PGC Web Page 2.0

So, what’s with the new (draft at the moment) Web 2.0 page? Ken has been doing a tremendous job on the website and with the Pilot Data Portal. Believe me he has put a LOT of work into it. One of the problems is everything on the web has to go through Ken. If someone else update a page, even if it is just an update to an event, the master page get’s out of sync. And Ken needs to go back and re-sync the master page. So we need a way to allow others to help out with out interfering with each other. Todd had started moving pages to WordPress. Todd has moved on to pursue a power rating and we wish him will (he’ll be back!) And I started to look in to what he had done. You may, much like I was, be wondering what the hell is WordPress? In short WordPress is a web-application, much like PGC’s Pilot Data Portal. Only instead of managing a flying club, it was designed for Bloggers. The idea was you could install WordPress in your website and a writer could then start writing without needing to know how to program or write a single line of HTML. (The markup language for the web.) Some WordPress writers wanted to customize their sites, so Themes were created. Themes are style templates. You can create page after page of text, apply the template and all of the pages will have the same “look.” Themes can even be changed after the fact and all of the pages will be automatically updated. The take-a-way here is the design and the content are independent. Several thousand Themes have been developed for WordPress. Some free, many for a fee. Other users of WordPress wanted more functionality and this lead to plug-in’s. There are over 20,000 plugins for WordPress. When I wanted to add the webcams to the main page, I installed a free plugin, filled in the info for our cameras, and that was it. I wrote no code to make it work. Again many plugins are free, some have fees. So far I have use only freebies, but we may need a few that have fees. There are thousands of developers working on maintaining WordPress, so for example if a security flaw is discovered, it is fixed in a very short time. Many capabilities have been added and it has become much more that a ‘blogging’ application. It has become a true Content Resource Management system. How does this help PGC? In our current site, and I’m talking about the static pages, not the Pilot Data portal, anytime something needs to be updated, the page needs to be edited, the new info entered, and we must be carful to not mess up the HTML mark up language. With WordPress the style and markup are independent of the content. It is also difficult to have more than one person maintaining the site as one update may inadvertently overwrite another. Once a site is built in wordpress, content can be maintained by authors with no programming/web experience. So one person could be assigned to keep “events” up to date. They logon on to an online editor and write the new content, click a button and it is live. NO programming involved. Another author might upload a new edition of “From the BackSeat” again, no involvement of the webmaster. A photo page of a picnic can be upload by yet another author. The effort of maintaining the website can be distributed to several authors. How does this affect the Pilot Data Portal? Initially it does not, the two will operate mostly independently. I do want to set it up so that we only need one login. That will involve some programming. After that I’m thinking we can move the ‘documents’ page into WordPress. There is a library plugin and we could have a librarian maintain that page, or use the same plugin in to give the secretary a place to upload meeting minutes. The goal is a site that can be maintained by “non-techies” This will be a learning experience for many of us. I’m sure the goals and features will evolve as we progress. Dave