Musings of a programmer, musician, photographer, and Christian.

GraceBibleNY.org History

I’m the current webmaster for Grace Bible Church. It originally started out as a static file website in a low-quota shared server. After I took it over, I used an old Compaq machine that I had bought for a startup I tried to start (but failed), and it lived in ASLAN Communications datacenter for free (thanks Mike!) for a number of years. At that time, I had converted it from the static site that it was to using Drupal 4 (this was about 2008 or so).

A couple years later, we were asked to find other hosting arrangements, and we moved to DreamHost. Later, I endured the migration to Drupal 6 (I skipped 5 entirely). When Drupal 6 was tagged as end-of-life, I had a choice to go to 7, and redo a ton of customizations I had done, or do something else.

I chose to keep the Drupal 6 administrative interface and implement the front end bits in Common Lisp using Bootstrap. It got done surprisingly fast, however, since the DreamHost plan we were on wouldn’t let me run a server, nor did fastcgi/scgi work (though it should have, but I gave up working with support on making it work), so the site for about 6 months was considerably slower and it affected the traffic rate, so our growth turned into a decline. In retrospect, even if the speed issue hadn’t been, it was still a bad choice as survivability of the site is really the most important thing. Survivability meaning that if I get hit by a truck, that someone else can pick up what’s there and run with it. Other than that, Common Lisp was an absolute joy to work in.

So that brings us to today. I converted the site to Wordpress. I looked around and realized that WordPress had grown all of the features for which I originally chose Drupal. Wordpress’s API is soooo much easier to work with and write plugins and such. The amount of custom code I’ve written dropped like a rock. The presupplied theme is easy enough to customize to make it look like I wanted. It came with an import tool which made me so happy. And contrary to the dread I would feel when my Drupal installation would send me notices that there were upgrades available, the joy of getting an email that says “There’s a new version of Wordpress, you’re already upgraded” is immense, or “there’s a new version of plugin X, click here to upgrade.”

As any active website, it’ll never be done, there are posts which look weird due to the initial file they were posted from by the pastor that I’ve not gotten around to figuring a way to batch-fix yet, as well as any number of minor things that bug my “OCD”, but most things are pretty good.