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Author Topic: Website Plans  (Read 537 times)

Offline Eðo Grischun

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Website Plans
« on: January 10, 2021, 03:59:49 PM »
Following on from the other threads that have mentioned that I have been working with the Chancery on some website stuff...

PREFACE:  Things are in a very early stage of development.  When I say things have been "done" they have been done on a test site that I have created.  The test site has a "cloned" version of Wittenberg so that things can be coded and tested without putting our national websites at risk.  The only thing that has been carried out in a live environment on THIS Wittenberg is the installation of a particular plugin.  This plugin is key and extremely important to the plans.  It was imperative to install the plugin to run a brief test to ensure that it works with the current setup of Wittenberg.  A full backup was carried out of Wittenberg's domain and database before this test was carried out.  The test was carried out a couple of hours ago (some of you might have noticed the appearance of Wittenberg drastically changed for a period of about one minute while it was switched on). The plugin did not conflict with the other plugins we have installed and it caused no problems with the template/theme.  The test was successful.  The plugin has been switched back off, but still resides dormant in the background.  Development will now continue and conclude on the test site.

Our web technologies and services are pretty disjointed.  We have multiple systems in different places which all require multiple levels of administrative maintenance.  From a front-end user point of view they all require multiple logins and accounts.  It is also challenging trying to get people to use all the services when things are spread out over multiple webspaces.  I know some of us have the dream where Talossa grows arms and legs and has tens of websites covering all manner of things, but lets be realistic - we have a very small citizenry, thus a pretty small userbase.  My proposed solution is to draw things back in.  Centralisation.

Wittenberg is built on SMF software (Simple Machines Forum), which is written in PHP coding.  The framework of SMF is highly versatile and offers a fantastic backbone to build from and to build around.  The plans I am working on will put this software at the heart of the finished product.  This doesn't mean that Wittenberg, as in Witt Forum, becomes the be all and end all.  The forum will remain the forum, but the software that powers the forum will play a much bigger role.

The first phase will be to integrate the forum with the national webspace.  The "firewall" that separates the website on Talossa.com and Wittenberg will be pulled down.  The National Webspace uses WordPress to power it. That will stop being the case.  SMF will be installed on the main root server at the webhost instead and using an SMF plugin, known as a portal, we will link the national website with Wittenberg forums.  This means the National Webspace will have the same templates and themes as Wittenberg and both systems will run from the same backend databases.  All the content that we have on the website at present will be preserved. 

So, what benefits does this bring?  The first main benefit, which will become the most important when we get to later phases of development, will be that both systems will utilise a single user account and login.  By having a Witt account you will also have a website account.  They will be one and the same. When you login to your account you will be logged into both Wittenberg and the main website at the same time.

This leads to our next major benefit.  By having a singular account spanning these services, then the features of the account are accessible wherever you are and whatever you are doing.  Today, I completed, and successfully tested, the integration of the Witt PM system with the national webspace.  Witt PMs will be accessible while you are browsing the National Webspace pages.  So, while you are navigating website pages for information you will have instant access to the PM system.  This might not seem like a big deal, but by successfully achieving this milestone it proves that more useful integrations can also be achieved.

The next benefit, which I have sort of already touched on, will be the ability to navigate around the national webspace and Wittenberg, forward and back, without leaving one or the other.  They will be integrated together.  Both Wittenberg and the webspace will be powered by the same software package, albeit ported.  They will appear and operate as if they are one and the same.  The experience of browsing one or the other and jumping between the two will be seamless.  You can be reading a Hopper debate and from that same page you can access and read a copy of El Lexhatx without having to open new browser tabs to navigate to a different website.

These integrations can be built upon and expanded upon in any number of ways.  Eiric will be able to maintain La Chronica using the same login and account that he uses to access Witt.  He can do that without leaving the overall integrated experience.  Officials can post to the Jobs Board by using the same account login that they access everything else with.  People can see the posted jobs without having to leave Wittenberg.

Phase 2 of these developments will be the further integration of all of the above with the Chancery services.  We will marry the above described system to the Chancery Database.  Citizens who use the database for Clark voting, Bill submission and even voting in elections will be able to do all that, again, with their single Talossan login/account.  We will also work to make the Database system more user friendly, again, by porting it to SMF. 

By the end, the National Webspace, the Chancery Database and Wittenberg will all operate as one integrated system.  They will all be reconfigured so that SMF operates as the backbone to them.  Every citizen will be able to access all services with a single login and when staff changes occur it will be easy to reassign accesses and permissions.

Questions and comments welcome.  Thanks.
The Rt. Hon. Senator Éovart Grischun S.H.

Distain and Minister of STUFF
Senator of Vuode

Offline Miestră Schivă, UrN

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Re: Website Plans
« Reply #1 on: January 10, 2021, 04:33:11 PM »
All this is totally excellent.

One issue that the MinSTUFF doesn't raise is that, for too longer, back-end admin of the Database has been totally on the hands of MPF, who has other things to do in his professional and personal life. As far as I can tell, his need to do other things is why the referendum didn't start on 1 January (like I assumed it would). So anything that increases synergy between MinSTUFF and the Chancery, and means MPF doesn't have to do miracles every so often, is excellent.

¡LADINTSCHIÇETZ-VOI - rogetz-mhe cacsa!


Offline Baron Alexandreu Davinescu

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Re: Website Plans
« Reply #2 on: January 10, 2021, 07:06:48 PM »
Really glad to hear we're moving away from dependency on one person.  It also sounds like that won't be the case in the future.  Thanks for your hard work!
Alexandreu Davinescu, Baron Davinescu del Vilatx Freiric del Vilatx Freiric es Guaír del Sabor Talossan

    Bitter struggles deform their participants in subtle, complicated ways. ― Zadie Smith
    Revolution is an art that I pursue rather than a goal I expect to achieve. ― Robert Heinlein

Offline Açafat del Val

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Re: Website Plans
« Reply #3 on: January 10, 2021, 09:38:23 PM »
Edo, you are a master.

Senator for Florencia
Jolly Good Fellow of the Royal Talossan College of Arms