Fancy shaping the future?

In case you’re wondering why there has been a lack of activity on FAQShop of late it’s not because I’ve been on holiday or some other jolly – far from it.

For as long as I can remember I’ve been wanting to develop the new version of FAQShop based on a Content Management System (CMS or database driven), because of the numerous advantages such sites offer.  But each time I think I’ve found a suitable piece of software, when I invest the time to “play” with it the end result is I find it’s unsuitable primarily because it doesn’t support the hierarchical structure currently employed on FAQShop (a key feature that sets the site apart from others and which is something I want to maintain going forward).

That was until Rod tipped me off about Drupal which from early on seemed to fit the bill.  Anyway, to cut a long story short I’ve started developing the new version of FAQShop using Drupal and so far so good.

I am planning to continue to update the current FAQShop site on a more regular basis than of late, but for now I don’t plan on developing it any further including launching the Newsletter – apologies to those that have signed up, it is coming I promise and you’ll be the first to know about it.

I may add the “SCCM” and “SCOM” sections although I may save adding these until the new version of the site launches – nothing is set in stone and obviously the time taken to develop the new version of the site will somewhat dictate this decision.

So why am I telling you this?  Well: 
  • To keep you informed on what is happening with FAQShop to save you wondering what is going on.
  • So that you know the new version of FAQShop is finally on the way.
  • To ask for your help.

How can you help?

Well if you want to help shape the future of the Microsoft Systems Management Community and see your name in lights then read on.

I’m looking for volunteers to help in the following three key areas: 
  1. Defining the requirements/ features of the new site – FAQShop has and always will be YOUR site but I know if falls short in some areas which I’m looking to address.  So tell me what you want to see, what works on the current site, what doesn’t, etc. as without your input chances are it won’t meet the community’s needs.
  2. PHP/ CSS Developers – I’m no web developer/ programmer so obviously the development time for the site and indeed the end result is going to be largely dictated by my learning the skills I need in order to develop the site the way it needs to be to meet the requirements/ provide the features needed which could be some way off (and of course this is all reliant in my having the free time in the first place).

    So if there is anyone “out there” reading this that is either a web developer that knows PHP and/ or CSS (or knows someone that is), or even better knows Drupal, then I’d LOVE to hear from you as I could do with as much help as possible.
  3. Testers – Although the site is at the very early stages of development I’m looking for volunteers to help with testing the site when needed.  This could be as simple as testing the user registration process, navigating various areas of the site to make sure they work, submitting test content, etc.

    Basically it doesn’t matter how much or when you help with the testing as all testing is valuable.  The end result is I’d far rather identify as many issues pre-launch as possible than having to have a major site outage to resolve an issue that may have been found had the site had many test users try it.

But many others will help right?

Please don’t think “Oh I don’t need to help as plenty of others will volunteer” as you’d probably be surprised to hear that I think I’ll struggle to get any volunteers to help me with this, which for me personally is very disheartening bearing in mind I provide FAQShop at my own expense, in my own time, and I don’t get paid for doing it – yes I do it primarily for love and to help a community that has helped me countless times in the past and I’ve no doubt will continue to do so in the future (okay enough of the violins – I’m not looking for any medals, just telling you how things are this side of the fence).

So in closing (and apologies this is a humungous Blog post), there are exciting times ahead for all of us.  I hope as many of you as possible grab this opportunity with both hands to help shape the future of and ultimately strengthen the Microsoft Systems Management Community.

As always any thoughts, comments, questions, feedback, etc. you know who to call.

Published Wednesday, May 30, 2007 12:46 PM by chobbs
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