The last few years have been a steep learning curve for all of us involved with the website, whether users or developers. The initial redevelopment was thanks to the tenacity of Chris Smith backed by rear commodore membership and marketing Kate Newman. Chris brought a huge amount of IT knowledge to the project and had the foresight to champion Drupal and CiviCRM - two open source systems (ie free). This has meant the Club has a website delivering a high level of functionality at a fraction of the cost of a bespoke system.
As we all know, the IT world gallops along at breakneck speed. It seems only yesterday (although it was over four years) that we were arguing for a Drupal/CiviCRM website in the face of people demanding twirling burgees and Flash animations on a bespoke site. Luckily the rest of the world caught up with the LSC and you will have noticed how many websites have come to look very much like ours. Content-rich home pages, with as many snippets of information 'above the fold' so that users can navigate easily to the information they need. Open source have become the systems of choice as more sophisticated templates and levels of functionality have been delivered to the ordinary user.
Like all IT projects, the Little Ship Club website development was not always smooth. But I would like to pay tribute to everyone who got stuck in and supported it along the way. We had a dedicated group of contributors and editors who took part in Skype editorial meetings, wrote stories and contributed ideas.
One person who deserves special thanks is Alan Fulton. He is still working away behind the scenes keeping the CiviCRM demons at bay, but he led the way in developing Civi and putting in place many of the systems and processes that underpin how the Club works today. Alan has also given his unerring support to the rest of the team when systems crash, or security leaks occur, or some other problem erupts (almost always at midnight or at the weekend - or both).
It has been a stimulating and creative few years working as website editor for the Club and I have relished the opportunity to take the project this far. I won't miss putting together HTML web bulletins in the wee small hours of Wednesday nights to hit the Thursday morning deadline though!
The website will be managed by Andrew Wilson (board member, marketing and communications) for the immediate future with assistance from the office. Email firstname.lastname@example.org and your message will be answered by one of the office staff or Andrew.
Thank you, everyone, for your help, ideas and contributions along the way. I am sure you will see a few more blog posts and stories from me on the site, as I plan to become a 'normal' member of the Club. I am off sailing in September (before starting the job) and am joining the Oyster World Rally for the leg from Darwin to Bali. I will also continue my involvement with the Thames Trafalgar Race. Watch this space!