CoolBasic websites now and in the past

The new coolbasic.com website went online yesterday. As I mentioned in the previous blog entry, the old placeholder webpage needed to be replaced, because it wasn’t designed to last as long as it now seems it’ll take until launch of CoolBasic V3. It took me one day to build from scratch, but overall there’s much more effort into it. In addition to creation of the CSS-stylesheet and the HTML layout, there’s now a nice feature on the main page that lists recent forum posts and blog entries. Those listings required some manual SQL-queries for two databases on the web server.

I made some archaeological digging, and managed to find all previous websites of CoolBasic ever created (this is fun to watch). Let’s take a tour, beginning from the oldest:

Gigabot original Website, 2003

Gigabot original Website, 2003

First of all, those of you who are familiar with the history of CoolBasic, know that it all began off an idea of making a “programming game”. The game idea is simple – players would need to script an A.I for two bots. These bots would then fight each other, in an arena, and using an array of provided weapons like laser cannons and missiles. During the actual match, the players cannot affect how it goes. The bots simply rely on their A.I scripts until the other gets destroyed. The screenshot above is the original Gigabot homepage (2003). The game never finished (though I’ve thought about re-opening the project some day), but instead it evolved into something we know today as CoolBasic!

The very first website, 2004

The very first website, 2004

The first ever (official) CoolBasic website looked like that. Yep, it’s awful, and it’s from 2004 (Beta 1.0 release3). My www design skills clearly weren’t too good back then 🙂

The first 'real' website

The first 'real' website

Sadly, I couldn’t find this website anywhere. However, forum member Jare managed to find it from the Web Archives. I think it dates back to the late of 2004. It resided on a MBnet server which is a hosting service for a Finnish computing magazine, MikroBitti’s, subscribers. The current version was Beta5 (2nd re-write of the 1st generation).

Website for the current version (2nd generation), 2004/2005

Website for the current version (2nd generation), 2004/2005


The english website, 2005

The english website, 2005

Then there was the famous Blitz battle which lead to complete re-write of CoolBasic, introducing Beta 10 -series and the Object System. Also known as the current version, the 2nd generation. At this point, I registered domain coolbasic.com, and factored a new website seen in the image above. The files date back to 2004-2005. At this point, CoolBasic also got some (unwanted) international attention which lead me to build a fast partial english localization of the manual and the website. The english support never got finished because of my famous take off, but proper localizatoin is something we’ll definately improve for CoolBasic V3.

The temporary placeholder, 2008

The temporary placeholder, 2008

If you haven’t yet read the previous blog entry, I strongly recommend to do so now.

When I made the come-back, CoolBasic V3 development was established (mainly because I realized how awfully outdated the Beta 10 was). The website was also totally out-of-standards, so I had to get rid of it as fast as possible. CoolBasic websites in general follow medium saturated colour theme. This “placeholder” was not an exception, but due to my mindset of “insignificancy” at that time, the technical aspect wasn’t taken care of in such quality I normally would have done.

The better placeholder, 2009

The better placeholder, 2009

This brings us here, the new “placeholder” website. I made an intrepid decision, and used black background this time, as opposed to pretty much any of the previous websites. A good website uses a palette of 3-5 colours to form its theme and feel. I picked yellowish orange and neutral blue that resembles the gutter bar of the current CoolBasic code editor. The orange is great for emphasizing text content, and blue would style all other elements that are not normal text, such as headers and links. The most difficult part was picking the correct blue hue because it easily banks towards cyan which is too bright for headers compared to the normal text, or dark blue which is too hard to read on a black background. Based on feedback, the colour theme succeeded; it’s easy to read, not too jumpy, and page elements stand out quite well. I’m glad to hear that 🙂

To enhance impression, I also did some artwork on the header and footer, to remind of a Game Creation tool here: This business is tied around entertainment after all. It’s not too obvious, but I bet it creates some subconscious images that support CoolBasic as a product. High-resolution textures and reflections create impression of the multimedia involved. And then there’s of course the never-dying logo of the “cool” Ice Cube.

There’s also some tech involved. I don’t have fancy ASP.NET support on my web server, so my options are quite limited of what comes to content publishing systems such as MS Sharepoint or Elevation. So I use PHP and MySQL. In this particular case, I had to integrate with phpBB3 and WordPress databases in order to compose a list of the latest entries shown on the main page. This is the first time I actually need SQL for my webpages, so I decided to do this properly and wrote a complete PHP5 SQL class (objects and classes are not supported until version 5) I can use for later cases, too. Those listings change according to the selected language of the website, too. I’m actually surprised that I managed to get this all running in just one day.

Now that I have stabbed both the official forum PHP code and the blog JavaScript code, I decided to establish a development environment on my laptop. Thanks to this “sandbox”,I no longer have to upload the scripts just to debug/test them. As a result I now have a complete copy of the forum, blog and the website, running on my localhost. All further development can be done locally on my laptop which is fast and painless. This gives me time to test things through properly before uploading to the production environment where the changes “go live”.

Bonus
When I was digging for those old websites, I came across something that you guys have never seen before, but something that apparently was supposed to be the next CoolBasic website. In addition, there’s also a pic of CoolBasic’s supposed new manual front page. These files date back to 2007. Please note that these never went live, and never will. I have something completely different planned for CoolBasic V3 🙂

The unpublished CoolBasic Website, 2007

The unpublished CoolBasic Website, 2007


The unpublished CoolBasic User Manual front page, 2005/2006

The unpublished CoolBasic User Manual front page, 2005/2006

OK, back to Pass#2 coding…

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