Heroku blew away the running site during their campaign to eradicate people running free hobby sites on their service. Thank you, SalesFarce (who bought Heroku). What made the service useful for dev's was you could throw concepts or hobby projects up and run 'em for free until they gained traction. But in their quest to monetize everything they wrecked all that. Well done.
So I moved the whole deal to my own server over on Hatchbox and DigitalOcean. I have total control over these so there's no chance of some corporate weasel blowing things away this time. I got most everything working but I'll get sign-ups and password reset emails working before I set this aside again. Hard to believe I wrote the original system almost a decade ago. The only bug changes were swapping out the CSS Toolkit for a newer one, the core code still runs same as it ever was.
After almost a decade of being sidelined, the app no longer runs on Heroku. I tried getting it to run again, but it was too big a hassle. So I decided to upgrade the entire codebase. So this new version runs on Rails 7, which should hold up for the next 4 or 5 years. I also switched all the UI to use Tailwind as the CSS toolkit.
The rewrite isn't 100% done as of this writing. I've disabled a bunch of stuff that I haven't had time to work on yet. There will be a couple of new things added before it's properly re-released. One is a forum, using the 'Thredded' gem. No one has to use it, but if the remaining community wants a place to have discussions free from censorious scumwaffles, it'll be there. The other is a "missing man flight" flag on users, indicating that they have passed on. This flag will enable a feature to allow other members to leave comments on their profile. Can be a simple "<S>", or it can be an anecdote or memory of the person.
I built this site so all the players from Air Warrior, WarBirds, and Aces High had some way to find each other. Some way to maintain a contact list of social media presences. Since pretty much everyone has a Facebook page or Twitter account or something that they check regularly, this seemed like a better way to help people connect than just emails ... which are spam magnets anyway.
I tossed this together in a couple evenings so "it is what it is." It's written in Rails 4, so it's pretty flexible if we ever want to do more. But for now, I'm happy just to have a place where all this info can be gathered before we all get too freakin' old and senile to work a keyboard.
A few notes for whatever it's worth:
- Even though emails addresses are used for logging in, they are not exposed on the site. Use the various social media links to connect with others. Spammers can rot in the fierest depths of the most horrific sub-divisions of Hell.
- If you need an email list for an event or get-together, contact me and I can run a database query based on whatever criteria you need. I can't guarantee overnight turn-around, so give me lead time.
- I didn't put image uploads into this for photos. If enough people ask, I can add a field for specifying a photo url to be used in place of the icons I found. The reason for this is the hassle of keeping an eye out for dickwads who look for any site with an upload form and try to crash it or upload the Library of Congress onto the server.
- This is being run on a free Rails host (running Ewenix, of course). I don't expect our database or traffic will ever exceed what this host can do. If it does, I'll cross that river when we come to it. Note that because it's on a free host, the actual server will "spin down" when not in use, and then spool back up when someone visits. So that explains why sometimes the first load is "slow."
- I'm not putting in a lot of fancy AJAX stuff just now - this is a quick'n'dirty coding effort. If the table size ever exceeds about 150 people I may need to. There may be a few minor bugs as well, I'll try not to leave anything serious.
- Note that squadron names are kept as a kind of global dictionary, so whichever spelling of your squad everyone agrees on is cool. When the last reference to a spelling is removed, it's also gone from the system. So basically the system is self-policing in terms of squadron names in the pre-defined dictionary.
- The idea for the 'acebook' name is courtesy of 'Immel'.
- I wrote this whole deal in a couple afternoons. Ruby on Rails is pretty awesome that way. I don't see much point in adding more kinds of content since all the social links already provide that, and who wants to upload crap twice anyway? That said, I can envision a few things which could be tacked on if the community grows around this:
- An internal message system so players can leave notes for each other, and be notified in email that said note has been left.
A basic article mechanism to post war stories from the virtual skies (since that doesn't really fit anyplace else).
- A proper mailing list generator for anyone who's planning an event in the real world.