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SOTA online service changes for 2020

2020 will be a big year for SOTA as we will finally be closing down the old database. The expected date for shutdown is 29-Feb-2020. Myself and Andrew VK3ARR are already implementing the shutdown plan. The first item was to stop registrations for the old database, you get redirected to the new one and have for quite a few months. DNS has been worked on which should make the switchover almost invisible.

The old database is a fine and venerable piece of code. Whilst it was well written at the time by Gary G0HJQ and has been easy to maintain and extend, it is written using older software ideas and libraries and will be increasingly harder to keep going as time moves on. In addition, trying to extend it to support SSO (single sign on) showed that we would have to rewrite so much it that it was easier to rewrite in its entirety. That is what Andrew did.

The new database has been available for use for 1 year. We did this to ensure it was stable and functional by operating it in parallel with the old database. It works fine. Like all good software it has some rough points, Andrew has fixed many bugs to date, there are improvements that would make it better. But primarily we wanted to get significant use of the more complex algorithms to ensure the core was functional. We’re pretty happy with the internals now and this is the trigger to shut the old one down and look at enhancements etc. to the replacement.

What this means for everyone is pretty simple: you have to be able to login and use SSO. This is pretty much standard for most people now anyway. However, there will be people still using SOTAwatch2 and the old database who have not tried their SSO logins yet.

If you can login in to SOTAwatch3 (https://sotawatch.sota.org.uk) then you are sorted, your SSO login is working. The same login is used for the new database (https://newsotadata.sota.org.uk). You have nothing else to do here and can relax.

So first using your database username and password try to login using the above links. If you cannot login to either of these sites then you have a problem that the SOTA MT have to fix for you. You can use the contact the MT link on the SOTA website to report this and make the subject of the message “SSO LOGIN mycallsign”. In my case the subject would be “SSO LOGIN MM0FMF” and in Andrew’s case “SSO LOGIN VK3ARR” but use your own call. If you keep to this format it makes it easier for us to deal with. The shutdown date was decided a few weeks back but we held back announcing it as Andrew, Jon and myself didn’t want to spend all the Christmas vacations dealing with SSO issues!

One issue we are aware of is validation emails not arriving. This is a perennial problem with some email service providers. They think the SOTA website sending you email is a spammer and they do not deliver the mail. A real provider would put these mails in your spam/junk folder for you to review and deal with but there are many (att.net, btinternet.com, arrl.net, yahoo.*) that just delete the mail with no notification. Microsoft’s Hotmail service (also known now as live.com or outlook365) and Google’s gmail.com just work.

Note that the links on the pages take you to the old services, these will be changed soon. So you will have to bookmark the new service address for now. Please confirm you can access the new services and stop using the old ones. If you have problems, contact us as described above. Don’t expect an immediatereply, we will be busy working on these and other changes.

22 Likes

I think that Gary can be justifiably proud of his code. It was written at a time when the future of SOTA was largely unknown. In particular the number of users and activations was just a guess. It’s a good thing that he did not decide that 255 would be adequate.

2 Likes

Yes, it’s only occasionally I’ve come across niche specific pieces of programming that have survived with large parts unchanged for 15 years especially in the web world where ideas change so frequently. Few things in the software world impress me after 36yrs at the coal face and Gary’s design is one of them.

Andy, everything seems to work fine for me, another triumoh for the team.
A big thank-you from me to everyone who keeps the infrastructure of SOTA going.
where would we be without all the effort these people put in on our behalf
73 and HNY for 2020
Mike G4DDL

1 Like