Locus Online


11 August 1999

Any Day Now

Locus Online is in the process of changing to a new server. This is something that websites do routinely and that is usually transparent to users, so it wouldn't ordinarily be worth mentioning, but in our case a few comments are in order.

If you're reading this editorial, either you've linked here from the editorial on the old server, or the server change has already happened -- hopefully the latter.

The server change means that the website is now hosted on a different computer than it has been. By making the proper supplications to the appropriate guardians of the internet, the domain name '''' has been reassigned from its previous host to a new host; your bookmark to '''' has brought you here [or soon will] automatically now that these guardians have performed their magic. This magic did not occur instantaneously, for a variety of reasons, some technical and some bureaucratic (I thought I'd be writing this editorial a month ago, sigh), but it has happened at last.

You can tell that you've reached the new site by the fact you're reading this editorial (and not the slightly differently worded editorial on the old site), and by the fact that the words 'Search' and 'Archive' on the front page appear as active links. Otherwise, everything appears just as it did on the old site (almost).

The main reason for the change is that the new host offers a variety of services and functions that the old one did not. Foremost is the search engine, which allows you to find every page of the site containing whatever search string you enter, say, ''Norman Spinrad''.

The new 'Archive' link takes you to a set of site map pages that consolidate links to all pages of the site within each year. (You can see how the contents and layout of the site have changed from year to year.) These pages have nothing to do with any function of the new server; I constructed them as I mirrored the site to the new server and decided to make some changes to the site's underlying directory structure for ease of ongoing maintenance. (Specifically, to reduce the number of top level directories.)

An unfortunate consequence of modifying the directory structure is that bookmarks to most pages more than a few months old (and to a handful of current pages) will become obsolete. This includes zillions of search engine links collected by robots over the years, I suppose.

To mitigate this problem, though, the new site has a custom 'Page Not Found' page. If your bookmark or search engine link is obsolete, instead of getting a generic '404 File Not Found' page, you'll get a Locus Online page with the familiar banner at the top and an entry box for the site's own search engine.

(Another reason for the restructuring -- which includes renaming the various 'Future History' pages of convention listings, author appearances, etc. -- is to all but eliminate stable page names with cycling content. With the exception of the homepage (index.html), the What's New page, the Links pages, and the several 'About Locus' pages, every page of the site will be dated either in its name or directory path [and thus, automatically archived]; there will be no pages that have different content from week to week or month to month. This practice seems to be an emerging standard of web publishing, so that links and bookmarks to new content can be established at once and remain valid indefinitely.)

If you're reading these words, you've arrived at the new site directly or indirectly. I'm told it can take a few days for the host change to propogate through the net, so it's possible some of the features of this site that depend on the domain name change may not work yet (especially if you've linked here from the old site). These include the search engine, which generates results with the domain name embedded in all the links, and which therefore, because of the somewhat different directory structures between the old and new sites, will not be entirely valid until the domain name changeover is complete. (But you can use it to see, at least, that ''Norman Spinrad'' appears on 37 different pages...or 38, counting this one.) Similarly, the forms on the new site (Subscriptions, the CD Rom ad, etc.), might not work immediately. Even if the changeover isn't complete, though, you can browse this site via the Archive pages, and see how the 'Forthcoming' pages are now broken into monthly chunks.

Break for Worldcon

Locus Online is attending the Worldcon in Melbourne this year, and will be leaving a few days early and returning a few days late to sight-see parts of New Zealand and Australia. For those couple weeks, from August 26th through September 10th, the website will be inactive except for (probably) the posting of the Hugo Awards winners. If you're at Aussiecon, stop by the Locus table in the dealers' room. We'll have a laptop set up there displaying the website, the latest CD-ROM indexes, and maybe a draft version of the still-in-work ''Locus Index to Science Fiction Awards''.

--Mark R. Kelly

  • 14 May 1999: New Look; Memory Lane; Fonts
  • 19 Mar 1999: The 1st poll; full disclosure (about Amazon links); technical stuff about fixed section page names
  • 19 Jan 1999: Musings about movies, SF and otherwise

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