Basenotes Version 2 (2002)

After the site had been online a year, it became painstakingly boring to create the fragrance pages individually. After some light googling, I found a web page called flattext.com (now offline, but here's an archive.org snapshot of the site). The site claimed that you could put "virtually any database online in minutes."

flattext.jpg

The trouble was, it cost $99.

It would make my life easier to have an actual database on the site that people could search. I convinced myself that a lot of hobbies cost money, so this would be fine.

I downloaded the script. It was written in a language called PERL. I'm sure I could work this out. I used to make programs in BASIC for my 8-bit Commodore. How hard could it be?

I bought a bunch of PERL books from Amazon, and got to work on coding what would be Basenotes Version 2.

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Okay, looking at the screenshot above, I've just noticed it says "online since 30th August 2000" -- so it turns out I'd missed our 21st Birthday by over a month. I could have sworn it was the end of September 2000!

Due to the new zingy database script, I was able to add a page for every fragrance! Here's how that Burberry Touch page is looking now:

burberry.jpg

It doesn't look too different from what we have now. There's thumbs up for the reviews, and links to where to buy the fragrance. We no longer offer the ability to search Usenet (ask your granddad) for information about the fragrance though...

One thing I regretted later is spending ages photoshopping the fragrance bottle in front of a green circle. I ditched that shortly after, but you can still find plenty of the old-skool green circle images on the site, where I haven't bothered to update the pics in 21 years!

Although the directory was being run off a database. It wasn't a proper database.

What would happen, is that every now and again, I would export all the information I had about the perfumes from the database on my computer into a perfume list file. I would then upload this file to the website when I wanted to add new perfumes.

This perfume list file was basically like a big Excel spreadsheet with all the perfumes in it. When you did a search for Burberry Touch, it wouldn't go and get it immediately. What it would do, was look at the first row of the database and ask:
"is this Burberry Touch?"
No, it's something by Adidas
"Okay, cool! I'll check out the next line. Is this Burberry Touch?"
No, it's another one by Adidas
"No worries, I'll keep going..."

Until eventually it got to Burberry Touch.

Luckily, being a computer, it was quite quick, and at the time there wasn't a great deal of people on the website. This would bite me on the arse later.

Here's how it looked when you did do a fragrance search:

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We still had the discussion board over at Yahoo Groups - but we did have a sales and swap board on the site (the forerunner to the Marketplace we have now on the forums)

marketplace.jpg

The software we used for the "Basenotes Bulletin Board" as it was then known, was called YaBB. It, like the database script, was written in PERL.

I wondered if I could somehow squidge the log-in part of this Bulletin Board, into the main site, so that I didn't have to copy and paste people's reviews when they emailed them in?

And thus began work on Basenotes Version 3