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Why Basenotes is rubbish lately

Rating: 4 votes, 4.75 average.
AKA - where are the marketplace bits in the directory, AKA - why is it offline for hours at a time, AKA - why do I have to log into see the review now, AKA - why is something happening that is really quite annoying...

Anybody that visits the site often will have come across an occasion in the last few months where the site unavailable. This is frustrating for us, so we guess it must be frustrating for you too. Here's what is happening.

The main culprit is the scripts that run the directory. These were coded by myself (based heavily on an application called flattext) back in 2001. I'm a self-taught perl coder, so I kind of made it up as I went along.

How the script works is that when you look at the page for Angel, it looks through 11,000 fragrances to find the stuff to do with Angel. It then looks through 30,000 reviews to find the Angel ones. For those of you who know anything about coding, to have to do this everytime someone looks at a page is pretty inefficient. So why did I write it like this? Well, back in 2001 we had 900 fragrances to look through, and about 300 reviews. Plus we had around 100-200 visitors a day, so there wasn't too much strain.

Over December we were getting about 130,000 page views a day. So the server was getting a bit of a kicking due to my bad coding.

I first thought we might start getting problems last February, and so began recoding six years worth of code. By the middle of the year it was becoming apparent something wasn't working, as we were crashing fairly regularly. Traffic had been increasing regularly after winning a major industry award in Canada, and being featured in the NYT. Being not overly technical, I thought the problem was due to my then hosts.

I then took the decision to move hosting to a different company, paying for a slightly more high-tech server. This started off well, until we started getting busier over the holiday period.

The culprit, as I now know, was not the hosting, but my old code. And since then various measures have been put in place to try and minimise the crashes.

As I said, I'm recoding the whole thing to make it more efficient. I don't know how much longer it will take. In the meantime, the directory will have to come down again until it is resolved (I can't work properly on the code unless I can access the site).

The other option is to pay for more powerful machines to run the site on. The quote we received from our hosts (and others) is about the same as what I pay for my house rent each month, which is just too much right now.

We're entering our eighth year online, and ideally would like Basenotes to grow into something really special. We've got some really great ideas we just haven't been able to implement as throughout 2007 we spent the whole time just trying to keep things ticking over.

I'll keep you informed as to progress.
Behind the Scenes


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  1. JBHoren's Avatar
    "Rubbish"?? Gosh, that's a pretty harsh word. I've been reading and learning, and occasionally posting, for about half-a-year, and my experience has been consistently of high-quality. It was just past the six-month mark that I began contributing financially to the B&B (Badger & Blade) shaving forum, where I first learned of Basenotes... I guess it's time to do the same here.


    Jonathan B. Horen
  2. Divatologist's Avatar
    Thanks Grant you good smellin computer wiz you
  3. narcus's Avatar
    I trust it will be a better place in the end. Improvements have been quite noticeable over the past twelve months, too. I am glad when you are successful, and I am glad for the recognition you and this site have received lately!
  4. Zut's Avatar
    Unknowingly, you just gave us frequent users an opportunity to thank you for your great dedication. Hats off to you for this most useful site! Thanks!
  5. Zut's Avatar
    Unknowingly, you just gave us frequent users an opportunity to thank you for your great dedication. Hats off to you for this most useful site! Thanks!

  6. SirSlarty's Avatar
    I've just started on my journey in the world of fragrances and Basenotes have helped me immensely.

    Thank you! I appreciate your hard work!
  7. veryfaststuff's Avatar
    (I've been the reserved, non-social kind of guy, but I couldn't stay silent after all this time.)

    To the author of the most comprehensive database of fragrances:

    You and this whole community make basenotes what it is; I can't express enough thanks for everyone. Anything I'd say would come out as something cheezy.

    So... thank you!
  8. CologneJunkie's Avatar
    Keep doing what you're doing, Grant! We know you're working hard & we appreciate your awesome dedication to this site. We can wait .
  9. pookerella's Avatar
    There has to be SOMEONE out there who has connections to a hosting company in the UK who can help Grant out by giving him decent pricing in return for advertising. I don't know this for a fact, but I would think hosting advertising would be OK. How about it gents and ladies??? C'mon! Out of 120,000 visitors a day....there has to be SOMEONE out there!! It's not a handout, it's a trade!
  10. starbug's Avatar
    This is the thing stopping this site being one of the best on the interweb thingy..

    Go to one of the script freelance websites and pay the $50.00 to get a proper script.. getafreelancer is one I use.

    This wonderful site is being undersold.

    Harsh opinion, but an honest one..
  11. Grant's Avatar

    Go to one of the script freelance websites and pay the $50.00 to get a proper script.. getafreelancer is one I use.
    It would cost a lot more than that to do what we need. If it cost just 50 dollars i'd have done it years ago. but thanks for the comment
  12. Nicolas V's Avatar
    Basenotes is so not rubbish. Thank you for everything you do. I have learned so much from your website; it is simply incredible. Just think how many people you help to smell great every day.

    Keep up the great work!
  13. reason666's Avatar
    Please come back soon!!!I nees your help badly on blind buys
  14. arohesee's Avatar
    I feel your pain. I have been working with out-of-date databases for 12 years with absolutely no user friendly anything (the government of course).
  15. kopah's Avatar
    Hope Basenotes is back to full-strength soon... we're all feeling the pain of being without this wonderful resource!
    Updated 29th January 2008 at 04:25 PM by kopah
  16. JickyMan's Avatar
    I wonder is some of the big name fragrance houses/designers would help sponsor you? BN is helping plenty of companies receive attention and profit. Perhaps a little for the BN uber-server and coding fund?
  17. allegro_barbaro's Avatar
    Good for you and thanks for putting so much into this fantastic website!!
  18. Citizen Frolik's Avatar
    Cached pages are better than nothing! This is an excellent resource, and I'm looking forward to the resurrected site!

    Good luck with the re-vamp.
  19. Amit's Avatar
    All the best my friend!
  20. tarant's Avatar
    I would like to have more sophisticated search.

    if i look for "Creed", there should be a field with name "Designer:" (this would only search in the table column "Designer" in the DB table)
    if i look for top note Citrus it could be a field with name "top note:", etc.

    if you would do it like this, you haven't to search the whole thing. if someone want to make a general search the google search is fine too. otherwise it is really sad that i can't click on a top note anymore to find all the perfumes with the same top note (as example). this would be an easy lookup and if you would make indexes on that database columns it would be really (!!) a fast lookup.

    what database do you use? do you store the whole directory it in one table? the top notes should be stored in a seperate table (because it could be more than one) for fast search. Etc.

    there can be a lot of improvements what would make this website really fast.

    best regards,

    (software engineer)
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Loving perfume on the Internet since 2000