What an interesting month or so it's been. As we've hinted at over social media, we are proud to finally have a working version of what we're calling Swapfig 3.0.
As you've probably noticed, this new version hasn't been without significant problems. We're now zero for four when it comes to major site launches and relaunches, but we're still hoping that one day we'll get it right.
The rest of this post is for the few people who are interested in knowing what's been happening behind the scenes.
Adapting to new server technology.
We're incredibly grateful for our hosting solution. With that said one of the biggest limiting factors in Swapfig's development has been the server.
The hosting solution had received a long overdue update, which meant we could finally use more recent technology and the latest third party packages. However, the existing site would not run on the new server - which meant updating the entire project.
We'd tried to do this as quickly as possible, and as usual there were things we'd missed, hadn't expected or didn't take into account. This caused significant issues - including emails not being sent, and certain tasks not running - that rendered the site virtually unusable.
While ad revenue (and donations) is important, having a working site is paramount. So - just like the first, second and third time - every waking moment was spent fixing these issues. Yes, even during my time on the LEGO Inside Tour a few weeks ago.
The silver lining.
One of the good things to come from this was considering the direction Swapfig was taking.
In general, the site has become cluttered and unfocused. It fell into that old trap of trying to appease chronic complainers and mythical new members. You can see the confusion if you look at the home page.
Assuming Swapfig is still here next year, the plan is to bring it back to its roots: as the place to trade and swap LEGO minifigures, polybags, keychains and more. We'll start by reminding ourselves that Swapfig is about trading LEGO minfigures, polybags, keychains and more.
Swapfig 3.0 also gave us the opportunity to use Sentry: a third party service for tracking and reporting server-side errors. Sentry has been incredibly helpful for solving outstanding problems with the site, as it often provides a lot of information leading up to what went wrong.
We still want to hear from you if you encounter problems using Swapfig, especially if there's a problem that isn't related to the server. If you see a red message at the top of the screen saying there's been a server error, it has landed on our desk.
The Secret Santa Swap is back.
We're also pleased to announce that our world-famous Secret Santa Swap will be back this year. This could be the last ever one, due to the site's uncertain future.
This was the primary reason why updating the site took so long. As well as having to make more changes than we'd expected, we did a lot of testing to make sure everything worked.
We're zero for two when it comes to successful Secret Santa Swaps, with both attempts thwarted by just one person who didn't send a gift. We want this year's one to be successful, and we'd like as many people as possible to take part. Let's attempt to break the limits!
Swapfig is still a hobby site, maintained in spare time. No matter how much work goes into it, we realise there will always be complainers and those who attempt to talk down to us, for whatever reason.
With that said, we'd like to thank everybody else for being incredibly patient and understanding, while we continue to get these problems sorted out. We appreciate it!