History

This is a brief history of this site, for those who are interested.

In the fall of 1992, I was taking university courses in Science Fiction literature and Science Fiction cinema. One of the courses required a short seminar, so for my topic I chose to combine the two. On October 19, I posted a message on Usenet asking for suggestions of films to add to my short list. There were 32 films on the list at that point.

On May 4, 1993, I had finally merged all the many suggestions from over 70 email replies generated by my original posting, and posted the updated list. It had already become large enough to split into SF, horror and fantasy sections, now totalling 271 films.

Sometime in late 1993 or early 1994 I got my first web site and posted the list there. At this time, it was still just three static pages.

November, 1997 saw a move from my former web host to my own server. This opened up many new options, and in January, 1998 I added simple scripts to search through each of the three genre-specific lists, generating a simple list of matches along with the basic details being kept at the time. Now, instead of maintaining HTML files, I maintained text files, and the HTML was generated automatically by the search scripts, greatly simplifying the process.

In June, 1998, the collection, which now included 512 films, was changed from flat text files to a simple Berkeley DB which could support the slightly more complex data relationships that were beginning to crop up. The three lists were merged, with a new indicator of which genre a movie belonged in. A new, unified search script was needed, and a second script was added to display details of a particular film. Maintenance was still done via text files which were then imported into the Berkeley DB format.

The site was named the Site of the Week for February 21, 2000 by Science Fiction Weekly.

In December, 2001 the site was promoted to a subdomain at http://fictionintofilm.trawna.com/ from its former subdirectory location at http://www.trawna.com/greg/movies/

By October, 2002, the web site was becoming too complex to be supported by the simple Berkeley DB files that were being searched. The switch was made to a MySQL database. Taking advantage of the flexibility provided by the new database structure, specific searches based on author and film release date were added. Even now, maintenance was done on text files (albeit files that were now easier to update), which were imported into the database. Having been busy with other priorities, the database had only grown marginally to 569 films by this date.

June, 2003 saw the introduction of a new server with greatly increased capabilities. This was necessitated by increased traffic; in particular some spiders would submit requests for every film's details in a very short time, and the old server (a 200MHz Pentium with 48Mb of RAM) would get bogged down by so many simultaneous requests. The database stood at 616 films at this time.

The first user survey began in July, 2003.

In August, 2003, I finally put together an administrative form that I could use to manipulate the database directly, simplifying the maintenance process tremendously.

March, 2005 saw the first of a new set of features aimed at developing a "community" feeling, by allowing users who have signed up to leave comments and ratings. Five new scripts were required just to handle user maintenance, a big expansion from the total of six which previously ran the whole site. The database numbered 837 films at this point.

April, 2005 was a busy month with improved formatting, substantial new data (including over 1500 new Amazon links and an increase in film count to 916), and the registration of a new, dedicated domain: http://fifdb.com/.

In December, 2008, the entire site was re-implemented in PHP, using the CakePHP framework and a modified version of the Wildflower CMS, thereby resolving some recent hosting issues and adding long-desired functionality.


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