The nature of the Society’s activities is one of a gradual buildup throughout the year, culminating in a flurry of finalizing arrangements and soliciting proceedings in the months just before the Conference. The updates to the website follow this pattern, with updates coming quickly in the period before the Conference as we post registration forms, hotel information, and announcements.
As with most things in life, there’s generally room for improvement, and the SVHFS website is not an exception. For a number of years I have been maintaining the site, posting content related to conferences and maintaining a few resources that some may find useful. One of the challenges however was maintainability.
I built the site in html, so manual coding was required for all the content posted and changes required. While direct html coding provides for very precise control over look and feel, it is labor intensive. In many cases updates were slow in coming, and the time investment required of me precluded posting general information or news that may have been timely and of interest to members.
I decided to make a change by using WordPress to build and maintain the site going forward. WordPress is a content management system (CMS) popular for blogging, but is extensible in many ways to suit our needs.
One significant way WordPress will improve our reach to members is by allowing posts to be done by a number of contributors – Society officers, directors, members, or interested amateurs. Users can create accounts and post content that others may find useful – and postings can be done quickly.
Another helpful feature is the ability to leave comments to posts, providing for dialog between author and reader.
Another improvement is in normalizing lists. This includes Sprint results, award winners, and other information suitable for displaying in a table format. Previously, the information was posted in a table, shown as a Adobe PDF document, or in straightforward unformatted html. All the Sprint results, antenna range results, and noise figure measurements that were on the old site have been moved over to this site, and are now in a consistent, orderly format.
There is some more work to be done. The beacon list is out of date, as is the list of nets, so I have not even bothered to move those over. I’d like to get those rebuilt with more current information, but I’m also looking at approaches as to how to make them user-maintainable. In the meantime, send me an email with any information for either of these lists that you know to be accurate, and I will begin rebuilding them.
Ideally, if anyone on the beacon committee or any interested member can step up to coordinate keeping those lists up to date it would be a tremendous service to everyone. Alternatively, If anyone has any expertise in building us an online database that is member-maintainable, please contact me.
Give me your feedback on the changes and let me know where we can make additional improvements.