The site went live to the public 1 year ago today.
Thank you to everyone for your support. We've grown up much faster than we expected. All the help we have received in getting here has been invaluable.
IB has gone from a site of just a few hundred regular users, to one with over 5,000 members regularly accessing it every day. Total unique visitors (which includes Guests) is now up to almost 20,000 per day. Total registered members is now over 45,000. We've had to upgrade the server earlier than expected as a result!
For those that missed hearing about it; a few weeks back we upgraded to a new server called Fluttershy which has 8 x Xeon cores, 16GB RAM and 1TB of 15kRPM SAS HDDs. It should keep things pretty fast and give us lots of room to grow for the immediate future. Thanks again to our Sponsors who jumped in with the much-needed cash for that upgrade!
What does the future hold for IB?
A new interface is in the works. A new version of the site code (all the stuff under the hood) is also in development. The code will be released as Open Source once we launch so Inkbunny can have babies and be upgraded faster. It's all going to be very shiny but could take us a year (or way longer) to complete!
Technical mumbo jumbo version...
In the next few weeks we are starting work on Version 2. Version 1 is unlikely ever to have an official release and will remain in Beta until it is replaced (with fixes and features added in the meantime as required).
Version 1 was created from scratch using a custom framework so it is difficult for newcomers to join the coding project and it is not easy to extend. We also do not currently get all the benefits of being part of an externally maintained Open Source framework.
Version 2 will begin as a major refactoring of the codebase (lots of tidying up and better use of OO to be done!). Once that is done we will begin migrating the code into a mainstream framework.
At the same time, a new user interface is being developed. We intend to keep the essence of the current interface but improve a lot of the strange/annoying (we like to say “eccentric”) parts.
We hope to release the new interface and new code base at the same time.
Once all that arduous work is complete and the new version of the site is launched, the code base will be released under an Open Source license. This will be the best way to speed up site development by allowing anyone to contribute features and fixes. It will also give something back to the community, allowing anyone to use the IB code to start their own art site. We believe having a number of successful art sites is the best thing for the growing furry community.
All this will be a heap of work, so we don't expect to be launching Version 2 for at least a year. Version 1 took about 9 months from when the first bit of code was laid down, to the day it launched publicly. At that stage it was much simpler than what Inkbunny is today. The project has grown massively in scope. Some fool keeps adding features to it.
New Sales System (coming soon, we promise)
The old Sales feature has been offline for a long time now. But work on the replacement system is progressing. It's a complete re-write from the ground up so it's a lot to do. We'll see if we can get the new version of Sales released before the old one has been offline for a year. We have until November! But really, it doesn't look like you'll have to wait quite that long. Thanks everyone for being so patient and understanding about it!