Self Publishing Version 4

My recent posts have briefly touched upon the new website Outskirts Press launched over Memorial Day weekend, which we are lovingly referring to as  Version 4.  Is this the 4th “version” of the site we’ve had? No; we’ve had more than that.

Version 4 comes from a convoluted history of enhancement-naming conventions.   When I was single-handedly programming the first few versions of the Outskirts Press website in CGI and Perl (way back in 2002, 2003 and 2004), it went through a number of different “looks.”   As the number of books we published exploded from 51 in 2004 to 220 in 2005, it started to become apparent that the site I had programmed was not sufficient for all the books we were publishing. In other words, it was bending under the quantity and demands we were putting on it.

So, the IT department was taxed with rebuilding the site from the ground up. This involved a migration of the programming and data to SQL.  They started calling that first SQL version of the website SQL 1.  Very little changed aesthetically with that first migration. It was a daunting enough task simply migrating all the author records and data into the SQL databases.

Once the foundation was in place to handle our growth, and once SQL 1 was working, we immediately began working on some aesthetic improvements that leveraged the new, faster advantages resulting from the SQL databases.  These improvements became known internally as SQL 2.

Last year we launched SQL 3, which was a combination of some database improvements and aesthetic improvements, mostly involving the internal Author’s Center portions of our website. In other words, we were using resources to improve the experience for our core group of customers.

Even before SQL 3 was launched, I was already working (at least in my mind) on the next leap forward for our website and our company. This fundamental change was known as SQL 4 by our IT team, but since “SQL” has very little resonance outside of the IT world, we decided from a marketing & branding perspective to call it “Version 4” instead, more akin to software releases and operating systems.

So that’s the genesis of the name. With the next posts we’ll talk about the fundamental differences and improvements with Version 4 of the new and improved Outskirts Press, along with some hiccups along the way.