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What are the plans?

 
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Imrageth (Roman Bela)
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 12, 2012 6:55 pm    Post subject: What are the plans? Reply with quote

Could anyone tell us what are the plans for the website? Are you planning to do something about trading cards section, honorary members and maybe a fresher look of the website? Would be nice to see a kind of "to do list" Smile
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SoloYT1300 (Robert Kohn)
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 12, 2012 7:40 pm    Post subject: Re: What are the plans? Reply with quote

Imrageth wrote:
Could anyone tell us what are the plans for the website? Are you planning to do something about trading cards section, honorary members and maybe a fresher look of the website? Would be nice to see a kind of "to do list" Smile


Do you have any suggestions... remember we are all only volunteers, and could always use a fresh set of eyes and opinions.
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Granny-Wan (Marie Cannon)
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 12, 2012 7:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Is it possible to have the icons on Stickies and Announcements blink when there are new posts, the way they do on normal posts?

Not a big deal, I know there are limits on what you can do with things... but it would be nice.
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Imrageth (Roman Bela)
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 12, 2012 9:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Robert, I am a relatively new member so what I've noticed is that some parts of the website are not updated like Trading Cards and its hard to find any info of them if you dont have access to forums. I will give my thoughts on some issues and it is not meant to criticize anyone but to help with some ideas that may be useful for new people visiting the website.

Trading cards.
I think it would be good to update it with 5 series + list of individual cards.

Honorary members
Another issue with honorary members who should be presented on the website. I think it's more respectful to make a list of all honorary members. I've seen a link on forums to some list of honorary members but its not visible here.

Detachments.
List of all detachments not only bases with some additional information about the detachment and contact info.

Rebel of the month/year.
Rebel of the month/year seems to be dead. Costumer of the year too. It might enhance the social part of trooping. Specials badges/pins could be presented to those rebels. (just some thoughts)

Layout of the website.
To be honest I dont know what to think about it. On one hand its nice (especially the banner area) but the rest like side menu is not appealing to me. I understand that there is that gray motive nearly everywhere what makes the website special but its too grey with the same motive/texture. Grey banner, grey menu, grey trading cards, grey profile pictures, do you get my point? Orange background could be at least enhanced with some shading effects and some kind of fotter image should be added to replace plain text. Titles of specific subpages are saved as graphics. This is not the best solution for the server load or visual effect. If we want graphical titles, lets make them with some effects otherwise its pointless server load. And in the source code I dont see any keywords.. so website pops up lower in search results. I would personally prefer to see the website with more modern style.

Costuming standards.
Costuming standars should be divided into categories instead of bulk list which is mixed. I just realised its alphabetical (which took me a few weeks). But see:
3.anakin
4.rex
6-13. clone
14. jedi
20. jedi
25.null arc
26. obi

Why not make categories like Jedi Knights, Clones, etc with graphical representation. Quick idea:


Some tools and techniques links are not working.

And again, these are just ideas, everyone has their own views, those presented are mine. I can discuss them and evaluate further, offering advice and help. Always happy to help/

May the force be with you!
Roman

PS I know that our primary target is to help by trooping and the website shouldnt be the main concern but it will be more interesting for people outside RL to see it more updated (lack of updates for 4 years is not a good thing in my opinion) but also for us, people who spend a lot of time on the website Smile
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Crimson (Rome O.)
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 13, 2012 12:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Web site is a main concern of mine. However (and I've written this a number of times, but in various scattered places so I understand that not everyone is going to see it), the problem starts with the costume/membership management utility.

Those are integrated into the forum software, and were written in 2009 by people who are no longer available, onto software that was outdated since before 2007.

In other words, I inherited this mess.

When we first explored updating and upgrading, it seemed like a simple enough prospect: upgrade the forum software, establish a CMS so other people can add and edit their own articles. But as we dug deeper, we found more and more over-complicated layers underneath, not the least of which being the membership/costume management utilities (which has its own set of permission levels: members, costume judges, COs/XOs, the LMO).

There's also the annual census and its multiple levels of permission-based utilities: member, LCO/LXO, Legion Council, LMO. And elections? Yeah, no election tool was written to easily make changes, so that was one of the first things I did when I took over as Webmaster in 2011.

So it no longer became just a matter of "throw in phpBB3 and walk away".

Finally, add to all of that the main Web site's content is about 80% driven by content on the forum (a jury-rigged CMS, essentially). The Legion Charter, the member roster, the costume standards lists, etc.

I agree with pretty much most of what you're saying. The design is outdated, there's lots of potential content missing, etc. And as I look at the underlying code, I am assaulted by all sorts of gross inefficiencies.

The level of chaos requires a total tear-down. In fact, my intent was to close this forum and reopen a brand new one instead of doing a simple upgrade while retaining all posts, much like how the 501st abandoned the original Yahoo! Group that they used before transitioning to their current forum (which is also now outdated for similar reasons).

But again, I'm hampered by the integration of so many custom-built tools and utilities. I've spent the last year and a half on and off, searching for packaged products that I could use out-of-the-box, but nothing really exists for what we do that wouldn't require extensive customization anyway...so if that's the case, why don't I just build something myself?

And if I do that, how do I manage the project such that I am not the single point of contact/failure? Case in point: the 501st trading cards project. I originally started the database portion as just a personal project on my own personal site. The Legion caught wind of it, and asked to integrate it into the main Legion site.

I didn't know how big the trading cards would become and even though each series came out only periodically, each time it did, it became more and more of a drain on my personal time. But because I ran that portion of the database on my own personal server, I was the single point of failure if the series didn't get updated....and both the Legion and I heard about it from disgruntled members who didn't instantly see their pics on the Web site.

So I've handed all of it over to the 501st Web Team so they can run it themselves and I could wash my hands of it (especially since I lost interest in trading cards after the original series 7).

That's one of the things I have to avoid here, which means the RL Web Site Project is a lot bigger, like an iceberg, than just refreshing the look-and-feel of the front end and adding a couple of new listings and features for subunits, and such.

As well as the forum upgrade.

So I hope this provides some background into this. To answer the next question, yes, I would love help. But there's either nobody who has the right skillset, or nobody interested. We've asked and I think I even still have that thread out in one of the discussion areas.
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Imrageth (Roman Bela)
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 13, 2012 1:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the reply Rome. I completely understand the problem as I have managed some websites (fansite based) with big databases and multiple tools. We tried changing the layout but it was easier to change the whole system and yes, it was extremely time consuming. I am not experienced with from scratch coding but I've learned how to edit php so that it fits me and I've created some websites CMS based with custom parts.

Are there any professional web designers/graphic artists out there? Or does RL have funds to purchase a layout? I can't promise much skillwise but I would be happy to help with making the update possible. I could at least give some ideas and do research how everything could be organised and sorted out and may even help with coding. If it sounds good, pm me Smile
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Crimson (Rome O.)
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 14, 2012 12:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

We do have some folks who can design the front-end....but of course, I'd have to build the back-end for it to be on Wink

Right now, it's a matter of planning and designing the system before any coding gets done. And as my wife & I just had a baby two months ago, most of my personal time is consumed by that, so I'm in site-maintenance mode, rather than anything developmental.

So if there are any PHP/MySQL application developers (or any other combination, as long as it's relatively common and if it's a language I don't know, that person is willing to take lead...and stick around*), that's what I'm looking for (and have been looking for, but to no avail).

*This is, of course, a common problem among any open-source or unpaid collaborative effort, not just exclusive to us. The guys I have right now who are willing & able to help are graphics guys (and as always, profuse thanks go to Michael C. and Michael S. for their assistance), but we are lacking in app developers.
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 04, 2012 11:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

what plan about websites..??
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 08, 2012 5:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Crimson wrote:

So I hope this provides some background into this. To answer the next question, yes, I would love help. But there's either nobody who has the right skillset, or nobody interested. We've asked and I think I even still have that thread out in one of the discussion areas.


Interested but I definitely can't do the hard coding needed Sad I'd be happy to help in any manual moving process (ie grunt data entry work) if/when an upgrade is needed.

Thank you for such a considered reply Smile Much as I think anyone would want a nice quick change the reality is that it is a lot harder to make thes cages needed. And a prolonged down time is detrimental- I've seen communities die because of this.
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Moxxxie (Jacqui Doyle)
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 08, 2012 7:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Happy to throw my hat into the ring, Rome. I'm slowly assisting the guys on the 501st webteam with their front end overhaul.

I'm an all rounder in php/javascript/php/apache/mysql/unix admin. There may be something we can do with upgrading the forum, and using mysql views to keep the membership/election/census db operational without having to unpick the spaghetti code.

Anyway, I'm merely speculating, but happy to put my hand up to assist.

Oh, and congratulations to you and your wife on the addition to your family!
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 08, 2012 10:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yay Moxxxie! Thank you! Wink

And Rome, congrats too!
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Crimson (Rome O.)
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 09, 2012 1:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ultimately, I'd like the forum to be completely separate from all other utilities on the site (although we could still use the quasi-CMS-style plugins for content delivery to the front end).

Whether that can be accomplished with some sort of "bridge" function between a new forum software and this current one (but limited to just member management, and leaving all actual messages for the new edition), I'm not sure.
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