Go Back   Horizons Unlimited - The HUBB > Horizons Unlimited > Website Feedback
Website Feedback Help us improve the website!
Give us your suggestions and ideas about how to improve the site, new content ideas and anything else you can think of. Also please tell us about problems you run into, design flaws, broken links etc. All suggestions appreciated! It's your site, so help us to make it better for you!
Photo by George Guille, It's going to be a long 300km... Bolivian Amazon

I haven't been everywhere...
but it's on my list!


Photo by George Guille
It's going to be a long 300km...
Bolivian Amazon



Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 18 Aug 2011
Grant Johnson's Avatar
HU Founder
Veteran HUBBer
 
Join Date: Dec 1997
Location: BC Canada
Posts: 7,229
Software horribilus... where it all went wrong

Just so everyone knows...

Though it was supposed to happen in March, the website software upgrade finally went live in May just before we left for Ireland, and the nightmare began :-(

Mike from Mexico expressed a sentiment that we're sure is shared by many of our long-suffering HUBB users:

"I am not sure why you did that update that caused you so many problems, because it was running fine before that."

The reason we did it was quite simple - we had to - the software versions we were running were no longer supported, so bug fixes and security patches were no longer available and we had huge risks going forward. Also, it was way past time to upgrade to newer software that would support new features for our users and make our lives a lot simpler by automating much more of the site so we didn't have to do it all by hand.

Just a bit of background - the site runs on several different pieces of software, with a 'bridge' between the HUBB and the rest of the site to allow single sign-on. As a result, it's much more complex than sites with just a bulletin board or just blogs. Although we would like to only have to deal with one piece of software, our research to date is that we would lose too much of our current functionality if we did that, so we've opted to continue with 'best of breed'.

So we hired a company to do the upgrade - they had all the right answers and were supposed to know exactly what they were doing. Our mandate was very clear: keep it simple and make it easy to patch and do future upgrades, not worry about making it pretty.

When we launched, we had lots of issues with specific browsers, but primarily to do with logging in and staying logged in on the HUBB. After several weeks of dealing with unhappy users and yelling at the company to get bugs fixed, their project manager wrote us and explained that the setup was very complex, we seemed to be in uncharted waters, they didn't know how to fix the problems but could continue to work on it at a reduced hourly rate of $105/hr plus tax! After we had already spent $25k to that point! This was very unwelcome news to get when we were on the road organising and attending meetings...

We declined their generous offer and have now changed companies. With the benefit of hindsight and an external assessment, we now know that although the software upgrades themselves were straightforward, they wrote a lot of custom code around the bridge to make it look like one system, which had the unfortunate side-effect of making it buggy, unstable and slow! Worse news - the custom code would have made it difficult and costly to patch and upgrade the content management software in future :-(

We have now thrown away almost all the custom code and did a re-release a couple of weeks ago. That has not been pain-free, but we think the log-in bugs are finally squashed - just a few minor issues left to sort out. I should point out that many people didn't encounter any difficulties, but many of our loyal users have been frustrated to death for the past few months, so heartfelt apologies to all of you!

We are still working on bug squashing, and are pushing the developers to get it done faster. We know there are still a few issues to sort. Please post any bugs you find to make sure we get our priorities right, and get them all!

Now that we're back in the office and can catch up with ourselves, we have some new stuff to bring in, like improved blogs, more Community features, an improved shipping database, and a long-overdue redesign of the look and feel. Now all we have to do is find some more cash to pay for it - all contributions / Memberships gratefully accepted!

and thanks for your patience!
__________________
Grant Johnson
Seek, and ye shall find.

------------------------
Inspiring, Informing and Connecting travellers since 1997!
www.HorizonsUnlimited.com
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 18 Aug 2011
Gold Member
Veteran HUBBer
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Bucks, UK
Posts: 642
Not sure if you want comments on this post Grant so feel free to delete, I still have a problem with remember me, also when I do log in each time it's telling me my last visit was weeks ago!

Cheers
Pete
__________________
Vietnam, Cambodia & Thailand 2016
Buenos Aires to NYC 2012-2013: www.facebook.com/curryhunt
India and back 2009-2010:
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 18 Aug 2011
Registered Users
HUBB regular
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Newcastle upon Tyne
Posts: 66
I have still been having the same issues as Pete and have already had to log in 3 times today. Then I end up back at the home page, and although it shows me logged in, when I click on "New Posts", it gives a Java error message and says the link doesn't work. I have just logged out again fully, and come back in, so we'll see how it goes over the next 24 hours.
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 18 Aug 2011
chris's Avatar
Registered Users
Veteran HUBBer
 
Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: GOC
Posts: 3,326
Quote:
Originally Posted by Grant Johnson View Post
....We declined their generous offer and have now changed companies...
Very politely put....

As some bike travellers have learnt: every bloke with a bent rusty nail and a hammer claiming to be a good bike mechanic isn't necessarily bona fide... the same goes for acne-ridden mono-brow script kiddies... Lots of them are dangerous near a pc.

FWIW: Log in process works fine for me. Also I log out every time I leave the hubb. When I close the browser I have it set to delete all cookies. When I log back in, it correctly knows when I last visited.

XP/FF on Netbook pc (when travelling) and 7/FF on desktop pc (at home)

cheers
C
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 31 Aug 2011
Registered Users
Veteran HUBBer
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Dorset, UK
Posts: 339
Quote:
Originally Posted by mcgiggle View Post
Not sure if you want comments on this post Grant so feel free to delete, I still have a problem with remember me, also when I do log in each time it's telling me my last visit was weeks ago!

Cheers
Pete

Just FYI, I'm not moaning but still having the same problem as Pete.

Deleted all cookies, using chrome, same on Win 7 and Win XP PC's.
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 31 Aug 2011
Lifetime Member
Veteran HUBBer
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Australia
Posts: 365
Thanks for the explanation - and commiserations.

Thanks for the explanation of what happened. Always interesting to know what happened. I feel the pain having had similar experiences at various time in my work. Whilst there are many good ones computer programmers / salesmen have well and truly replaced used car salesmen in the untrustworthy stakes. Good luck with the rest of the upgrade work.
__________________
Martin

finally back on the road again


http://awayonmybike.blogspot.com/
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 3 Sep 2011
Registered Users
Veteran HUBBer
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: aberdeenshire scotland
Posts: 154
without being nasty the big yellow banner at the top, asking if there is problems just reminds me of my time setting up a shop with another bit of software every time PHP ect changed you would get banners. Its been there for too long and smacks of we dont know what were doing. It is very off-putting and shouldnt really be there, it screams why bother visiting we havnt fixed our site.
99% is working is does not need to be there.
I am very very shocked you have put out that much funds as the site still looks very basic, it still looks like a bit of freeware like I used such as oscommerce with added links to forums.
But the most important part of the site is the posts and they are still coming despite a bit of a slow downo ver the last few months.
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 3 Sep 2011
Grant Johnson's Avatar
HU Founder
Veteran HUBBer
 
Join Date: Dec 1997
Location: BC Canada
Posts: 7,229
pictish,

The banner is to make sure we catch ANY problems - and to be right up front with everyone that it's not perfect, and there may be issues, but we're working on it as best we can.

Perfect we ain't but we're trying.

As for the look - none of the work has gone into the look and feel yet - it's all gone towards a solid infrastructure and - without being nasty - if you really read the post and had any understanding of what it costs to run a big site, you'd know that.

Look and feel is next on the to do list, but it's going to take a while. We're hoping / planning for by first thing in the new Year, if not sooner. In the meantime, while that process is going on, (we're not designers, in fact you're looking at my design and I get what you think of it! ) we're also working on much improved blogs, a proper shopping cart, mapping systems, and several other things. Oh yeah, and we're also working on just keeping the website running and all the rest that is HU, (a very full time 8+ hours a day every day,) such as meetings all over the world, 8 weeks on the road this year, and today we unpacked some more stuff from our move to Canada from the UK in January.

And it's now bedtime, so with that, I hope that gives you the idea that we're working on it all, and we do understand what you're saying!
__________________
Grant Johnson
Seek, and ye shall find.

------------------------
Inspiring, Informing and Connecting travellers since 1997!
www.HorizonsUnlimited.com
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 6 Sep 2011
beddhist's Avatar
Contributing Member
Veteran HUBBer
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Whangarei, NZ
Posts: 2,214
All the file links in this topic have vanished. It may not have anything to do with the upgrade, though...
__________________
Cheers,
Peter.

Europe to NZ 2006-10
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 6 Sep 2011
Grant Johnson's Avatar
HU Founder
Veteran HUBBer
 
Join Date: Dec 1997
Location: BC Canada
Posts: 7,229
Quote:
Originally Posted by beddhist View Post
All the file links in this topic have vanished. It may not have anything to do with the upgrade, though...
Nope, it doesn't. A moderator boo-booed, and deleted the thread instead of a spam post - and while he recovered it as best he could, he had "physically" deleted it, which means it's GONE. He did have the very bright idea of recovering it form a google cache, so that's what is there now. We could restore from a backup, but that's a HUGE deal for one thread and would mean taking the site down and losing new threads since the deletion, so not on.
__________________
Grant Johnson
Seek, and ye shall find.

------------------------
Inspiring, Informing and Connecting travellers since 1997!
www.HorizonsUnlimited.com
Reply With Quote
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 Registered Users and/or Members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
What's wrong with alarms? blunosr Travellers' Advisories, Safety and Security on the Road 10 26 Apr 2010 10:54
Wrong xt trans bergman501 Yamaha Tech 1 9 Feb 2010 22:35
Wrong way down? Caminando Travellers' questions that don't fit anywhere else 299 16 Feb 2008 17:22
XT 600 e What goes wrong ? stuxtttr Yamaha Tech 2 24 Oct 2007 11:36
See anything wrong? mikeb8man North Africa 12 16 May 2007 08:30

 
 

Announcements

Thinking about traveling? Not sure about the whole thing? Watch the HU Achievable Dream Video Trailers and then get ALL the information you need to get inspired and learn how to travel anywhere in the world!

Have YOU ever wondered who has ridden around the world? We did too - and now here's the list of Circumnavigators!
Check it out now
, and add your information if we didn't find you.

Next HU Eventscalendar

HU Event and other updates on the HUBB Forum "Traveller's Advisories" thread.
ALL Dates subject to change.

2024:

Add yourself to the Updates List for each event!

Questions about an event? Ask here

HUBBUK: info

See all event details

 
World's most listened to Adventure Motorbike Show!
Check the RAW segments; Grant, your HU host is on every month!
Episodes below to listen to while you, err, pretend to do something or other...

2020 Edition of Chris Scott's Adventure Motorcycling Handbook.

2020 Edition of Chris Scott's Adventure Motorcycling Handbook.

"Ultimate global guide for red-blooded bikers planning overseas exploration. Covers choice & preparation of best bike, shipping overseas, baggage design, riding techniques, travel health, visas, documentation, safety and useful addresses." Recommended. (Grant)



Ripcord Rescue Travel Insurance.

Ripcord Rescue Travel Insurance™ combines into a single integrated program the best evacuation and rescue with the premier travel insurance coverages designed for adventurers.

Led by special operations veterans, Stanford Medicine affiliated physicians, paramedics and other travel experts, Ripcord is perfect for adventure seekers, climbers, skiers, sports enthusiasts, hunters, international travelers, humanitarian efforts, expeditions and more.

Ripcord travel protection is now available for ALL nationalities, and travel is covered on motorcycles of all sizes!


 

What others say about HU...

"This site is the BIBLE for international bike travelers." Greg, Australia

"Thank you! The web site, The travels, The insight, The inspiration, Everything, just thanks." Colin, UK

"My friend and I are planning a trip from Singapore to England... We found (the HU) site invaluable as an aid to planning and have based a lot of our purchases (bikes, riding gear, etc.) on what we have learned from this site." Phil, Australia

"I for one always had an adventurous spirit, but you and Susan lit the fire for my trip and I'll be forever grateful for what you two do to inspire others to just do it." Brent, USA

"Your website is a mecca of valuable information and the (video) series is informative, entertaining, and inspiring!" Jennifer, Canada

"Your worldwide organisation and events are the Go To places to for all serious touring and aspiring touring bikers." Trevor, South Africa

"This is the answer to all my questions." Haydn, Australia

"Keep going the excellent work you are doing for Horizons Unlimited - I love it!" Thomas, Germany

Lots more comments here!



Five books by Graham Field!

Diaries of a compulsive traveller
by Graham Field
Book, eBook, Audiobook

"A compelling, honest, inspiring and entertaining writing style with a built-in feel-good factor" Get them NOW from the authors' website and Amazon.com, Amazon.ca, Amazon.co.uk.



Back Road Map Books and Backroad GPS Maps for all of Canada - a must have!

New to Horizons Unlimited?

New to motorcycle travelling? New to the HU site? Confused? Too many options? It's really very simple - just 4 easy steps!

Horizons Unlimited was founded in 1997 by Grant and Susan Johnson following their journey around the world on a BMW R80G/S.

Susan and Grant Johnson Read more about Grant & Susan's story

Membership - help keep us going!

Horizons Unlimited is not a big multi-national company, just two people who love motorcycle travel and have grown what started as a hobby in 1997 into a full time job (usually 8-10 hours per day and 7 days a week) and a labour of love. To keep it going and a roof over our heads, we run events all over the world with the help of volunteers; we sell inspirational and informative DVDs; we have a few selected advertisers; and we make a small amount from memberships.

You don't have to be a Member to come to an HU meeting, access the website, or ask questions on the HUBB. What you get for your membership contribution is our sincere gratitude, good karma and knowing that you're helping to keep the motorcycle travel dream alive. Contributing Members and Gold Members do get additional features on the HUBB. Here's a list of all the Member benefits on the HUBB.




All times are GMT +1. The time now is 01:46.