After months of work, hours (possibly entire days) spent on hold in tech support with the previously-mentioned hosting service, pages of user input, worry and neuroses as components of the site periodically failed and were brought back to life – the site has finally been brought public as of about a week ago.

It’s interesting how, as I page through my notes and look around at forums for answers to other questions that I still have, how much the site has changed over the months since I began, only to end up almost full circle. The old site (which as of this time can still be accessed here but will probably be deactivated within a few weeks) was based in a Content Management System (CMS) called “Mambo” – the new site is based in a CMS called “Joomla!” the latter of which is an offshoot of the former. Between those two points though, there was a LOT of sweat and tears as different CMS’s failed to meet my expectations (namely, Drupal) and various plugin components for Joomla had to be installed into the CMS, tested, tweaked, and often eventually discarded when I found something better and was able to implement it. I estimate I probably have gone through almost four dozen different plugins up to this point, but am only using probably 8-9 currently.

The new website has many new features over its predecessor. The forum component is what I hope will have the most wide-reaching implications for the organization. We’ve always needed an actual space of our own for us to communicate quickly, both intercollegiately and even internationally, and the forum should be just that. We have much neater URL’s for different stories, a massive improvement over the old site in which URL names were pretty much impossible. That same function allowed for simple names in general, like and without having to create all of those as folders. We also have a simple photo gallery, which isn’t meant to replace Facebook (it’s no where near as fast or simple) but to be a showcase of our best photos that we would want to show the world.

You might notice that I don’t use the phrase “is finally finished” – instead I use, “is finally released.” This experience has taught me that there’s no such thing as a completed website. There will always be tweaks you want to work in, new interface options, and new little tricks that you learn along the way. I can say without hesitation that there’s still a half dozen things that I plan to implement on the site, little things that aren’t flashy but will make the end-user experience all the better.

So I encourage you to check out my work, make an account, read some of our news stories (new content will be forthcoming after I can get our coordinating committee to start writing it!) and share your thoughts and opinions in the forum.