The Internet Furry Proximity Locator, like many things was born in frustration. After having been furry for two years, and only knowing a handfull of local furries I had a desire to find more. The final push towards writing the IFPL came when I met BJ, a fur who had gone to the same school I had, and lived less than a mile and a half from my house.
Once I had the drive to write the IFPL gathering the information needed to build the IFPL bagan. For nights I searched the web for sources of zipcode to longitude/latitude data. Finally I found the site I was looking for, it explained how a group (I'll put a link in here when I find them again) had written a program to find your location based on your IP address. What this program really did is look up the mailing address of your ISP, specifically it's zipcode, and compare it to a list of zipcodes to find the longitude and latitude for that zipcode. Bingo! This was the information I needed to write the IFPL. With code from a friend (I'll look it up again) to calculate the distance in miles between 2 longiture/latitude coordinates I had the tools necessary to write the IFPL.
The coding of the first version (v 0.1) of the IFPL went fairly quickly. A user database was created, and PERL scripts to manipulate the data within the database were written. Webpages were written and tested. Ver 0.1 was first made available to the public for testing, over a dynamic PPP connection through an @shout. Within 4 hours the newly build database had over 25 entries. Seeing the eagerness of furries to use the IFPL I quickly moved it over to my ISP account.
The second version of the IFPL, ver 0.2 essentially added a few minor features and fixed some of the bugs that had been left behind from it's hurried development. An entry added to the proximity screen gave a quick look at what information the user had provided. Handling of spaces in names was improved, and changing of one's username was added.
Version 1.0 was released ahead of schedule (Like I have a set schedule :), when a DB crash, and a misunderstanding with the ISP backup admins, lead to some of the old DB being lost. Backup systems have improved, offsite backups are now in place. Ver 1.0 was nearly 100% functional at the time of the crash, and rather than restore the old DB into the older version of the software, I went ahead and upgraded the DB and put it into the new ver 1.0 server. 1.0 to my surprise had relatively few bugs, most of which were cosmetic.
Still to come:
I am finished modifying the relatively stable 1.0 code into 1.1 which features numerous improvements, such as:
Mailing list locators
Proximity Callendar systems
Cleaner user interface (bundeling Points of interest, mailing lists, and similar type information into one option)
I have added Birthday searching to the calander page, which prompted me to change the version to 1.2 :)