The history of fanart.tv: Part 1 — A blast of the past
I recently gave an introduction into what fanart.tv is. Today I’d like to tell you more about where it came from. It’s a big topic, so I’ll be splitting it over a few days and posts.
In the beginning
I’ve been a web developer for over 10 years. In the summer of 2010 I stumbled on an XBMC (now Kodi) group who were making something called ClearLogos. These were transparent PNGs with the logo of a TV show. A couple of skins were being hacked by the community to support the new image type; the effect was fantastic, and I was hooked.
As I said, I’m a developer, not a designer, but I wanted to help out. The way images was stored was archaic. They would be posted to a forum thread and then someone would put them in a central location. The names weren’t always right. The quality was very hit or miss. Requests for images were easy to miss. In short it was chaos.
Over the next couple of days I applied my trade to create a new section to my blog. The new section was misleadingly called ClearArt (I had no idea what the difference was when I created the section) and then I approached the thread. After a bit of discussion with the ClearLogo pioneers of the day (mostly mcborzu, hikaricore, Sranshaft, MarkAsRead and ppic), I got them on board and we were ready to go.
When we started we had just 900 images. The new site had the ability to request images though, so that soon changed. At one point in time there were over 500 requests in the queue; nobody could keep up with it. Eventually we had to purge the queue and start again. While it was a pain at the time, it was one of the defining elements of the site.
XBMC skin developers start to take notice
Around this time an XBMC plugin developer named ppic added support for the new repository. This was a major factor in the subsequent success of fanart.tv, without his support fanart.tv might not be where it is today. His logo downloader script was what originally got almost all XBMC skinners interested in integrating the images into their skins.
By October 2010 the API was getting around 130,000 hits a month. This was almost unbelievable to me; such an innocent time. With the increase in popularity I started thinking about moving to a dedicated domain and hosting.
The birth of a new era
In December 2010 I bought the fanart.tv domain name. On December 10th at 11:11 PM the new site was announced to the XBMC community.