Current article describes the whole process of UG creation, starting with ideas that were put in a basis of new version and ending with description of every feature that was implemented in Ultimate-Guitar.Com v4.0.
Probably, many of you know, that the first major re-design of UG was done in the autumn of 2001 (september, to be exact) when UG has passed on the new stage of functionality. New applications were made using up-to-date technologies (Php, MySQL & Cgi). Later, that UG version got 2.0 number. [Though, there were about 4 succesful redesigns behind that version ;) However, none of the previous redevelopes affected on the technical and content sides of the question].
Same time [I refer to the UG version 2.0] there was a first significant expansion of tab archive [approximately 20,000 tabs were added]. New sections were implemented as well [such as news and a forums]. 8 months later [mid-july of 2002], a few other sections were added [guest columns, ug featured, reviews] and UG version number raised to the 3.0. News and tabs archives began to be updated daily. A year later quantity of the tabs represented at UG raised to the significant 40,000 number. Certainly, at the given stage, UG conceded to several other sites by the quantity of the tabs [such as mxtabs and tabcrawler - which had about 100,000 "tabs" in their archives]. Nevertheless, UG had a few advantages - all tabs were passed through tab admin [who is a human] & were selected manually. Besides we strictly watched for tabs/artists with incorrect names, duplicate tabs etc. All these efforts has allowed us to create the most qualitative archive on the Net. This fact has not stood aside from mass-media: UG was featured in several on-line and off-line editions, ie, MuchMusic [Canadian Music TV], Guitarist [UK magazine], Guitarist.co.uk [online version] etc.
Finally, in the autumn of 2002 idea about necessity of improvement of current UG software applications has arisen. Along with these idea we decided to develop a new, more attractive design [bright and saturate - eventually, average age of UG members is 15-25 years!] and implement new sections on UG. Then the decision of necessity of efforts' shift [or their more even distribution] between tabs and other sections of UG [reviews, lessons, news, guest columns] was made.
Ok, enough nostalgia, let's talk about current UG features!
General:Design was redeveloped. There were about 5 beta versions of upcoming UG design during the work [which lasts for six months] - that is about 25 Mb of images. Total number of images in the final UG version is about 100.
All HTML files were redeveloped as well. There were made more than 140 templates for the current UG version, which conduct different UG sections. All of these files were manually written. [I mean no WYSIWYG software!].
All images were optimized. Despite of the fact that current UG version's pages have more graphic, their size 20% less in average in opposite of old UG.
Tabs & Tabs-Related:First of all, there was a general tab database cleaning off the bad tabs [the main factor was their rating and number of users' votes]. Over 2.000 of tabs were removed, 10% of which are famous Blink 182 tabs.
All versions were sorted by their rating.
30.000 of new tabs and 3.700 new bands were added to the archive. Over 5.000 of tabs were added especially for the heavy music fans \m/. Currently, tab archive consists of 67.678 tabs.
New expanded tab archive was checked for the files and database records conformity [No more blind links and losted tabs!].
Full albums tabs on the artists' pages are groups at the top of the page now.
Tab search improvement was made. New smart search results' sorting sheme was implemented along with new search results filtering mechanism. In example, difference between "eric clapton" & "clapton eric" queries was eliminated - both results will be same relevant.
Practically all of the UG pages are static now [HTML]. That give us a big advantage of saving server's resources, and as the result makes the whole UG site faster and the system much more reliable.
New Top were implemented. Top100 Tabbers [by UG Score], Top100 Tabbers [by Average Tabs Rating] & Top100 Tabbers [by Number of Tabs]. You can read more about them on UG Help pages.
News:New engine for news section was created.
"Users comments" feature was added.
Search through News pages was implemented.
Reviews:Absolutely new engine was created for this section. Now we have better rating system; overall rating is introduced.
All old users' reviews are moved to the new database.
Existent categories expanded, new categories added.
Reviewed & confirmet all new reviews we have got for the past time.
New flexible reviews submition form was implemented. [Try it! It's cool!]
Search through Reviews pages was implemented.
Lessons:New engine was created.
All the lessons from the old archive are moved to the new archive.
New lessons were added.
"Users comments" & "Users rating" features were added.
Search through Lessons pages was implemented.
Guest Columns:New engine was created.
"Users comments" & "Users rating" features were added.
Search through Guest Columns pages was implemented.
UG Featured:New engine for this section was created.
You can add your comments from now on.
UG Members Panel:My UG Favorites feature was redeveloped. [Probably, UG oldies remember that feature that was implemented in UG 2.0 first time. Later it was turned off because of the big load it has made for the server].
You can get all private UG membership related info and whats not: My UG Score, My Average Tabs Rating, My Tabs, My Favorites, Top 10 & UG Tips section [Tips, tricks, fun and facts about UG]. Top 10 section generates randomly.
Now you can update your tab straight from this page. There is a reason to set this page as a Homepage in your browser's settings.
In summary it would be desirable to note what long and thorny was the way from occurrence of idea and its implementation. Work on the new UG lasts for the loong 8 months in total. More than 150 bugs and subquality has been fixed during beta-testing period only. Big thanks goes to the brave and valorous UG Team for the shown courage in battles with wrong PHP code lines, losted HTML tags and bugs which occupied our office room a few months ago [and make us to find another room!] ;) And the biggest thanks goes to our users for their long patience ;)