What happened to Babel-U?

Since May 2015 the Babel-University project website has been down. Since then I have received a lot of emails from project supporters , So I’ve set up this page to provide some answers.

What happened?

The short answer is that my savings account went dry and I couldn’t afford to keep the server up and running.

The longer answer starts in March of 2013, when my wife and I made the decision to move back to the United States.  As many of you may know, My wife is a Japanese national and we have two sons.

Since both our boys were born in Japan, we wanted to return to the United States for a few years so that they could experience western culture. So we started my wife’s visa application and began saving for our trip back to the states.

Since my position at the Board of Education was based on an annual contract and we intended to move back to the U.S. mid 2014, I had to resign from my position in March of that year. Unfortunately the visa application process took far longer and cost far more than we had anticipated (15 months and $6000 USD to be exact).

Although in March of 2015, we’d made it to the last stage of the visa application process, we were informed that since my income for the last three years was location dependent, unless I could show that I had more than $75,000 USD in savings, they couldn’t approve my wife’s visa.

Since we’d been living off of our savings since my resignation and $75,000 was more than three times my annual income as a teacher, we abandoned our plans and hunkered down here in Japan.

I had hoped that the Babel-University project would be able to sustain enough sales to pay for the dedicated server on which it was running. Due to security issues related to shared hosting, one of the requirements to be included in the Joomla Extensions Directory (JED) is that you host your download site on a dedicated server.

However in January when I announced the development of Babel-U-Exams 2.0, sales flat lined and in May, I had to cancel my server subscription.

Is the project dead?

Although the Babel-University site is offline and I can’t offer download access to the extension at the moment, I would like to revive the project, but before I can do that, I need to get back on my feet and figure out how to make it sustainable.

I’m using Babel-U-Extension, what should I do now?

If you are currently running a live site using Babel-U-Extensions, then you have a few options.

Option One: Migrate

The first option is to migrate to an alternative solution. I know there are several other extensions that offer similar functionality, so finding an alternative shouldn’t be difficult.

However migrating the database to a different extension isn’t going to be easy. You’ll need to either have a very strong mastery of SQL or hire a database administrator to handle the migration process.

Option Two: Start Over

If you don’t mind losing the exam data you have, then you can always start over with an alternative extension. This is the most cost effective option, but it does require that you manually import exams and questions into whatever extension you choose.

Option Three: Maintain it in-house

The third option is to maintain the system in-house. I’ve worked very hard to insure that the code in all Babel-U-Extensions is clean, stable and well documented. So any proficient PHP developer that has experience with the Joomla CMS should be able work with the code.

Option Four: Hire me (Highly Recommended)

Truthfully I’m between a rock and a hard spot at the moment. The Babel-University project was how I established my credibility as a web developer, so since the site went down, my freelance income is hit and miss.

Although I’ve been looking for something here in Japan, living in the boondocks limits the opportunities I have. So if you plan on sticking with Babel-U-Extensions then I’d be grateful for the opportunity to work with you.

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