February 16, 2009

Web Update!

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So here at the Cornell Sun we’re busy busy bees at the Web Department – we’ve been working on various improvements to the website to make it more user-friendly, attractive, and insanely cool!

One of the new features on the website is related content. See at the bottom of this page, where there are links to other stories? That’s a new feature that will soon be on all the pages so that you’ll want to hang out with us just a little longer.

In addition, we’re going to be expanding that feature so it’s styled a little better & appears in the sidebar.

Something else that’s coming out soon (this week, in fact!) on the website is flyerboard. An explanation of the service can be found here. Basically, it’s a virtual bulletin board that clubs on campus can use to post their flyers. It’s cheaper than normal advertising, and provides a dynamic medium in which to display flyers that clubs/organizations would normally post on bulletin boards around campus. You can see an example of a flyerboard on weeklydig.com.

My pet project nowadays is learning Flash so that the website can become a bit more interactive. I’ve adopted some of the templates here at the Knight Digital Media Center to hopefully create an interactive feature for the Great Downtown Ithaca Chili Cook-off & WinterFest.

In addition, I’m looking into creating a flash flipping-book (examples here and here) for Red Letter Daze. I think that it would add some tactility to website and simulate a magazine experience.

On the more technical side, Tom’s been working on porting our website to Drupal 6. Drupal is our content management system (CMS) that manages all of our stories and dynamically creates our pages. It’s open source software. Since Drupal is thinking of upgrading the CMS as a whole to 7, and we’re still on 5, it’s a step in the right direction. It’s a good idea to stay one release behind in any event, to keep up on new features, but also to stay away from any bugs that might be in the current release.

Once we get to Drupal 6, we can implement some modules that we’ve had waiting in the wings, such as an upgraded classifieds and advertising module, as well as a new version of our internal story assignment system.

There’s also a ton of new content that’s going on the site – we have new blogs going up almost weekly, like Virtual RAMification, A Window on Justice, or Chop Dice Simmer and Slice. They’re all really great, you should check them out.

And that’s the website, as of now! We always have new projects brewing, and of course, we’re always looking for fresh blood. If you have any great ideas, you want to dive right in to a CMS, you’re into web design, or you know how to program in Flash, contact us at the bottom of the page.