Dolls' Houses Past & Present

A website and ezine about dolls' houses: antique, vintage and modern. Plus furniture and accessories.

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Rebecca Green
Site Owner
Posts: 2083

Just to see if I can start a new discussion, and if the captchas appear, and if I can get through them ...

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Rebecca :)

May 20, 2018 at 8:41 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Rebecca Green
Site Owner
Posts: 2083

Well, no captchas at all, and it posted straight away. It is so unpredictable!

Rosemary, would you like to see if you can post in here, and I'll change the topic to what you wanted to discuss?

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Rebecca :)

May 20, 2018 at 8:42 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Trumble's Mum
Member
Posts: 587

Sorry Rebecca - I replied to Rosemary at about the same time as you posted this message - hope that doesn't mss up a move .

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May 20, 2018 at 8:44 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Linda B
Member
Posts: 1505

I am having real problems even getting on to the site.

No luck with Google chrome so had to go to Explorer, and then it took several attempts to do each step.

No wonder people think the site has ended as it keeps saying the site no longer exists !!!!

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:)


May 20, 2018 at 2:53 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Holly
Member
Posts: 168

Linda B at May 20, 2018 at 2:53 PM

I am having real problems even getting on to the site.

No luck with Google chrome so had to go to Explorer, and then it took several attempts to do each step.

No wonder people think the site has ended as it keeps saying the site no longer exists !!!!

Just for the record I havent logged in for a while but the site is definitely becoming unusable for me now. 

Now I constantly land on the webs -

 

"Sorry, this page was not found.

Looks like the page you were looking for is no longer available."  which is in webspeak the 404 error page when the server has timed out or there is an error in the url. 


Sadly, it is not surprising if you do a site page speed test on any of the pages they generally take over 10 seconds to load which is very slow nowadays and most internet 'browsers' ie. Chrome, Firefox, Edge etc., will wander off and have a cup of tea rather than wait around for a slow site to load these days and that says nothing for the people's frustration sat at their end of the computer. You can set a longer time out in firefox but not Chrome. Google even de-index sites when they get too slow not something that matters to us as we all know the site but it would stop the site gaining new members. At the moment the site still comes up in the google index so that has not happened yet but google recommend a maximum load time of 2 seconds to put in perspective how slow some of the pages are. 


Also because the site is running on an old build the code is very antiquated and for example not responsive and a whole host of other coding bugs, deprecated html and glitches that are not html best practice again which will cause problems. 


It is not running on https secure pages either which makes it potentially a target for hackers to hijack the site and download data or basically insert redirects to phishing sites which happens a lot on the internet these days, and of course there are other things too that should be improved to comply with the new data protection laws.


I am sorry to sound like a harbinger of doom that is not my purpose rather to point out some of the problems that Rebecca is battling with. I have every sympathy and hope that the site manages to survive. 


For an analogy trying to keep this site functioning with the existing code build in the current internet environment it is a bit like someone trying to drive the Ford Model T down a modern motorway in the fast lane. Five years in the internet is a very long time and website coding rapidly becomes obsolete and clunky as any developer will tell you.


The site really does need migrating to a different host or at least upgrading to webs latest responsive build to allow it to have a chance to survive and gain users but that is a mammoth task if Webs aren't playing ball and allowing Rebecca access to the back end of the site (not the database but the coding and file transfer protocol that would allow an easier migration of data) it is nigh on impossible manually for a one man band to copy and paste across it has to be done by an automated system. The best you could do without full back end access would be to use a site scraper but this would just grab a load of data with no real organisation there are various software that will migrate data for you keeping the hierarchy but this would need full access to the back end of the site, the part that is hard coded and presumably webs don't let their site owners generally touch. 


I migrated a very small site manually once and it was quite a job but I didn't fancy the fee which was over a thousand to have a developer migrate it for me and that was about 10 years ago.


The problem with Site migration even just within 'Webs' to a new code build is that every Url will potentially change depending upon how Webs have set things up so every single webpage could need a 301 redirect. If you are doing a few hundred it is manageable but if you are migrating thousands of url's like this site has it is a stupendous task without automation and if Rebecca has to pay a developer to do this it won't be cheap. 


Some hosts will offer a free migration service if you are moving over to their servers and being a paying customer for them ultimately,  there are various companies out there to show you what I mean this one for example not a recommendation I know nothing of them but just an illustrative example of the service: https://krystal.co.uk/migrations. Rebecca needs to have made decisions on finding a suitable host if she is not upgrading on webs and where she is migrating to and it all probably depends a lot on her budget. 


Most out of the box website hosts such as 'Webs' nowadays will let a user download their site so it is sad reflection on webs if they won't help Rebecca. Fingers crossed that she gets some response from them and they co-operate with her. 



May 20, 2018 at 4:31 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Maddy
Member
Posts: 92

Thank you, Holly, for your long comment.  Although I don’t understand the details of what you are saying, I do feel more enlightened as to the difficulties Rebecca is trying to cope with.  It is a pity, in a way, that members have had free access to this wonderful site.  I worry that lack of money will be our downfall.

May 21, 2018 at 3:53 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Holly
Member
Posts: 168

Yes we must not forget that Rebecca has kept this fab site going for free ever since she took it over with no attempt to make money out of any one and no advertisting my hat goes off to her.


If nothing is done as long as Rebecca keeps the domain active and Webs don't shut it down the site won't disappear but without proactive improvement it will continue to get more and more glitchy.


At the moment I can intermittently access but it is definitely getting harder to access.


If you get the 404 'this page is no longer available' keep trying to refresh/reload the page as it will sometimes eventually load. 

If Rebecca has access to  google analytics or some other web stats she will probably see a massive increase in hits on the 404 page recently which illustrates the problems users are having. 


May 21, 2018 at 7:10 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Holly
Member
Posts: 168


There is no easy fix, even if Rebecca doesn't move website host but upgrades to a later version of Webs this will undoubtedly mean parts of the website would have to be rebuilt/adjusted to work with the new coding involved and the migrating of data is still an issue that needs to be resolved.


It is not impossible to keep the site going but if Rebecca does manage to start updating it we may all have to accept that certain aspects of the site will be different. Personally I would just be happy to see the site continue no matter how much changed. To me the important part of the site is the reference aspect to be preserved the lines archive etc. The forum aspect of the site could become a seperate entity or run through a different blog or facebook group, (although personally I do not appreciate the ethics of facebook so it would not be my first choice). I am just throwing ideas around. If the site was mine I would mothball all the content and keep a reference archive, ask users to preserve whatever data they want of their own content and start a new forum from scratch that complied with the new GDPR as the other possibilities would be too costly in both time, emotional energy and funds for me.


PS Rebecca I am very grateful for all the knowledge this site has allowed us to access together and even if it shuts down tomorrow well done to you!



May 21, 2018 at 7:30 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Brooksey
Administrator
Posts: 1716

Just to let everyone know: in the last few weeks I have successfully manually saved all four of the database albums - G & J Lines, and Tri-ang Vols 1, 2 and 3 - so they are safe. They're backed up on a USB drive, as well, for good measure. It took about 80 hours altogether, to do it. The photos are relatively quick to copy, but saving the captions and comments is far more laborious.

May 21, 2018 at 11:09 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Holly
Member
Posts: 168

Well done on preserving that Reference Archive brooksey. That was certainly a labour of love and dedication. Nice to know that it is safe, for me that is the most important part of the site along with the magazine issues.

May 21, 2018 at 12:04 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Linda B
Member
Posts: 1505

Brooksey at May 21, 2018 at 11:09 AM

Just to let everyone know: in the last few weeks I have successfully manually saved all four of the database albums - G & J Lines, and Tri-ang Vols 1, 2 and 3 - so they are safe. They're backed up on a USB drive, as well, for good measure. It took about 80 hours altogether, to do it. The photos are relatively quick to copy, but saving the captions and comments is far more laborious.

You are a complete angel.

Such dedication and so many hours, I could kiss you :) or maybe not, lol

That goes for Rebecca too :D

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:)


May 21, 2018 at 12:37 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Trumble's Mum
Member
Posts: 587

It is great to hear that there is hope for out group to continue, even if it means changes in the site. The main thing is to preserve as much of the archive as we can and accept that this is an organic website - it would regrow and gradually become as flourishing as it has been once members are able to post photos etc. again more easily. Sad as it might be to lose some of the data base, it is amzing that Broksey has put in the time, energy and expertise to save the Triang albums. What I would miss just as muchthough, would be the archived e-zines. They are so interesting, informative and such fun to read. Hope we can keep those somehow.

Rebecca's work over the years she has been owner of DHP&P has been sterling. I'm sure it would have ground to a halt if she hadn't put in a huge and regular effort on our behalf. Long may she be able to continue to keep it - in one form or another. Thank you to both Rebecca and Brooksey, plus all the other people who have given of their time and knowledge to keep the site the lively and vibrant place it has been for so long.

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May 21, 2018 at 2:13 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Rosemary
Member
Posts: 2505

Thank you so much, Brooksey. As an owner of my first Triang house since 1970 something when absolutely NOTHING was known about them, these files and photos are so precious.Our knowlege in those days was akin to the Dark Ages - DHPP produced the best ever file of these lovely houses and I was really frightened of these being lost. All the cyber news  about Webs means little to me as I understand basically nothing about such things, all I can say is that it looks horribly complicated.

This site had kept me going through bad times - and good. It has let me free my Grecons in their slightly eccentric adventures and show off their surroundings and my creations. Being able to do this makes me desire to make more minis because I can share them and gather comments, just doing it alone is not so happy - or productive. So thank you all, who are trying to take this site to new levels and save what is possible.

May 21, 2018 at 3:14 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Edel
Administrator
Posts: 482
We will have to create a suitable DH honour to bestow on Rebecca for running the site and Brooksey for her huge input into saving the wonderful databases.
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Edel

https://www.flickr.com/photos/shero6820/

May 21, 2018 at 3:26 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Brooksey
Administrator
Posts: 1716

I've just finished copying Issue 1 of the magazine into a Word document, and converting all the photos in its articles into jpgs, so that's one out of 30 done! 

May 21, 2018 at 6:13 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Edel
Administrator
Posts: 482
Brooksey you are wonderful :-)
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Edel

https://www.flickr.com/photos/shero6820/

May 22, 2018 at 1:14 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Trumble's Mum
Member
Posts: 587

Edel at May 22, 2018 at 1:14 AM

Brooksey you are wonderful :-)

Amazing - such determination, you have, Brooksey!


As to the load time comment that Holly made, it is interesting that loading DHP7P on my laptop (Widows/Firefox) takes about 3-5 seconds from clicking to log on but my kindle can take over 2 minutes and, if it hits the 2 minute barrier, Kindle cuts out and says the site is unavailable.

Jenni

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May 22, 2018 at 2:42 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Holly
Member
Posts: 168

Yes some of the problems are due to the pages timing out because of  the size of images etc., and the website not being optimised and using what is now outdated code/design. There is a difference between what we see with the human eye of the website loading and all the code and coding scripts that load in the background that often takes ages.

This is a page speed test of the mobile log on page;


https://www.webpagetest.org/result/180522_W6_68430f582d715c49b329f4c8278f8ec6/


Which shows that the page is taking 32 seconds to fully load which is quite incredible really. 


The filmstrip view shows what the user sees why the site is loading which can actually be a lot of the website graphics which looks as if the site has loaded but actually it takes 32 seconds for all the coding nuts and bolts of the site to load, and that is the Mobile version of the site!

If anyone is the slightest bit interested which I appreciate most of you aren't you can do the site speed tests on various pages of the site here for example: 

https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/insights/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.dollshousespastandpresent.com%2Fapps%2Fforums%2Ftopics%2Fshow%2F13479976-testing

It is all a bit technical but it does illustrate why the website badly needs updating. 

The link above is for a forum page which is not too image heavy, if you are on an image page such as here:


https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/insights/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.dollshousespastandpresent.com%2Fapps%2Fphotos%2Falbum%3Falbumid%3D11713183&tab=mobile

The results are even worse. This some of the reason why people on mobile devices are having so much trouble.


If the site was upgraded to more modern code (ie a webs later version) and properly optimised it would make the site load a lot quicker and stop the timing out which would facilitate people accessing the site via mobile devices notepads, phones ipads etc.


It is not ideal to have 2 different versions of a website anymore this site has a mobile version and a desktop version. Depending upon what your device is the website will either serve you the desktop or mobile version. If the site was built on a responsive website the website would be the same website for either mobile devices or desktop versions and it would 'respond' to either and adapt itself to adjust to your device to make it easier to load which is why responsive websites are really the standard these days. 


There are a lot of other tools you can use but more technical the google one just illustrates a bit more simply some of the problems with the site that could be remedied. 


If you do the test on the pages sometimes it times out and goes to the this site does not exist page which ironically loads really quickly under 2 seconds so don't be mistaken if you get a fast result it has probably timed out.


This sounds very technical but website providers usually optimise all the background code and images for users. This in effect is what webs are trying to do each time they do an upgrade of the system to make the site more user friendly for people. If you stay on an old version you don't get the benefit of improved functionality. 

May 22, 2018 at 7:59 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Holly
Member
Posts: 168

I'd just like to add that none of the info I gave above means the site couldn't be sorted with the time, inclination and necessary knowledge :)


If Rebecca has talked to any developers they will have mentioned some of the stuff I said above so she probably already knows and is doing her best to sort everything. 


I am a great believer that you can always come up with a work round for anything. 

May 22, 2018 at 10:03 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Rebecca Green
Site Owner
Posts: 2083

Hi Holly, yes, all those are the issues we are grappling with. Webs' most recent site builder is already 6 years old, and many of its users have the same problems that we do. Also, some of the features we rely on for our website were discontinued in the newer version, so it was never clear that converting to it would help. We were promised support and advice to help us convert, but that never eventuated.


Site scrapers unfortunately don't work either, I think because they also can't access the back back end, so pages are saved without images, etc.


As I just posted in the other discussion thread, I have not given up yet on getting access to the back back end!

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Rebecca :)

May 22, 2018 at 11:10 AM Flag Quote & Reply

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