If you have been following me for a while or been a user of the whiskyresource.com website, you will be familiar with some of what I will describe as 'Brand' features from the website. But for those new or unfamiliar I will explain as I go along.

Whisky Resource was established and went live on the 2nd February 2020 - 02.02.2020 - A Palindromic date.
The mission was to create a fully filterable and searchable database of mainly core range whisky bottle information, with the occasional limited releases added. The first iteration of the website was live until around January 2023 when I was faced with some major upgrade headaches. I was using Joomla - The same content management system (CMS) that this site uses, similar to Wordpress in many ways and just as flexible.

Joomla were about to release version 4.0 which was a ground up rebuild of the software - With CMS systems like Joomla, Wordpress, Drupal, Magneto etc software developers create plugin 'Apps' that provide feature enhancements to the site.
I happen to have implemented an app called 'K2' at the time, It added extra blogger or news content based features to the native Joomla article system - An article is Joomla's term for a blog entry or a post, like this one you are reading.

K2 was opensource and free to use, as is Joomla. Perfect for a free to use site like WhiskyResource.com.

I briefly mentioned the mission of the website was to provide a fully filterable and searchable database - a few points, firstly, Joomla is the CMS software - An operating system as it where, that / which, my second point, reads, writes and makes available the content which is stored in an SQL database. As such, while it is possible to operate a Joomla site on almost any hosting provider (and even a home webserver), there are financial overheads - and of course, hosts offer different packages, features and access services. My final point, I was using an App that was able to take the 'Tags' (Whisky Tasting Notes) which K2 greatly enhanced to the core Joomla feature and allow me to provide a searchable and filterable whisky list, allowing users to drill down into the whisky list based on all manner of whisky attributes - ABV, filtration, price, colour, age etc.

So Whisky Resource was functioning nicely and then Joomla 4 was announced, with an upgrade to Joomla 4 was the advantage of updating the PHP version (PHP Hypertext PreProcessor PHP is a general-purpose scripting language geared towards web development.) Essentially increasing the version of PHP allows a website to offer a better experience (Faster, possibly using less disk space, more efficient processing and the ability to add more advanced or enhanced features for the user experience).
Joomla 4 was itself promised to be a quicker, more efficient and less buggy experience.

I ran the Joomla 4 upgrade checker on the website and everything was a go except for a couple of things - The PHP version the site was using needed upgrading, which was fine, my hosts gave me the ability to control which version I was using, but secondly, that K2 was not Joomla 4 compatible and required the same PHP version I was already using and if recall, wouldn't be compatible with the upgraded version.

So I had a choice stick with the Joomla version 3.x and K2 (& 3rd party K2 filtering app) or do a complete rebuild of the site on Joomla 4.

Initially I trialled exporting the entire whisky database and making changes to the data, then reimporting it to a Joomla 4 install, however, there were too many compromises on data fields being omitted or constant errors. I decided to stay with Joomla 3.x and wait for K2 to release a Joomla 4 version. However, even today, K2 is not Joomla 4 compatible. THIS SITE you are reading this post on is Joomla 5 as is WhiskyResource.com, the latest version 5.1 in fact

I waited and waited but the K2 Joomla 4 release was no where to be seen, developers were starting to release Joomla 4 apps and enhancements, but then, my web host were making end of life support for the PHP version my site was using, I could stick with the same version, but the web host were going to charge a monthly fee for legacy support, an overhead that I really didn't want.

So January 2023 I make the decision to start from scratch. So the original whiskyresource website remained live while I began the process of recreating it but in a Joomla 4 environment. Painstakingly adding every whisky by manually data entering, once I was happy that the content I needed was available in the new site, I switched the web address to the new site and deleted the old one. The Old Whisky Resource site had approx 400 whiskies listed, the current site has over 950 listed. I purchased several apps to enhance some of the features of the site, one of which is what makes 'THE NON CHILL WHISKY FILTER' function. For those of you not familiar with what that is, it what allows users of the website to be able filter through and drill down through the 950+ whiskies based on the same whisky attributes listed above but critically also allowed for the provision of whisky tasting notes.

HOWEVER, recently a major change to my personal circumstances has meant that I can no longer afford to renew my subscriptions to the additional apps, while I can still use them, I won't be eligible for any support or updates. But secondly I could no longer afford to pay for my web hosting, while its only the price of a monthly streaming services or cheap blended Scotch, it was an overhead I could no longer afford - Whisky Resource didn't generate nearly enough income to cover its costs, for transparency that income would occasionally come via affiliate links to retailers.

So once again the future of WhiskyResource is in doubt, however, unlike before I don't have any choice to keep it running.
I have looked at alternate web hosts even the free ones - and this site is using a free service however it is massively limited in its features, so much so, I would still need to pay even to migrate WhiskyResource here and then there would be an ongoing fee as WhiskyResource exceeds most determining factors when considering free hosts.

I have and am still considering a home based webserver, however, this is highly unlikely, especially if freeware isn't available.

So reluctantly on the 1st June 2024, whisky resource will be taken offline.

I have taken a complete backup of both the Joomla install with all of the install files and images together with a complete database backup. This allows me to bring back Whisky Resource as any time and continue where I left off. So I will not say this is the end of the Whisky Database.

But!, I can hear you cry. The whisky community is huge! and by the nature of Whisky being considered a luxury and definitely non essential product, surely the community can help, surely they can donate to ensure it's survival, what is a couple of pounds or dollars or yen when they could be spending thousands each year on whisky.

Well, you would have thought so, wouldn't you?

However, like any community, in any sphere of life, there are those that are popular - let's call them influencers, those that are weathly, those that are vocal, those that watch quietly from the sides, those who dip in and out but are infrequent members.

Each of these groups have their own preference. Whisky Resource while completely unique at its inception - Being (afak) the only free service that allows whisky enthusiasts to have an independent resource to search for whisky based on any number of attributes. You want to find a Core Range, Single Malt Scotch, bottled at 40%, is peated, natural colour, from Speyside and cost between £20-£30, Whisky Resource provides that. Off the top of my head Glen Moray Peated would fulfull that requirement. But the site while getting thousands of unique users every month is impersonal and doesn't create any emotional attachment. In the blink of an eye it won't be missed by the thousands except a handful of hardcore anonymous users.

So I have created a new Joomla 5 website - This one. And will be focussing on reviewing whisky, blogging about the #TweetTastings that I have been fortunate to be selected to take part in and every now and again post the odd rant or discussion about something whisky related.

I am forced to be careful with the data storage I use, as Im limited to 500mb, so this site will be quite limited in the graphics I use and there will be the bare minimum of 3rd party apps to further save on space.

If you have read the post to here, well done and thank you.

In the words of Arnie. I'll BE BACK - Image redacted to save space.