If anytime between Monday and Wednesday this week you tried to visit the blogs, discussion or (recent) album reviews sections on the CLUAS site you would have been met with a message that those sections were temporarily disabled (all other sections including the home page and end of year poll were not effected). This has all now been sorted since late last night.
The problem was that on Sunday I upgraded the site to the latest version of the technology that runs these parts of the sites use but then I hit some problems. I decided on Monday to roll the site back to the earlier version but quikcly hit a few roadblocks when i engaged the reverse gear. However all is now sorted.
This was all basically my fault. I preformed the (shamefully) elementary mistake of upgrading a live site without testing the upgrade in a test environment. What's more, the technically literate among you will be horrified that to I have never had a test environment for these parts of the site. Until now that is. After the hassles of the last week of I have copped on and set up a complete replication of the site on my laptop where I can play around and test upgrades and the like before going live with them. This means that upgrades should be painless in the future.
The good news is that I have to say that the technical hiccups of the last few weeks have given me a MUCH greater insight into the technology we use, its strengths and weaknesses, and I now have a greater confidence in it (and my ability to make the most of it).
Also the open source project that creates the software that runs our site have some very interesting extra functionalities coming up in a release planned for early 2008. the most interesting for me is the ability to have a "content approval work flow", i.e. someone publishes something but it does not go live until it has been approved by someone who is assigned with the authority to do that (this means we could, for example, have a team of sub-editors charged with the approval of such content). This is the one thing that, up to now, i felt was really missing in the technology we use. With this sort of approach we can invite anyone (not just existing writers) to publish something on the site which, pending approval by a sub editor, will quickly go live (instead of waiting for me, etc). It also means I can move the whole features section to this sort of approach (again, reducing my work load).
We have had some short term headaches over the last 2 weeks but the longer term picture is even brighter than I thought.