April 14th, 2012 - By Humuhumu

Tiki matchbooks

My tiki matchbooks... waiting patiently for the day to come that they can be in Ooga-Mooga.

Ooga-Mooga launched nearly seven years ago (whoa!). Thanks to you guys adding all of your beautiful collections (and oh so many pictures, almost 70,000 of them!), it has grown into an outstanding resource for tikiphiles.

There’s so much to love about it… it’s fantastic for learning more about tiki mugs and other collectibles, seeing what others are finding for their collections, trading and connecting with other tikiphiles, all that great stuff. It’s so lovely to get lost exploring everyone’s collections on Ooga-Mooga, and you guys make it fun.

But not everything about Ooga-Mooga is loveable, and frankly, you guys deserve something better…

It’s hard to find things

Finding things in Ooga-Mooga works pretty well—if you happen to know the name of what you’re looking for. If you’re trying to identify something, you’re pretty much out of luck. And if what you’re trying to identify is a brown tiki mug… oooof.

Search is fussy and complicated

I tried to make it a bit better by adding lots of complicated metadata for each object in Ooga-Mooga. The downside of that is a bunch of levers and knobs in a gnarly search form. Blech.

Template creation is a bit of a pain

In order to drive that complicated search form, all that data needs to be collected in the object templates, and that’s not easy. I created a bunch, our darling Tiki-Kate created many more, and now Trader Tom has been doing a fantastic job of adding new templates… but it shouldn’t be so hard to keep up with all the new things you guys are adding to your collections.

It’s hard to find collectors

Have you ever tried to find someone’s collection in Ooga-Mooga using the All Collections page? Someone named “Tiki something”? OW.

It’s got plenty of stuff that isn’t particularly tiki

I’m as guilty of this as anyone (see: frog mug, oyster bar mug). With everyone’s varying ideas of what tiki *is*, it’s only natural that the objects in Ooga-Mooga are going to be all over the map. It would be better if the site knew what you wanted to see, and didn’t show you the stuff that isn’t as relevant to your interests.

It’s hard to see the latest activity

In order to see the latest new objects and comments in Ooga-Mooga, you have to poke around a few different places, and much of it is in the form of plain text links. Dullsville.

There are tons of really cool tiki things that can’t go into Ooga-Mooga

Oh man, do I want to see your matchbooks. And your postcards. And your vinyl. And your Coco Joe’s. And your menus.

The code base is old and hard to maintain

I built Ooga-Mooga seven years ago, and since then I’ve learned new languages, new techniques, new habits. I’m better at this now than I was then. Seven years is a lifetime in programming, and it’s time to re-architect the application, rebuild it better, stronger, more maintainable. It’ll make it much easier to add new features, and improve existing ones.

No one can remember the name

Ugga Mugga? Ooby-Doobie? Mooga-Booga? Sigh. Ooga-Mooga deserves a name that sticks with people.

So, Ooga-Mooga is getting some big love

Here’s what I’m doing about all this: I’ve taken several months off work (and will be taking more time) to rebuild Ooga-Mooga from the ground up. I’m working hard to make it nicer, better, bigger, awesomer. Addressing every one of the issues outlined above, along with lots of other improvements. With a name that’s not “Ooga-Mooga”—one I like a whole lot better!

It’s been a big undertaking, but it’s also been a lot of fun—and I’ve already completed much of the work. I believe that Ooga-Mooga can be something outstanding, and that taking the time will be worth it.

I usually don’t like to talk about the projects I’m working on until I have them ready to use. But these are big changes, and I want to keep you guys in the loop. I’m really excited about the new Ooga-Mooga, and I can’t wait to use it myself. Stay tuned… soon I’ll be ready to show you what’s coming.
p.s. Oh man, even this blog is embarrassingly musty & dusty… check out that “Ooga-Mooga on MySpace” link in the sidebar. Sorry so ugly!