The Show-Guide at this point, as we've been told by many (thanks!), is the tip top kaleidoscope of cool as far as any diy show listing site goes. It is an open-to-anybody wiki where you can post and edit any show to keep everybody up to date on the cool shit that happens here in pdx. Back in 2007 there was not any central place to find and talk about shows or to keep everybody updated on last minute changes : just bands with myspace pages furiously sending out bulletins at 5pm saying that the 8'oclock show had to move houses across town or whatever and that just want awesome.
We created the show-guide wiki, as it stands now, over the last five years. I got nostalgic a few days back and decided to hit Archive.org to go through some of their screenshots of the various site styles through the years. I've gathered up a few screenshots for your quick viewing pleasures here. Note that Archive.org can't or doesn't always save all the images and styles perfectly so there are a few funny things in the screenshots that look even funnier than they did on the site.
The data used for the calendar was an XML file specific to each month; April-2007.xml, May-2007.xml, June-2007.xml . It was terrible! I had to update these BY HAND for all of 2007. It wasn't there for a few months, but there was eventually a 'submit-a-show' form that created a simple email to me where I would add the show to the xml file.
2007.07.09 - version 01
The header image is missing in this shot but you can still see all the glory that was... just learning how to code and design.When the Guide was first 'released' The show-listings at this time was a giant list that went out about a month or so. The ugly ass calendar grid was just there for pretty much for reference, You could only use it to pick which month’s xml file to read. You could not at this point, pick a date to drill down the show selections. I would have to manually remove the shows from the past dates every night at around midnight so that only the shows happening on that and future dates would be visible.
The Guide was very 'green' at this point and only got a few dozen visitors per day. -we've seen many show guide sites pop up through the years and most didn't make it past 3-5 months. I think it is because the lack of numbers is discouraging for most but we kept trudging through spending probably 50+ hours a week on the code and show entry upkeep.
2007.10.05 - version 02
The Guide is slowly getting better at this point. You can see that I have just got a bootleg copy of Photoshop and am using some crazy dumb Hawaiian fonts for the section links. Most of what was in the main navigation is still there: reviews is now just 'blog'. Tour Support was a really important reason for starting the guide - so we can help out bands coming through town get shows. -The idea was for a board where people could find the touring bands to fit on their own shows but it ended up mostly being us booking shows for the touring bands.. that section went away after a while but was a seed in getting to one of our most popular features - the Shoutbox.
We’re getting about 100 visitors per day at this point so thing are starting to pick up. We're still spending about 40+ hours a week on the guide.
2008.02.17 - version 03
Our first major redesign.This is where we got rid of the hand edited xml files and moved to a database. This allowed us to open up the editing and move into the wiki format for anybody to edit the shows. Another big development here is The Shoutbox! Also, the calendar grid - you could now use it to select individual dates and weeks etc..
It's a bummer that Archive.org screenshot doesn't have the header here because I was really proud of stealing that style from the Linux site at the time. There are also weird, missing images in the flyout menus just above the shoutbox. -I’m not sure why it was necessary to copy the main navigation here so that it was in two different places, but hey... Notice the "AUDIO" menu option.. we tried having a local’s only online station. It was up for a few months but we didn't have a whole ton of local’s music available so it just kept playing the same 10 albums over and over again.
2008.10.03 - version 04
Holy balls! This is where it is starting to get good. Thanks to RogieKing (sorry I stole your tabbed layout design and didn't tell you), the design is looking really good. I'm getting better with the Photoshop thing and the banner is quite a bit better. I also really liked the tramp-stamp background image.
January of 2010: This is where the bands got personality for the first time. Rather than being just text on a page, you could hover on a band for a little tooltip and then click through to see a search page with their info and shows.
There was a bit of a membership section but it was quite terrible and eventually just got hidden.
We're probably getting about +200 visitors a day at this point so somewhere in this versions timeframe we had to step it up and get a virtual-private-server which has bumped the cost of keeping the site alive from about $100 a year to over $800.
2010.07.06 - version 05
This was really tough work getting this out! Launched on July 5th,2010, This is the current version of the guide and exists pretty much in this state today. Youwill notice only a few changes from what's up at the time of this article post. The guide is now getting several thousand page views per day by hundreds of visitors and so a very big part of this version was data caching and performance. Up through this point, all the data was pulled direct from the database on every request. Towards the end of version04 - page load times were getting pretty bad.
We're starting to get better with things like the membership section - where it is actually somewhat usable now. People have starting requesting things for the membership section so we build the requests as we get them - 'shows I’ve posted' etc... Somebody asked for a show-map so we built that too (its offline now, but we’ll bring it back!). Keep giving us feedback and we'll do our damnedest to make the guide better.
Up through early 2011 - we were spending about 30+ hours a week on the guide (for four years!), keeping all the shows up to date was a manual process of show-entry: one-by-one-by-one.. You'll notice at some point in there "Show-bot!" popped up. This was a beautiful thing where we could now dump in +50 shows at a time and the 'Show-Bot!' user, which is actually just used to access a script page and drops down our requirement admin time a big ton. I didn't have the skills necessary for the longest time to create the Show-Bot! script and also, Catch 22, I didn't' have the time required to create it because I was spending 40 hours a week on keeping up the Guide. do! Now we can update all the shows for a venue in one button rather than having to side by side compare and update by hand. -This is great because we have 500+ shows listed every month.
Many of these shows and venues, Laughing Horse Books for example, are kept up by you guys - awesome! That's the whole point of the Guide, a central spot where the show community can organize and communicate.
If you're curious, the server gets about 32 requests per second - which means the Guide is really popular and very well used. That's several thousand unique users per day. I'm sure we could make a grip if we had advertisements running on the site, but we don't - this is all 100% DIY! We survive by small and infrequent donations and by rad people like danikordani and the goofpunx who throw us benefit shows every now and then. We're surving at about $800-1200 a year so that love and donation fundage is greatly appreciated.
Thanks to everybody along the way that has contributed or cared. It has meant a ton. Here's to five+ more years!