I wrote all of the below then realised nobody will probably read it so this is the short version:
So all the functionality is still here but things are a-changing with CAMRA finally getting a national online pub guide. Horray!
The HOPS project was started in the Macclesfield and East Cheshire branch in 2005 when we decided a) we wanted an online way to capture scores and b) the branch just needed a pubs database. The system was baptised as HOPS because it's memorable, applicable (to beer drinkers) and short. Unfortunately www.hops.com was taken (and still is) so we went with www.camrahops.co.uk. This was a long time before CAMRA considered doing anything centrally. And yes, we did shoehorn "Home of Pubs System" into HOPS afterwards.
Time passed and the next stage, the online front end search for members of the public, was written but it was felt that HOPS wasn't a good name for Joe Public. So we asked ourselves what would be a good name and Keith Farman suggested WhatPub as he was looking for a new car at the time. We think this is what happened but it was a long time ago and beer might have been involved.
At the time, www.whatpub.com was taken by a domain squatter so we, as a poor underfunded branch couldn't afford to try and grab it back, went with www.whatpub.org as the domain for our front end search with the backend still called HOPS. The www.camrahops.co.uk domain was phased out.
More time passed and more branches started using online pub databases like HOPS, Spile & Pubzilla. After much internal campaigning by myself and others within CAMRA, the NE finally agrees that CAMRA needs a national online pubs database to not only allow branches to help all the pubs in their branch and not just the GBG ones (by stamping the still-trusted CAMRA name on the thing) but to balance the commercial sites such as BITE and Pubs Galore. Only CAMRA has a semi-willing army of volunteers who can survey all the pubs.
But they had the same quandary as we did in 2008 - what to call it? It was called Perfect Pint for a while but that obviously didn't feel right. To our surprise CAMRA centrally felt that Keith had hit the spot and that it had to be called WhatPub. However, since 2008 that domain squatter must have got bored because CAMRA centrally managed to obtain the ww.whatpub.com domain.
So now we've got two web sites from CAMRA called WhatPub but doing two different but similar things. Boy was it getting confusing. As the HOPS team have always said they believe more in the drive to get a national online guide above other matters, we're rebranded ourselves again as HOPS but this time using the .com extension.
Let's hope it stays still for a while!
Rob Nicholson, HOPS developer, March 2012