasant to use.

The WoSC team decided that it was now or never; something had to be done to protect the content and information, return the WoS experience to the community and attempt to wrest control of this precious resource away. Using previously obtained resources, a big crunch proceeded to rebuild what could rebuilt, to fix problems that had existed on the old site as much as possible, and place the site on a technically more advanced and robust platform.

The goal was clear – Provide a modern World Of Spectrum site and community with the essence of the original.

Is WoS Classic affiliated with WoS?
Not at all. WoSC is completely independent from WoS and has received no blessing or authorisation. However, where WoS is closed (in more ways than one), the WoSC team aim to be open, embracing and responsive to the community and the changing internet.

The Present

What can WoS Classic currently do?
Since the launch there have been many updates, and most of the original functionality of WoS has been recreated and augmented.

  • Archive – you can browse categories and titles alphabetically. The item pages should still be working as well as they did previously
  • Infoseek – arguably the most important part of WoS is Sinclair Infoseek, and we are pleased to have returned this functionality in a form very close to the original
  • Usage of the assets from the 90Gb dump from TOSEC with all the assets from WoS and elsewhere, utilising the data in ZXBD and ZX Info.
  • Preservation – many of the preservation projects linked to in the archive pages have their content, although submissions don’t currently work
  • Assets – scans from games and ripped music and screenshots are partially available.
  • Charts – the top 100s generated on the old site are still available in static form. With help from the community these can become realistic charts again
  • DocumentationIn MemoriamHardwareProject AY content – this should all be available and was the biggest loss when WoS was updated. They are still available in static form and we shall have a consultation as to whether to update them or leave them as a memorial.
  • EmulatorsUtiiltiesSales (active houses), Links etc – the links to items hosted on WoS still work, and so do any to external sites that previously worked (provided the external sites still exist)
  • Site Awards – it works. Whether it’s relevant is debatable
  • Links from search engines from other sites – it is our intention that every link should work as it did when it was made, with the caveat that you must change .org to .net in the web address. As far as we can tell, this is still the case.

What isn’t working?
We are working hard to fix certain areas that made WoS brilliant. However, some things are impossible to recreate without code, databases or the desire to do so;

  • Remakes – this section was missing from the data we rebuilt from. If there’s demand, we can try and restore it, and update it where relevant
  • Forums – they still work but are nothing to do with WoSC
  • Chat – the information is provided to connect to IRC, but it is nothing to do with us
  • ZX Certification – this may never return, anywhere. We do have access to parts of the source code and questions, but none of the database; a hard life for those who studied and prepared for the exam
  • Much functionality around contact forms, stats and random title selection. We are working on this right now.
  • External links – there are hundreds of dead links, almost all because the target site has long since gone. There will be a content clean-up at some point

A concerted effort is underway to restore this missing content, as this is the true lifeblood of the original site.

What are the technical specs?
The site is hosted on Digital Ocean, running on Ubuntu Linux with PHP and Nginx.

The CMS is a highly customised version of WordPress with internal optimisations to handle the roughly 50,000 records in the database, the central part of which is powered by the open source ZXDB.

THe database is MariaDB aided by memcached and Varnish caching. The server sits behind the CloudFlare DNS network, which helps to provide a fast response anywhere around the world, protection from attacks and provides a content distribution service. SSL certificates are also provided by CloudFlare, with Let’s Encrypt behind the scenes. The email service utilises Mailgun.

Whilst we are not privy to the hosting costs of the WoS site, we are confident that our costs are a fraction of it, and provide a far more reliable and performant experience to the end user.

The Future

How long will WoS Classic be around?
As with anything, we have no idea. We hope for a long time!

We don’t plan to suddenly disappear and take the content with us; once the site is up and running, arrangements will be made so that the data is safe should there be technical, legal or any other kind of take-down. WoSC is the community.

If the site disappears voluntarily – as a result of other developments – you can rest assured that everything will be safe and the essence and spirit of WoS will live on in one form or another.

Are you going to be adding / updating the database?
The initial plan was to keep pace with modern releases and software, but as these areas are covered by WoS and Spectrum Computing, it was felt that being the best possible version of the classic site was a more appropriate aim. Imagine the site remaining as it was in March 2015 forever! Of course, should an extra information or resources become available from prior to this date then it will of course be updated.

Do you plan any site updates?
The site has already gone through several iterations behind the scenes to improve its usability and speed, particularly for mobile users and in areas where the original lacked.

However, although a good deal of progress has been made, it is still based on templates that have been largely unchanged since the 90s, and a new version built from scratch is in the works. Rest assured, that it will look, feel and behave exactly like the classic WoS.

There are several micro sites that site within the WoSC hierarchy, and getting them running autonomously is also a target. Nothing will change for the website visitor but it will make housekeeping a lot easier, and will allow sections to be managed separately if desired (should either the original author, or a volunteer come forward).

Will you add any new sections?
When the site is effectively a modern version of the old WoS, we will look in to adding new parts – new sections, functionality and features. This will be done in consultation and with the help of the community. As to how this proceeds and what is added is up to you!

Can I get involved?
By all means. For the moment, just spreading the word and letting us know of any problems (either on the site or out on the web) is enough. The site is ticking along nicely as it is, but it would be great if more people knew the site existed, so they can re-live their golden memories.

There are plans to have a formal team with a level of accountability and responsibility so that the site can never be held hostage and ruined ever again.


Can I contact the WoS Classic team?
The best way to contact us is through social media, either on Twitter, or through our Facebook page.

There is a contact form should you wish to send a more private or lengthy message.

We will make every effort to respond to any messages we receive.

Can I share links to the site and its content?
Of course! In fact we encourage links to the site. Most will be almost identical to old WoS links, so these existing ones should be easily convertible by changing the .org to .net. Where the address has changed, we will look to add a redirect so that links aren’t broken.

I own content on the site and would like it removed
No problem at all. Please contact us using one of the methods above, and if you can demonstrate that you do own the content, we are happy to oblige. We would prefer that it remains, but your work is your work.

What is the greatest Spectrum game of all time?
Various polls on social media and on the web put Manic Miner and Jetpac at the top. The Top 100 on WoS rates R-TypeThe Great Escape and Fairlight as best. Chase HQ and Deathchase topped magazine polls back in the day and members of the WoSC team favour Target: RenegadeRescue and Sqij*. Of course, it is all subjective and we hope to have the ratings system back online very soon!

*not really