Here we track the never-ending efforts to provide a better website for hackuarium.
This is part of a larger set of never-ending efforts: bettering all our online tools.
We first had a free version of Strikingly started by Luc and Shalf, where hackuarium.ch pointed to. Let's call it v1.
Through Sam's leadership and hard work, we used for several years a self-hosted WordPress, now known as v2.
As of today (March 2019), we need a v3, because our theme (the display part of WordPress, which condition what you see when visiting hackuarium.ch) is not supported anymore by the last major update to WordPress. This means updating content is not possible anymore, which leads to a broken website and outdated information available to our online visitors (e.g. our contact/location info).
And now? A draft roadmap
Too early to give deadlines, now is the time to think (ok, quickly) and make some crucial design choices.
Urgent, up-to-date, basic new version (v3.1) deployed
- Btw, we have to pay next month (April 2019) for the yearly renewal of our domain name(s). Reimbursing Sam for paying for it in the past years, if not done already, would be great.
- Back up old WP DB and put it offline.
- Temporary simple landing page contact/location/wiki/social media put online (probably a very basic one-page WP thing).
Modifying/building all the other things in the background needed next (v3.2)
- "User interviews", aka make sure we take the time to hear from our members and gather a proper picture of our actual needs/pains.
- A better wiki, i.e. a more up-to-date repository of the knowledge built in our projects and our community interactions, and maybe also some tech changes if Mediawiki is too hard for us to maintain/improve (to become the foundation for a headless CMS approach?).
- A better chat/forum (depending on us upgrading to a better slack for non-profits, or something else: self-hosted rocketchat, discourse...)?
- A better integration with git tools (our current github, or any alternatives) for code-focused projects.
- A better file-sharing system (we currently do a mix between email, slack and a non-paid google drive).
- A better semi-automated online onboarding for members (building upon the google sheets-prototype we used for a while, now deprecated too), including an invoicing tool for membership fees, profile/login credentials and editing rights for the wiki, slack, etc.
- A better (well, just one, for a start...) semi-automated back-up system for all the databases our online tools rely on, for obvious resilience reasons.
- A proper way, if possible, to save and keep access to any deprecated tool / tool we decide to abandon becoming an archive.
- A final design reflecting all those decisions in a sustainable, systemic way.
- Final tech choices for back-end through learning, building, tests (and hosting/financial consequences).
Other online tools we use not concerned so far
- Mailchimp for our newsletters.
- Social media presences.
Sustainable new ecosystem for our online tools, including our website at the heart of it (v4) deployed
When it's done.
- We need it fast(er).
- So far, we rely only on volunteer efforts.
- Our past habits are not sustainable at all, leading to a pretty huge chunk of work to be done now (we did our best, but we need to do better).
- These essential communications tools, both internally and with the outside world, are instrumental for the healthy development of our community and its activities, especially for old friends from Renens, new neighbors in Écublens, and potential new members.
Personal Thoughts from Shalf
- At least to learn properly faster, I will need the support of (a) professional(s), hopefully in a pro bono way. Usual local suspects in mind to gently ask for temporary & precise help: Octanis, Mediawiki CH, Liip, Open Data CH
- It is not just "our old website is broken" problem, in my opinion. It is a "we need a profound, sustainable yet simple and fast-to-deploy, systemic infrastructure upgrade for our information system, because we relied on quick and dirty hacks by volunteers for a long time, maybe too long" problem. One that other communities experience too, one we should invest to with them to solve this and contribute to commons we all need. The tiers-lieux francophones community and their co-budget effort for such issues comes to mind, I'll try to connect the dots as a first "design thinking" step for v3.2.
- Tasks, to-dos, and all that kind of serious, precise, detailed things will live on a dedicated Trello board for a while. Ask me access to it if you dare to assign to yourself some serious stuff ;)
Links, references, stuff to learn fast(er)
- https://www.meetup.com/fr-FR/Content-Strategy-Lausanne/events/258730201/ First dive into Headless CMS (waiting for the blogpost)
- https://snipcart.com/blog/wordpress-vue-headless (via https://twitter.com/shalf/status/1108820654776823808)
How to contribute?
- The new Board started this conversation during their very first meeting, March 13 2019, and Shalf will do his best to lead this effort with your help, in his new roles, as Webmaster & Secretary for the association. This means he can't do it all alone on his volunteer time (2-4h a week max, every week, at the moment), at least if we wanna see some results this year.
- Send him a DM or join the wg-onlinetools channel on Slack if you have specific web design or web dev skills you could and would use to help with this. If you don't, but want to use this opportunity to learn together and apply new tricks in a quick and dirty way, even better: please shout it out loud. If you don't, your thoughts will always be appreciated, and your patience even more.
- Wider calls for contributions from the community will happen soon. At a "anyone-can-do-right-now" level, the best way to prepare for those next steps is to start/update your project's page on this very wiki (at least gathering here all the links to it if it lives elsewhere like in a github repo).