AstroBin will become a paid service in 2016
Written by siovene on Nov. 4, 2015 .
Hello! My name is Salvatore Iovene, and I started AstroBin back in November 2010. As a new astrophotographer, I wanted a centralized place for the whole community, for everybody to get together and share their work. It took me a year to release the first version, and today, 5 years later, I find myself still doing fixes and small additions, and of course making sure that the website runs smoothly.
However, there is now a big problem. AstroBin is getting old. Maintaining it, fixing it, and improving it are tasks that get harder and harder. Additionally, AstroBin relies upon hundreds of other software components, called libraries. Over the course of the years, they have reached obsolescence. Many of them are now so outdated, that if I were to try and update them, doing so would require massive changes to AstroBin. So massive, that it would almost be like a complete rewrite.
All of this means that AstroBin cannot be left as it is, and incremental improvements cannot be applied anymore. After much thought and analysis, I have come to the conclusion that AstroBin needs a full rewrite.
To finance that, and the future maintenance work, I have decided to make AstroBin a paid service, starting in 2016. The price for a full membership will be $36 USD per year. Free accounts will be able to upload up to 10 images, and fully participate in the community aspects of AstroBin (comment, like, etc.) Premium accounts will enjoy the full feature list currently available on AstroBin, and an ad-free experience. If you currently have more than 10 images on AstroBin, and decide not to upgrade, nothing will happen to your images, but you will not be able to upload new images before you upgrade to a Premium account.
The AstroBin rewrite and overhaul mentioned above would include:
• A complete rewrite of the platform in a modular way (of course salvaging what is salvageable!)
• A complete suite of unit tests to ensure the robustness of the new platform
• A clean and easy-to -extend code base, thanks to everything I have learned so far
• The release of the new AstroBin as free and Open Source software.
New features would include:
• A personal, self-hosted, version of AstroBin without the community aspects.
• A much improved plate-solution experience.
• The ability to organize your gallery in custom folders.
• Bulk uploading and editing.
• Likes, comments and notes to individual image revisions.
• A monthly and yearly contest platform completely driven by community voting.
• A much better user interface for equipment items and image acquisition.
• A complete API.
• An official and complete app for Android and iOS.
• Digest notification emails.
• A new and awesome official AstroBin Forum.
• Many improvements to the Raw Data platform.
• ..and more!
Here's answers to some questions you might have:
What if I am already a donor?
Feel free to cancel your current PayPal recurrent donation if you decide to become a Premium member.
What about ads?
Premium members will not see ads.
What about the Raw Data platform?
That will remain paid for separately, but I will reconsider things depending on how the finances do.
How long will it take for the rewrite and the new features to be finished?
That's really hard to say. If I were able to work on AstroBin full time, I would say 4-6 months. If not, then 1-2 years.