Site refresh – May 2024

You may have noticed that the look of this site and some of the functionality has changed in the last couple of weeks. It is due to a process which I undertook to simplify the site and make it easier to maintain. This change occurred almost exactly 3 years from the last update. It seems that I usually get inspired to spend time on this site in the spring.

I had been using a combination of Drupal and WordPress (as well as Vanilla Forums and custom code) for many years. Back when I chose it, I liked the flexibility of Drupal as a content management system. It is very powerful and allowed me to create the organization of the static content for this site just like I wanted it. Adding functions like a store were very straightforward. And, Drupal was free.

The problem I found with Drupal was that it was difficult to maintain. Version upgrades were always a major affair involving testing of modules with the new version and often needing to find alternatives as some went unsupported or were combined into the core or just plain went away. I always had to build a mirrored version of the site where I could experiment and figure out how to get the same functionality I was used to but in the new version.

Further, I needed to apply Drupal’s interim updates at the server’s command prompt. I really felt like a Linux administrator when I did this. As a result, I did updates much less frequently than I should have been doing. This was a risky proposition with many of those updates being required to address security vulnerabilities.

I also have another site solely on WordPress which has been much easier to maintain. I feel more confident on that site with allowing updates to be applied automatically. I’ve never had any issues but, then again, have never faced a major version upgrade with WordPress. Even so, I decided to move this site entirely off of Drupal and to consolidate everything onto WordPress. I did keep Vanilla Forums and the custom code. There are a few things that I did not carry over from the old site –

  • eBay auction history – I hadn’t updated this in several years. My code to pull the auctions from eBay had never been migrated to latest eBay API and ceased to work any longer. Since the data was quite outdated, I decided not to migrate the history.
  • Feature Mustang Registry – no one had registered in the last two years so I think this project is dead.
  • Store – even after I redid the club sticker in 2021, there was very little interest in purchasing them. I maybe sold a couple of them since the redesign. I haven’t ruled out adding a store function back. I still have the ‘Do not wash’ hang tags in stock, too.

For posterity, here are some screen shots of the old site. The home page –

And, the main Feature Mustang page –

Check out the post on the 2021 update in order to see screen shots from even further back.

I still have a bit of cleanup to do and to make sure I get the VIN and VCL Decoders working again on mobile. I also might do a future post on some of the tools I used to do the upgrade from Drupal to WordPress.

Stay tuned…

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