Apr 07, 2011 — 9 comments
Good-Tutorials is the largest source of tutorials on the web today. It has been featured on the BBC, SkyNews, TechTV (now G4), in the British magazine iCreate, PC World, and has been linked to by thousands of sites, blogs and forums.
Zach Holman started Good-Tutorials in August of 2002 on an obscure subdomain with the name of "Photoshop Design". Photoshop Design was coded in PHP and utilized a MySQL database. It enjoyed modest success for a few months, and then in December of 2002 the site made the plunge and started adding tutorials daily. Needless to say, it was a smart idea. The fledging little site starting gaining in popularity as the major graphic websites and forums started talking about it.
In February of 2003 it grew up and got its own domain, Good-Tutorials.com. It started to grow explosively from there. By the summer of 2003 it needed its own dedicated server. In November of 2003 Good-Tutorials underwent its first real redesign. Throughout 2004 it continued its growth and refined its methodology.
The summer of 2005 demanded a change, however. The process started in May and finished in early September. This new version, dubbed version 3.0, was a complete rebuild. The only thing kept was the database, and even that underwent a lot of changes. It migrated from a PHP/MySQL solution to a J2EE/MySQL solution, with a Ajax-powered back end.
During the beginning of 2006, work was started on version 4.0. This version brought with it a new design, many new features, and a move to a two-server setup. The most notable change was the move to a user system which adds a community feel to Good-Tutorials by allowing users to vote on tutorials and to keep track of tutorials they find interesting.
At the beginning of 2007, the next iteration's development was started. This was a huge change, as it shifted to a Ruby on Rails powered back end, changed layouts, moved to a new server, and drastically changed the back end database. Additions this time around brought new user functionality (ratings, saves, and comments), a new moderation crew to help sort and filter new tutorials, and the scope was finally broadened beyond just Photoshop.
A few months into 2008 the foundation was started for version 6. This expanded upon the existing Ruby on Rails codebase, and aimed to be a general improvement all around, with a new front end layout, new automated back end functionality, increased focus on search, streamlined and custom advertising control panels, and an improved moderation process that gets more people involved in the tutorial approval decisions. There were also a wealth of new social additions, including gravatar support, formatting of comments in discussions, activity streams for users, and more.