Some Technical Details

This arti­cle shares some tech­ni­cal details behind the SFAA Web site. If you’re inter­ested, read on! Oth­er­wise, move along, there is noth­ing of inter­est here!

Interim Web­mas­ter

Back in Feb­ru­ary 2009, I offered to take over interim web­mas­ter duties for the Strong Fam­ily Asso­ci­a­tion of Amer­ica. That offer was accepted. I also offered to donate use of my com­mer­cial web server (hosted by m3server.com who I’ve used for more than a decade) as a cost sav­ings to the Asso­ci­a­tion, and that offer was also accepted. As with the pre­vi­ous paid host­ing arrange­ment, there’s a lot of horse­power behind this Web site!

Joomla

At the same time I took over web­mas­ter duties, I had been con­sid­er­ing mov­ing to the Joomla! Con­tent Man­age­ment Sys­tem for sev­eral of our Web sites. I chose Joomla because some­one has inte­grated the Geneal­ogy soft­ware I use, with Joomla.

Sad to say, Joomla proved to be an unfor­tu­nate deci­sion. Joomla is not easy to learn, even with good books avail­able. After work­ing with it for quite a few weeks, I could see the poten­tial, but real­ized this is not the best answer for SFAA. Bury­ing the Web site in a difficult-to-learn Con­tent Man­age­ment Sys­tem would be a ter­ri­bly unrea­son­able bur­den to place on the next webmaster.

By con­trast, the pre­vi­ous host­ing arrange­ment used a per­fectly rea­son­able and intu­itive site builder. Mov­ing the mate­r­ial to my own server was quite sim­ple and straight-forward.

So… months later… I threw away all the time invested in Joomla! It’s not what we need, and it’s not suf­fi­ciently usable for my other web sites either. The learn­ing expe­ri­ence served me well on sev­eral fronts. But it sure did suck up a lot of time in the process!

Word­Press

Word­Press, on the other hand, is a “blog­ging” sys­tem which actu­ally works fairly well as a Con­tent Man­age­ment Sys­tem. That is, it does work fairly well for what we need for the Strong Fam­ily Asso­ci­a­tion of Amer­ica. I’ve been using Word­Press for years, and so have a whole lot of other people.

It is quite likely that the next web­mas­ter, who­ever he or she might be, will already be famil­iar with Word­Press, or can quickly become familiar.

The Word­Press ver­sion of this site is now open (you’re look­ing at it right now). It’s not com­plete, but I expect to fin­ish out the details over the next week or so.

What We Gain

Why bother chang­ing things at all? What we gain is involve­ment and inter­ac­tiv­ity. Direc­tors and autho­rized mem­bers can add arti­cles to the site. If you’re famil­iar with Microsoft Word or do any blog­ging on your own, you’ll prob­a­bly find this site very sim­ple to use.

We also gain room to expand. We can add a forum area, photo gal­leries, etc. as we dis­cover the need.

Geneal­ogy Software

On our other Web sites, we use The Next Gen­er­a­tion to dis­play the geneal­ogy infor­ma­tion. It’s one of the best meth­ods avail­able for dis­play­ing our knowl­edge in a way that’s use­ful to other peo­ple learn­ing or research­ing. I’ve slowly been typ­ing up the Elder John Strong ances­try infor­ma­tion. I’ve done about 700 indi­vid­u­als, but have a lot of typ­ing to go!

To Do

  • The geneal­ogy sec­tion and main site are not yet color-coordinated.
  • The directors-only sec­tion is not yet up.
  • The photo albums are not yet up.
  • The “con­tact us” page is not live.
  • I have some tweak­ing and color changes needed to spruce things back up.
  • I need to ver­ify the site sign-up process, so I can invite Direc­tors to sign up; then I can give them post­ing priv­i­leges and instructions.

I’ve left a link to the old (Feb­ru­ary 2009) site at the bot­tom of the front page, until every­thing is in place on the new site.

Posted in Webmaster's Corner.

2 Comments

  1. Web­site is look­ing good!
    Waht can I do to help ver­ify the site sign-up process.

  2. Web­site is look­ing good!
    What can I do to help ver­ify the site sign-up process?

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