The Mod Archive
Perhaps unsurprisingly, if I wasn’t at work I was working at home- on a massive project- the new Mod Archive website – database driven and built from scratch to replace the aging Mod Archive set up originally by a bunch of co-founders who left for other projects leaving the sole star coder Mikael ‘Stary’ Hedberg to bring it up to version 1.0, which stuck around for a couple of years and was genuinely great.
Unfortunately this too was eventually abandoned and creaking under the strain of the site’s increasing popularity, it running from flat text files and some very specialised perl scripts for a search engine, it was beginning to break. Due to life challenges presented to Stary he stepped aside to focus on his health and after quite some pestering, allowed me to take on the admin lead despite me not knowing a single line of code. I promptly purchased a couple of O’Reily “in a nutshell” books and began work.
Writing all the the conversion tools to migrate the site to my database, while keeping the look of the site the same this was the era of Version 2.0, with switchable themes to get our users used to the move to the new system.
The site in my version-3 form was featured in Sound on Sound which was a super boost, but it was far from finished because I was not satisfied with the look and feel.
After many more years of hard work on the code as well as the graphic design on top of doing my day job at the telecom company I was also involved in community support and all sorts of funny internet dramas. I eventually presented The Mod Archive verison 4.1b to the world on April 1st 2008, and it is still there to this day – as from 2012, the site was transferred from dedicated hosting to Scenesat where it remains operational.
Screencaps for Posterity (PDF)
A quote from the About page to give an idea of my backstory:
Initially joining the fold around 1997 as an artist, then reviewer, then crew member and eventually landing the administrative lead in 2004. Red took the site to new heights by recoding and implementing the Modarchive 2.0 followed by 3.0, 4.0b, and is now responsible for all aspects of the site – participating both as a member and a crew person.
Fun nerd fact: The Mod Archive hosted on the .org domain was built from the ground up in the text editor ”vi” (not even vim) with development and testing happening on a personal SPARC-based Solaris host.
Eventually hitting the sweet spot for the design including the logo and overall site theme, it finally stuck with TMA version 4.0.
There are a couple of easter eggs hidden in the site, for instance if manipulating the http query for the wiki pages you can find the help page for ”mp3” where it will show the following test page and a clicky link that will let you change the site theme to something a little peculiar 😀
As mentioned earlier, after many years of providing dedicated support and fun for the community, the pressure of several other major work related projects put tremendous strain on personal wellness that resulted in the unfortunate but necessary decision to step back from the development role and site activities some time in 2012. I still miss the community a great deal but I cannot afford to be distracted by the project and it still has claws that no doubt will grab me at any opportunity with more “free” work for me to do, not good for my own sanity!
But before I finished, you should see some of the pictures and photos that came from the community surrounding TMA. These were the golden years.
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