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CPS Website and Developments

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#1 pwilson

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Posted 03 October 2011 - 14:29 PM

As the more or less interim stand-in Internet Officer for the CPS ( :whistle3:) I thought I'd bring members up to date with the future developments for the CPS website. Non-members should avert their eyes from this point forward...

We have of course been aware that the current website needs some err, modernisation. Having said that, it's served us well since Andy designed it all those years ago but now like many a Hollywood star, it's in need of a face lift. New websites don't grow on trees unfortunately and it's a huge amount of work to produce something from scratch. This is something that has put off encumbent Internet Officers for many a year and with this in mind we have decided to commision a new site from a professional web designer. I am aware that there are a number of members of this forum who have offered to help with a new website in the past but mostly these good souls change their minds when they realise the amount of work involved! But also we realise that we have now reached a point where the current state of the website makes it ineffective and with the best will in the world, people helping out in their spare time aren't going to produce the results we need in the sort of timescale we want.

I am also aware that there are plenty of "do it yourself" web creation sites out there that we could use for a small outlay. Again, though, I don't think this will achieve what we want, or not easily anyway...

One of the things that I am keen to introduce to the website managament is an online management system so the onus of updating the site does not fall on one person. For those who don't know this is a means to allow people with little or no HTML skills to update the content of a website. One immediate use that we have already identified is that it will allow Sheila to produce and update the CPS seedbank on line. Coupled with on line ordering (probably using a simple PayPal shop) this will mean that there will be little or no reason to print and mail out the seedlist four times a year. Not sending out a seedlist alone will save quite a few trees and quite a lot of member's money from the savings in postage and printing. Plus it will mean that the seedlist is up to date within a matter of days, not months.

We hope to have the new site up and running in the early part of next year. If anyone wants to be involved with the development of the site, either as beta testers, or just to give comments and opinions on design and content then please let me know and I will add you to a mailing list.

For the future, we also plan to have the membership database completely transfered to an online system. There are so many advantages to this that I'm not sure where to begin. But for a start, members will be able to log into their own account to check on subscriptions, change their postal and email address and request logon password reminders.

For the committee, it will mean for instance, better control of member's data since only those committee members who need to access information will be given the rights to do so. And as soon as they leave the committee or change their role these rights willl be removed or altered. It will also mean that member's data will be available as soon as it is entered onto the database. And of course it allows committee members to cover for each other more easily. For instance, if Dennis wins the lottery and decides to head off to Australia for a year, one of us can deal with memberships in his abscence. Of course Dennis won't be able to leave for Australia if we go to his house and steal his passport - though Tim and I would never stoop so low...

As our post of Internet Officer is currently vacant I am actiing as overseer of these developments and even if we do get a candidate for the post I will probably carry on as overseer - it's a bit daunting to start a new committee position and have to be in charge of spending vast sums of CPS budget. Then again, some power hungry magnate might enjoy the job - always the optimist!