World Of Spectrum Classic (WoS Classic, or 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.
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.
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.
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 are still broken, and the current maintainer either doesn’t care or is unable to rectify this situation, which is reflective of his entire tenure. Despite dozens of posts in the first few days, and 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; faced with this incompetent and beligerant individual and his small group of accomplices, 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.
What can WoS Classic currently do?
Quite a lot, considering there is no database, and very little code running on the server at the moment;
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;
What is going to be added in the near future?
Now that Infoseek is up and running, we are working to incorporate the whole site into a CMS, so that updates will be faster and easier.
We air aiming for a full launch on 30th July 2020.
What are the technical specs?
The site is hosted on Digital Ocean, running on Ubuntu Linux with PHP and Nginx.
Future developments will integrate a MariaDB database 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 caching service. SSL certificates are also provided by CloudFlare, although Let’s Encrypt will be used in the future. The limited 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.
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 takedown. 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?
Once the initial launch and updates have been done, which will make adding new titles and content easier, we certainly want to.
The software database is a large part of the site, but the technical articles and feature pieces are very important as well. These will be added to rather than being replaced or updated.
Do you plan any site updates?
After the initial, essential updates are done, we will be taking stock and working out what we need to do, how to do it, and in which order.
The first job is likely to be updating the underlying system and page structure. The site is currently maintained by manually editing HTML files and this is far from ideal. We plan to slowly convert the site to using a CMS, and with HTML structure that can be understood better by search engines, accessibility tools and social media sites. We hope to have greater integration with ZXDB, and hopefully start a two-way partnership.
Mobile browsing is important, so we hope to make the new structure easier on small screens and touch controls. This will need to be done in conjunction with making the HTML of the pages more modern and care needs to be taken to retain the ‘look and feel’ of the site.
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.
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. Once we start adding titles and articles, we will be looking for people to make submissions and check details and accuracy.
In the longer term, when we do start adding new sections or if the site starts to get busy, we may be looking for more technical knowledge. This may be from a coding or server operations point of view, but designers, writers, testers, social media experts and knowledgable Speccy fans would be just a few of the members we may need.
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 on the site but we envisage that will receive a lot of spam and noise (at least until we make it a bit more sophisticated), so your message may slip through.
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.
I would like to add my own content to the site
Brilliant! Get in contact with us and we will see what we can do. As mentioned above, we won’t be adding anything new for a while, but if you have something you wish to share we would be happy to include it as soon as is practical. Where possible, we will add a credit and a link.
We would especially like recent games as very little has been added since 2014 and the scene is thriving.
We would also like features on modern hardware. The landscape has changed so much in the last 5-10 years, with the introduction of the Recreated Spectrum, the Vega and the Next, along with clones such as the Omni and the Harlequin. Replacement cases are doing a roaring trade, and the number of new interfaces and add-ons is astounding. Almost none of this has been covered on WoS and we would like to rectify that.
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-Type, The 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: Renegade, Rescue and Sqij*. Of course, it is all subjective and we hope to have the ratings system back online very soon!