About Us...
About Us...

Powering The Rewind...

Please Note: The purpose of this page is only to discuss our Content Management System (CMS) for those who are interested. There's nothing about 80s movies here.

In the beginning...

In 1999, this site was called the 80s Movies Gateway. Authored by hand using a combination of primitive web authoring tools and notepad. When it got to about 45 movie pages, I decided to change the background color (and maybe a couple of other things) and spent a very frustrating weekend opening each page, changing the things, saving and then uploading. An all too common story, I'm sure.

I realised that if the site was ever going to grow (and I was going to stay sane), I needed some automated process that would build the pages automatically from some kind of template and save me the trouble. This was the height of the .com boom and competent CMS systems that would do this and more were being licensed for silly money.

Like most people, I'd only ever written that classic two line program in BASIC that printed something repeatedly, so I was hardly qualified to write a Content Management System.

Yet, this is what I decided to do... What an idiot!

And so PageBuild was slowly and painfully born. It started as literally a naiive design concept and flowchart scribbled on a sheet of paper...

The very first version was the the result seven months solid labor on my part. Conceived and born in an environment that couldn't be further from the corporate world of steel and glass buildings housing dynamic teams of software developers...

Like every clichéd home-brew development story you've ever read, I was holed up in a small, darkened room, surrounded by fast food cartons and 80s inspiration in the form of books, magazines and vinyl albums, my eyes fixed on the flickering PC screen. The final sofware ran to many thousands of lines of original code. The new site look was developed alongside the code, inspired by the '80s album designs for the music that pumped constantly into my unholy "design chamber".

And so, to cut a long story short, PageBuild ran the site. And as I'm writing this, its still doing it. Good old PageBuild. Every month it served up to a half million users. Constantly being developed in small steps ...Until, in late 2005, I started work on a brand new replacement, codenamed C21... Why? Because PageBuild was solid, reliable.. but extremely restrictive, naiive and not very well structured (after so many bolt-on revisions) or documented.

As I started to draw up my wish list, it became obvious that the future was in splitting up the running of the site into seperate engines -- each specialising in one area. Movie data, locations, product management and user interaction (update submissions etc). It also became increasing obvious that I had bitten off an enormous challenge!

I should mention at this point that there was a clear decision to be made regarding the use of industry standard tools and software to build these new engines. The freely available mySQL and other dynamic site technologies at no cost presented a temting series of shortcuts, but ultimately I decided that it was a good idea to stick with what I knew and write my own core technology. The reasons are many, but one big one is.. Security. This is probably a contraversial point, but I always felt that these software platforms were inherently vunerable because of the nature of their availability. Exploits are found and quickly propogated round the people who spend their time wrecking peoples sites (for no good reason than they feel like it) and you have big problems which you cannot solve yourself -or at all, until the developers fix the weakness. At any given time of day, I can check the logs of this site and someone will have been trying to compromise it in some way within the last minute. Such is life.

...Anyway, so C21 consists of several independent 'engines' to manage the different types of new information that will be present on the new site.

While the new system nods to the previous version of the site, everything is completely new and has been written from the ground up to give the best possible movies site. Virtually nothing whatsoever has been retained. And the scope of C21 has been daunting to say the least... Remember, we're not some corporation with teams of software developers -there's just me, the webmaster! Yet C21 requires technology that must face-off sites run by billion dollar companies. -It's the classic David and Goliath story... But it always has been...