03 – Review of the launch

It is over four months since the site was relaunched so it is time I reviewed how it has gone. The main thing is that the site settled down very quickly and seems to be working OK. However, one of the secondary but hoped-for aims of the relaunch (facilitation of the development of the STIRNET HISTORIES side of the site) has not been as successful as I had hoped – this being a problem with the structure of the Content rather than a problem with the programming – so I shall be soon be making some major changes to STIRNET HISTORIES. Fortunately, these proposed changes should be relatively easy to process because the way that the site has been structured (using WordPress) is flexible & accommodating on such things. Indeed, that I can consider doing such a thing is a testament to the flexibility & power of the WordPress system that we are now using.


… a special day for me. The day before I had travelled across from Herefordshire (where I live) to South London, where my eldest son Rob lives. It was Rob who built this site for me. [See History of the site. Rob’s own site is at robbg.co.uk]. We had a Japanese takeaway (delivered) in the evening – quite exotic for someone who lives in rural England! On Thursday we sorted out the final preparations in the morning, went out to a nearby Brazilian restaurant for lunch, and launched the site in the afternoon. Things looked good with the site so in the evening I went up to The Workshop where my youngest son, William, was the headline act under his stage name ‘Elixr’ (see here for some of his music – it is a bit ‘angst’ for some but he is gradually moving away from that style). Also there was my middle son, Andrew. [It is difficult for me to support Andrew who is a barrister with a boutique firm of solicitors which specialises in international fraud. Perhaps I should attend a court hearing when he is speaking and say “Good point!” or “I’d never have thought of that!” at appropriate moments.] So: I launched the new version of the site and saw all 3 sons on the same day. That made it a special day.

By the early afternoon of Friday 7th (March) we had sorted out the following ‘niggles’ that had been found:

– a few manual errors in setting up the subscription expiry dates for certain members.

– a few places in the code that needed links to be set as stirnet.com rather than www.stirnet.com (or the other way around).

– a delay on emails because of a conflict between the spam filter at our ISP and CloudFlare.

There was a problem with the very first Recurring Subscription as, although we had found nothing on their site to suggest it was needed, it turned out that PayPal required us to ‘register’ with them the fact that we were setting up renewable subscriptions. Once I realised that was needed, it was easily done. Since then the system for Recurring Subscriptions seems to have worked well.

Moving around the Families Database was affected by some pages opening below rather than at a specified anchor. This took a few days to sort out but I think it works well now.

For a few days in June it was impossible to renew subscriptions because the relevant coding file appeared to have been over-ridden by an older file. It took us some days to work out what had happened and to redress the situation. It seems that, around the same time, some links on various pages reverted to old links, this mainly affecting some images. I suspect, but do not know for sure, that these problems were the results of changes by our ISP to its servers (see next point).

There was a hiccough (hiccup) on 1st July following a change of server for the site (at the ISP) which left the site invisible to CloudFlare for several hours (which is relevant because we use CloudFlare as a security buffer for the site). That was a one-off, arising because of a major server upgrade at the ISP which they did warn me about but the consequences of which I failed to anticipate. I’ll know better next time, should there be one (not expected for several years).

More than the old site, the new site shows up any poor coding of the data pages in the Families Database. As reported in the answer to ‘Why is the font used on some data pages different from that used on other data pages?’ on Families Database FAQ, I am gradually going through those data pages and tidying up the coding where needed. This is a big exercise (and is tedious work) but the end result will be simpler and ‘cleaner’ coding behind the scenes that will make the files easier to download, remove sundry visual inconsistencies, and improve the presentation of the database on smart phones & tablets.

Written by on the 22nd July 2014.

Peter is the founder & proprietor of Stirnet.

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