Oct 16 2020

BOB Turns 18…and Retires

Categories: General Dave Rathbun @ 10:09 pm

BOB :mrgreen: turned 18 this year, and has retired. We should all be so lucky as to be able to retire at 18, but BOB was special.

The original BUSOB-L Listserv started in 1996. By the early 2000’s the community had outgrown the mailing list format and was looking for alternatives. We settled on the bulletin board / forum package called phpBB2. The forum software was installed on June 6, 2002. We had several months of testing and enhancements and just over 70 members when BOB was announced publicly for the first time on August 15, 2002. That became BOB’s birthday, which occurred even before BOB was named BOB. The original discussion board had a fairly wordy header, with the phrase, “BusinessObjects Discussion Board” or something like that. It was a bit of a mouthful. The phpBB software came with a set of smilies or emoticons, one of which was named Mr. Green. :mrgreen: Someone – and unfortunately I never remembered exactly who – suggested that Mr. Green’s first name was Bob, which was a shortened version of BusinessObjects Board. BOB it was, and BOB it remained for the next 18 years.

Over the years we have outgrown or moved servers at least four times (I think). In the early days we sold BOB t-shirts at the user conference to fund our hosting bill for the year. That was a lot of fun! I still have a few BOB t-shirts around somewhere. In later years we funded the server by selling sponsorship / banner advertisements, combined with Google ads on the bottom of the page. It was hard to imagine in 2002 that we would be running the same software 18 years later. Think about it…how many technical innovations have there been since 2002? Heck, the first iPhone wasn’t even released until 2007! BOB is older than the iPhone! :lol: But yet there we were, humming along. Yes, the database had to be upgraded periodically, and our server was replaced a number of times, but the core software package continued essentially unchanged. That’s amazing.

As amazing as it was, it was time. Earlier this year the community started to discuss what BOB 2.0 might look like. Now we know.

I present BOB 2.0.

The new platform is based on the Discourse platform, which will hopefully be more mobile friendly among other things. I wish the new project the best of luck. If it also lasts 18 years, then I will retire before it will. 8-)