Silver Lining Technology Services Inc. started working with The Summerland Fall Fair Committee to create a website that is both functional to the public and allows volunteers to easily manage the content in the future. In the past, web design was done by people with varying levels of experience using a language called HTML (Hypertext Markup Language). The process is called ‘coding’. Sites were as complex as the persons who coded the site, as well as the level of their skills and training. These days, web design is much easier, and collaboration is much easier as well.
Websites display information referred to as the ‘content’, and there are add-on products called plug-ins (e.g. Java) to enhance the functionality and visual effects of the site. Many larger companies will employ sophisticated website technicians, or outsource their website needs to design firms, but the growth of the internet pushed for the development of easy methods of creating basic websites. Many of the firms that offer website services create sites that remain unchanged and are called ‘static’. GoDaddy, a popular company sells domain services and includes free tools for designing a basic website. Some companies require a higher quality of website and have needs that go beyond what these basic tools can provide.
The process of organizing a website is often referred to as ‘content management’. This is the process whereby all the information (the content) is displayed for the public and managed by individuals who are given access to create content and manage changes, making the site ‘dynamic’ as opposed to static. One of the most popular Content Management Systems(CMS) is Joomla. From their website:
Joomla! is a free and open-source content management system (CMS) for publishing web content. Over the years Joomla! has won several awards. It is built on a model–view–controller web application framework that can be used independently of the CMS that allows you to build powerful online applications.
Joomla! is one of the most popular website softwares, thanks to its global community of developers and volunteers, who make sure the platform is user friendly, extendable, multilingual, accessible, responsive, search engine optimized and so much more.
Joomla is a framework that provides basic functions to manage a website. Another popular developer of this type of framework is WordPress. Website development firms have developed extensions to enhance Joomla and WordPress. Some extensions provide templates for visual appeal, some provide specific functions like photo, volunteer, sponsor, and event management. There are accounting and time management extensions too. One of my favorites is CiviCRM, which is a very complex extension to manage events and volunteers for non-profits. Many of the extensions are available for annual cost, and some are provided for free. There are thousands of extensions that provide hundreds of various functions.
The last 20 years have seen an explosion of available technologies that can create a great deal of confusion. At Its core, technology simply improves the communication of any organization. The benefits is improved collaboration within the organization and ultimately an achievement of their goals. Giving your volunteers or employees the right tools is critical to success. Silver lining was very excited to work on this worthwhile project with a great team of volunteers. The site will continue to evolve during the summer months and provide a framework that will continue.