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J-Spec 4.0 is GO!
September 4, 2014
J-Spec has been around for quite a while now... since 1999. It sounds strange today, but back then it was highly unusual to run a (successful) business purely online, but we made it work when so few could, and eventually the world caught up with us :)
If there were 3 previous incarnations of the site over the years, then that makes this new one J-Spec version 4.0.
The original site, circa 1999 - 2007
If you remember this site you've been with us for a while, how times have changed. Note the splash page entry screen, a common trend at the time, along with recommended screen size... how quaint!
Although initially everything was entered manually, we were one of the very first sites to have a database of auction cars updated daily, an extremely novel feature at the time, and most of our competitiors were several years behind in that regard.
Version 2.0. Seen by Canadians only, circa 2004 - 2007
This site was for Canadian customers only, other markets were to get this version of the site but it never eventuated.
Version 3.0. The green years, circa 2009 - 2014
This one you may remember if you're a recent J-Spec visitor, it featured some very complex (and messy) databases and data mining going on in the background. The back end was pretty poorly built, to be honest, and it was all held precariously together with sticky tape and bubble gum. At the time of release this was again way ahead of anything else around. It was so good even our competitors actually use our site themselves to get info, and yes we know who you are! Even at the end it was (if we don't say so ourselves) probably one of the most informative import sites in the world.
It was stylish for its time but was getting a bit long in the tooth towards the final days. It served us well but with the release of J-Spec 4.0 we're not sad to see it gone, a personal point of disdain of mine was always the loading screens which were a necessary evil of how data and images were collected on demand.
Who remembers thumbs up/thumbs down exchange rate guy?
J-Spec 4.0. You're looking at it!
This is where we find ourselves 15 years later. The new site looks great and continues to be a world leader of information and content. There is some obvious version 3.0 DNA here for those who remember it, but in fact the entire database backend has been redesigned for speed, and does a very good job of handling the variety of data sources used to create the site, and it's actually far more complex than people probably realize. There are half a dozen tricky data sources used to present the information here, each with information stored in wildly different formats, and it has been quite a challenge to get everything to work together seamlessly. The fact that you can't tell hopefully means that it worked!
The new site has well well over 12,000 lines of code and a heck of a lot more including the actual content such as the Infobase section. It's been a big task, and we hope you enjoy the fruits of our labour.
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