Edit: Sorry I'm posting this twice, but like a moron I accidentally deleted this entry. Luckily I had it crossposted to Xanga.

Sorry for any gramatical errors or rambling ahead. I have just finished a marathon all-nighter programming session to tie in what I've been busting my butt on the past two weeks after work and launching it and testing it and writing about it... so I'm a bit burnt. Plus I got work in two hours. Lovely.

I'm always at odds with myself because I fear change so much.

I think the toughest decision for any project is when it's moderately successful (as Tabulas has been) ... and risking it all for something completely new. By all means, I could walk away from Tabulas right now and be generally happy with how well it went - Tabulas runs well, people (generally) love the site, and it has a lot of features.

But I want to risk all of that. There's a huge fear that something I do may drive people away from the site - what if I introduce a huge bug that destroys everything? It's really scary. I think once you reach this moderate level of success, you'll do anything to protect it ... but I think this can become more of a drawback, so I'm making an effort not to worry so much about the consequences or trying to preserve the current stability.

I realized that I had passively been resisting attempts at changing Tabulas for quite some time now - I wrote my original Tabulas 2.1 manifesto in June of last year. I spent the following few months really busting my ass on the new version ... but the whole effort fell flat on its face (for various reasons I'll write about later).

The truth was I was really scared of releasing something and finding out it broke existing functionality, or people didn't like it, or blah blah.

But I took the first step today when I finally got to release the past months worth of work (it's taking it's toll on me with the additional pressure from my job lately) with the brand spankin' new Tabulas home page.

The reasons I had to change:

  • Building the new home page gave me the opportunity to start writing the tools that'll "bridge" between the old Tabulas architecture so I can slowly phase in a new backend (trying to rewrite the whole thing from scratch was a huge failure)
  • The new front page is much more consistent with what the rest of Tabulas will look like, plus I think it's MUCH cleaner
  • Subsections that were getting difficult to manage (like the old account management center and the old help center) have been combined with the front page which should simplify the number of "places" you have to go to get something done
  • There is now a support ticket system; this creates a "proper' channel for problems to go through.
  • There is also now a way to track what quotas your account has, plus information on past payments and when your current subscription will expire. One of my early tasks for 2006 was to get PayPal's IPN integrated with Tabulas - this means that when somebody pays through PayPal, Tabulas automagically accepts the payment, upgrades the user, and starts tracking the user. I used to have to manually handle all payments in the past, and it was a HUGE pain in the arse

This is only the first step - I am going to radically revamp Tabulas over the upcoming months - the user interface, features, everything. I have a feeling it's going to test the physical limits of my fatigue and test the emotional stresses from solitude, but I'm really excited from the hopes that I can realize my vision for an integrated publishing platform.

Time for a nap.

Currently listening to: Jason Forrest - War Photographer
Posted by roy on January 18, 2006 at 04:09 PM in Tabulas | 9 Comments

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Comment posted on January 19th, 2006 at 06:21 AM
rest easy, roy. you're doing fine. in fact, you outdo yourself everytime. :)kudos for all the hard work you've been doing for tabulas!
Comment posted on January 19th, 2006 at 05:14 AM
New tabulas stuff the day I have access to it? Looks like my timing was flawless. 2006 IS looking to be my year! Looking good so far, so you better keep the ball rolling.
Comment posted on January 18th, 2006 at 08:52 PM
pls roy. check the help section. i have some problems with my tabulas now. :(
Comment posted on January 18th, 2006 at 09:11 PM
Please post your request only once... I do check the help center, so it's not necessary to comment in my personal journal with these requests :)
Comment posted on January 18th, 2006 at 06:54 PM
the new look is so shexy!
Comment posted on January 18th, 2006 at 06:51 PM
thank you for all your hard work.
no, really. thank you.
Comment posted on January 18th, 2006 at 06:08 PM
roy. love the new look :)
Comment posted on January 18th, 2006 at 05:22 PM
i love it
it just keeps getting better
Comment posted on January 18th, 2006 at 04:48 PM
I like the new look. Had a little trouble using the advanced editor today, but got past it. Thanks for all your work.