A possible AAWP future?

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Forgive the thought flight into the unknown, but most readers will be aware by now that AAWP's infrastructure is less than efficient - see below for the various things that are actually broken. Anyway, I thought I'd profer a small glimpse into one idea. Your comments welcome, perhaps now more than ever!

None of this is secret, of course - AAWP's (and AAS's) PHP code is all there for anyone to see on each and every web page you visit. Which brings me to things you'll have spotted (and a couple of things you'll have guessed):

  • The whole of AAS and AAWP is still 'http', i.e. no SSL, no https, meaning that modern browsers flag up the sites as 'Not Secure', which always looks bad
  • Because of the lack of the above, Google and other search engines are now marking down AAWP in search rankings
  • The automated social push of new content has been broken for many months (and heck, AAWP still pushes 'Find us on Google+'!)
  • The podcast is now defunct (mainly because of Rafe's other work commitments)
  • With AAS's and now AAWP's core content winding down in terms of new apps and services to review and feature, some thought is going to be needed looking forward, i.e. about "what's next" (if anything)
  • Behind the scenes, you won't be surprised at all to learn that the 'All About' CMS (Content Management System) is custom code and, while still working, is creaking a bit at the seams, with practical limits on content size and type. Not that this is a dig at Rafe's rather wonderful code - many other big sites (e.g. Engadget, ZDNet) run on ancient custom CMS too)
  • Also behind the scenes, FTP access for myself and other possible contributors has been broken for up to a year now

Add it all up, then add in server costs that were negotiated in the early 2000s and which seem archaicly large now (I'm obviously not going to go into details there), and I've been thinking about ways to take AAWP forward, if at all.

One option is to forego the existing custom code and server infrastructure and to simply transition things to a simple 'blog' structure. I've mocked up such a layout with some recent AAWP content here: allaboutwindowsphones.blogspot.com :


Comments? It would be a drastic break from the current PHP/Disqus system, but visually and practically it would work, while - in this case Google's - infrastructure takes up the burden of bandwidth, SSL, mobile responsiveness, and social links. 

In terms of content, you'll notice the tweak in title too: "AAWP - All About Windows Phones and Beyond" with subtitle "Taking up the slack from the standalone AAWP and AAS for 2020". OK, it's all a little wordy, but one possible future is to cover mobile more generally, but seen through the lens of traditional All About interests and themes.

A lot depends on what Rafe wants to do - and has time to do - of course. The reworking of the site's code is a huge time commitment for him, as you might imagine. So perhaps a simple step jump up to a blog format would be best after all?

The downside of such a move is the loss at some point of Disqus story comments - the articles themselves would carry on being available via the wonder of the Internet Archive system. I'd try and carry across a limited back catalogue of articles, to appear in the new site/blog in its archive.

So there we go - have your say, anyway, though do please note again that I'm not going to go into any detail on finances and costs - they're confidential to Rafe and myself. And are for us to worry about!

PS. While everything's up in the air, if you have PayPal money from eBay burning a hole in your account, you know where my tip jar is - it all helps!