New Website Update

September 23, 2009

Dear Members,

I recently sent out an update to the chapter and SIG leadership about the website status.  While there are still likely to be challenges ahead, and timelines do change for various reasons, I wanted to let everyone know what was happening for the sake of transparency.  Here was the email I sent:

Good Morning Folks,

I know you’ve all been waiting for nearly 4 years, and I also know that there always seems to be a “it’s almost ready” answer coming to you.  So in order to give you all the best info, I’m going to give you more info than you really need, to provide some insight into where things are, what’s recently been going on, and where we’re headed. (Sorry this email is long and focused, I am open to any questions that you might have, but wanted to be as tight as possible below.)

1.  You should all as chapter or SIG coordinators have someone who can access the website for you.  If not please email myself (joshua@igda.org) or Joseph Sapp (joda@igda.org) so we can make sure that happens.

2.  When I came on at the beginning of July, we had a number of “serious” blockers.  Things that just really needed to be finished so that the site would work, and we wouldn’t look like complete idiots for putting it out there.  Tim L. (please hold the comments) did a good job in moving through those with Tobi and Myself and Joseph backing him up.  (Also mad props to the QA folks and sig and chapter leaders who provided testing and bugs and the like.  Thank you all.)

2a.  With Tim’s resignation, Mark D. has stepped up as a technically proficient Board member to take this project to the final steps.

2b.  Because of the email exploit during the previous month, it was clear that we needed to do a security audit to ensure that the site was not open to similar shenanigans.  At this time, while no site is impervious, all reasonable steps have been taken to ensure we are as secure as possible with the resources we have available.

3. This week at GDC Austin, Tobi, Mark, Joseph and Myself had a brief conversation about what is going on with the website, the migration plan, blockers, etc.

3a.  There are no “major” blockers at this time.  i.e.  There are still a number of minor issues here and there, and I am well aware that the visual design is not what the group would like, but we don’t feel it’s worth waiting another 6 months to fix these lesser items.

3b. I am committing to you that this release of the website will not be the end of the project.  We WILL work to fix bugs and other items as they appear.  We will also work on reworking the visual design to be a more effective, engaging and exciting visitor experience.  But these items will need to wait a bit (likely a review in the first quarter of 2010.)

4. We have a migration plan in place, as well as back up plans for the current site, transfers of forums and wiki content, and list swap-overs.  This will not be an easy process, and I am sure we will have a few mistakes during the process.  I am counting on your help to review the site and let me know where issues occur.

4a. Part of the migration process is to ensure that all of the content you folks want transferred over to the new site for your chapter areas is moved.  So please keep an eye on the migration date and let myself or Joseph know ASAP if that date is not going to work for you.

4b.  I have been clearly informed by the community, that the previous site info is critical to have.  So for a period of time we will retain the old site, it simply won’t be directly accessible to the public.  Please do not plan on having access to it regularly, as we will need to take it down after a period.

5. I would very much like to have the new site go live on Oct. 19th (arranging for a soft transition in the evening of Oct. 16th, with the weekend to work out any initial kinks).  However let me be clear, we have not confirmed that will be doable yet.  I am letting you in on the discussion phase.  We may need to do it earlier in the day, or on a different day altogether.  But I will keep you apprised.

OK, that’s the plan as it stands.  I will get more info out to you as we get into a more realistic stance.  Please move any content you have over, and again, if you haven’t had access, let me know.

There are other things going on also:
– We can set up chapter groups for specific reserved content to your chapters. (Sigs as well)
– Elections can be done via the site.
– We have need for a users guide, which the writer’s sig generously agreed to create for us, and I am approaching them on now.

Sincerely,
Joshua