It’s been over a year since we initiated the development of the new Dynamical Systems web site and we very excited to announce that we have finally launched!
The new site achieves the core goals we enumerated in the article I posted in the July 2015 DSWeb Magazine issue here. For reference here are the highlights of those goals:
- A complete re-implementation of the web-site using an open source content management system that eases content submission and management for users and administrators. In addition, it provides a foundation that make future enhancements easier.
- Integration with SIAM’s Association Management System that facilitates personalization of features based on attributes such as SIAM and activity group membership, committee participation, conference attendance, etc.
- Provide features for commenting and feedback on magazine articles
- Update and modernize the site design with full support for a variety of devices types; phone, tablet, and desktop (see images of the site from my phone and tablet below).
- Provide RSS feeds
- Enable tagging of content that identifies and links related content.
From the “big picture” point of view the most significant of these new features is the foundation of a content management system (CMS) that is built on an open, standards-based architecture that enables us to add features incrementally or change its appearance while preserving content without having to re-write significant portions of code. Having this in place we can truly say that this new site lays the foundation for the future evolution of the site.
Also I would like to take this opportunity to give recognition to the old site and its developer, Jim Goldman and the team that was involved in its creation. It is a testament to the concepts embodied in that site to realize that while the tools and technology are changing the site concepts are being carried forward to this new site. Likewise, the Dynamical Systems Activity Group as a whole deserves credit as there would be no site without the volunteers who have contributed their time and talents to create the content and further develop its original concepts. It has been and will continue to stand as a reference model for activity group online communities.
Of course these changes are the result of many dedicated people and the financial support of the Dynamical Systems Activity Group and SIAM. In particular, Peter van Heijster and Elizabeth Cherry our past and present DSWeb Portal Editor-in-Chief’s. They did a wonderful job of keeping our project on moving forward while they transitioned their EIC responsibilities. In addition, the DSWeb editors provided valuable input as we went through several designs and redesigns of the site. Of course, I want to recognize the contributions of our development partner, Brio Solutions, and Adam Cohan in particular for his technical insight and ability to keep us focused toward our goals. Finally, I want to give a big “shout out” to James Haines for his tireless efforts through all phases of the project and in particular the laborious effort of validation and adjusting the content that was migrated from the old site to the new one.
On the topic of content migration, it became clear that we needed to deal not only with the designed changes in content structure but also the aging of external links which no longer work. James has been scouring the site to track these down and correct them if possible or disable them if not. In addition, there were numerous changes in the underlying linking of content and supplemental files, all of which added complexity and required manual effort to handle the subtle variations in the structure of the old and new site. His work will continue even after launch. Now that we have launched, we would like to enlist the entire community to help us identify those issues that we missed whether they are broken links or errors in our system so that we can correct them. Therefore, I encourage you to visit the site, explore it, try it with your smart phone, your tablet, your computer, whatever device you think will be useful and let us know what you find, good or bad. You can provide your feedback by sending an email to the DSWeb Portal Administrator (James) at: [email protected]. Remember, it is a starting point and we expect to make incremental improvements as we learn from you.