Changes to the IBM Hursley Club Website


Hopefully you've noticed a few changes on this site recently and hopefully, like us, you'll think they are good. Aside from the style change a lot has been going on under the covers to make this site more useful for the members and also to offer more things to both the members and the subsections. We apprecaite that this hasn't been a smooth or quick process and we thank you for being patient with us. We feel that the wait has been worth it and the services that we can start to offer will benefit everyone. So why did we change the website ?

Communication

One of the biggest complaints we get from members is over the lack of communication between the club and the members. This happens both with notices from the club and also applies to subsections getting in touch with new and existing members. One of the foremost reasons we've changed the site is to address this. The new site is on a new server and based on a new tool. This straight away allowed us to create more mailing lists and also to make the process of adding news much easier for all. Overall benefit : All subsections now have an individual mailing list of their own to keep in touch with members, plus all Hursley Club committee's have a mailing list so that members can easily get in touch via the following form.

New tool = New possibilities

With a switch to a new server also came a switch to a new tool. This site is now run on a tool called Drupal and this has opened doors to many new things that we can do. There are literally 1000's of modules that can be bolted on top of this new site and each of them can offer the Hursley club something that it didn't have before ( more on that later ). We've implemented a very small subset of those modules on this site now but it does mean that if there are new features that members feel would be helpful chances are we can add an existing module to do just the trick. Those that you can see at the moment include the Calendar and Events, a new Photo Gallery and the ability to register for events via 'Sign ups'. As i mentioned these are just the tip of the iceberg and over the coming weeks you'll see more features added. Overall benefit : With RSS feeds, iCalendar event feeds and new modules members get more out of the club site.

Organic Groups

Everyone has a website these days and its now the first place people think of when looking for information. However not everyone knows how to create / update a website and so keeping it up to date can be a tedious task. Because of this, and as a feature of the new tool, we are now offering subsections access to what are called 'Organic groups'. These represent a group of people ( much like subsections ) and allow them to collaborate and share information with everyone. Amongst many other things, the Organic groups provide : - Online, form based WYSIWYG administration of individal group sites - Individual calendars - Individaul news feeds - Individual galleries These group sites will be embeded within the Hursley Club site ( and hence have the same look & feel ) and we think will really simplify the maintanence for many subsections. Note that these groups can be restricted to certain members or made public. If restricted, members must be registered with the site and belong to the correct organic group. Overall benefit : subsections find it easier to update their site and keep in touch with new and potential members.

Virtual sites

We appreciate that not everyone will want to use Drupal and have their site themed like this site and so as an alternative the club can now offer virtual sites. These sites offer much more flexibility and tools than previously and allow subsections to take full control of their site. From a simple HTML page through to a complete installation using databases and dynamic content - everything is possible with a virtual site. This puts control to do as much or as little in the hands of the subsection. Overall benefit : subsections have the power to administer their site in just the way they want it.
We hope that these changes will only improve the services that the club offers, and the communication between members. Although most of the initial problems have been resolved we also appreciate your patience and any feedback you might have regarding the site. Now that you've read this, why not .... ? - register with the Hursley Club Mailing list - add the RSS feed to a news reader - add the calendar to your favourite Calendar viewer Thanks, Andy Feltham, Club Webmaster.

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