One of the first things I wanted to do was to build up a big collection of windsurfing pictures so spent ages trying various softwares to do this. Some were offline packages that create the album for you to upload, these were quickly ruled out as I wanted my users to be able to upload. Then there were the packages my web host at the time offered, all next to useless. Finally and by a bit of luck I came across Coppermine. It really floated my boat and had all the features I wanted then some.
First thing I did was install it wrongly so off to the forums I went rudely ignoring the manual and search facilities. The response to read the manual was fully warranted and with my tail between my legs I did so. Ten minutes later my site was up and running but the look was not quite right so off to the forums I went where I was pointed towards a thread or two that would help me along with some information on how to use the search facility. By the end of that evening my site was coming together nicely. 7 questions on the forums later and still being pointed to the manual or search facility (I’m a slow learner sometimes) I finally started to get it and began doing my homework. After a while hanging around the forums I really got to know Coppermine and its ins and outs. I also got to know the team, their personalities and their skills. I was truly amazed by the sheer amount of time they dedicate to helping their users. If you regularly visit you will see that at any time of the day there is one of the very small Dev team about. It was not just those I was amazed by either, it was all those who contribute to the project from the translators to the Mod and Plugin authors.
As such I really though I should contribute in some way to those that had helped make my site so popular. So I began trying to help others with problems that I knew about. At times I got it wrong and was told so, but this helped me learn.
I then began a little PHP coding myself as I wanted some features that were not available at the time. I shared a couple of mods with the community and as time went on I spent more time on the forums and learnt a lot. Then one night I suddenly found myself with some moderator rights. I honestly thought the forums had been hacked but that was not the case, I had gained promotion, something totally unexpected. It didn’t stop there though, a few months later I was asked along with a few of the other supporters to join the Dev team. This really stunned me and I leapt at the chance to join such a fantastic project.
I am now fully hooked. It is only now that I see just how much work goes into this project. Over the last few months the team have spent literally hundreds of man hours on CPG 1.5 while still trying to support the many users on the forums. On top of this you realise that all the Dev’s have lives to lead with all the ups and downs that goes with it. Some have had a really rough time over the last couple of years but still continue to dedicate a lot of energy this project.
Over the coming months the beta of CPG 1.5 will be released and the team will be rushed of their feet fixing any problems that will surely arise. While the 6 or 7 key Dev’s will have an idea, the rest of the supporters will have a lot of catching up to do but it will be worth it. CPG 1.5 is a superb product that will enable us all to improve our websites and our users experience.