Tuesday, August 7, 2007

"Beer Me!", version 3.0

Very soon this week — maybe even later today — the new version of beerme.com will go live. Cosmetically, it's not a whole lot different, but it's damn near revolutionary in the way it works, and it will be much easier for me to maintain.

Some history:

  • Version 0 was the list of breweries that I put online back in 1990 or so. It was a simple text file that ftp (and later, Lynx and Mosaic) users could view to find breweries in northern California.

  • Version 1 came out around 1994 and contained my beer tasting notes. I also started listing lots more breweries with help from correspondents from around the world. I still typed in each individual file's HTML by hand.

  • Version 2 in 1996 represented a major technological leap for the site. I loaded all the data into Microsoft Access and wrote Visual Basic routines to generate the HTML pages, which I would then ftp up to the server. Around this same time, Pat and Mark from Real Beer contacted me about hosting my site. "Beer Me!" has been a part of Real Beer ever since. The site underwent a few cosmetic changes over the years, which I'll arbitrarily call 2.0.1 (1997), 2.0.2 (2000), 2.0.3 (2002, when the name changed to beerme.com), 2.1.0 (2003), 2.1.1 (2004), and 2.1.2 (2006)

  • Version 3 will look superficially a lot like 2.1.2, but behind the scenes, the HTML will be generated by PHP and a MySQL database residing on Real Beer's server. No more uploading files and trying to keep everything in sync; the data on the pages will change as soon as I enter the updates in the database. No more worrying about losing my laptop nor wrecking the hard drive where all the data has been kept.

The new code is just about ready to go; I've got a fairly short list of tweaks that I'll be working on. You can give it a test drive at beerme.com/index.php. Please let me know, either on this page or at the "Beer Me!" Forum, about any problems you find or suggestions you have!

- beerlist.php: list possible "orderBy" values in a switch

- nearby.php: pretty up the Google Maps

- nearby.php: should sort by distance, not name

- brewery.php: if a beer has a LiquidSolutions number, add it to the
"Place" link

- liquidSolutions.php: is kinda ugly

- Unicode characters aren't sorted properly (e.g. brewery.php?3379 beer

- ...and sometimes aren't displayed right. (Å in brewerylist.php)

- map.php: print a message like "starting Google Earth"

- map.php: Unicode characters are not displayed right.

- brewerylist.php: isn't really "huge" after all

- senderror.php: "Region" is given as a number instead of text

- bestBrewery.php: MySQL 3.23 doesn't support subqueries, so the main
SELECT statement needs major work

- get rid of all the die() statements; replace with custom error handling

- brewery.php: beermats aren't being displayed (e.g. 3401)

- make an email form to hide the brewery addresses

- region.php: don't show administrativearea.comments if there's no
administrativearea (see 162)


Anonymous said...

this is very interesting and all. does it mean then we can expect more of your wit and charm on a timely-er basis? and could you point me to some good beer in downtown san mateo?
have sallies . . . need suds.
thursday night.
thanks, eh

love choo

Richard Stueven said...

Try this link at beermapping.com for beer in San Mateo.

WTF are sallies?

have fun

Richard Stueven said...

In the immortal words of Marvin the Martian: "Delays, delays".

It occurred to me today that the new site layout will break everybody's bookmarks. Since my server has an antique version of Apache, I can't do a simple mod_rewrite hack to fix them. I have an idea that I'll try to implement tomorrow. Stay tuned.

have fun

Anonymous said...

hmmm yes.
beermapping dot com then.
i tried your mapping link and all i got was jibberish.
(must be cause yer messin with some code, right?)

sallies: www.blamesally.com

(they're doin a freeshow in SM tonite-you should come. Paris would like them too)

love choo

Ben, aka BadBen said...

Thanks for being there. You've had a beer presence since my first foray onto the Net back in the early to mid nineties.