I've enjoyed taking some time off and working on the honey-do list and springtime chores, though both are never-ending. But, I thought it time to provide an update, since it is rainy, and I'm procrastinating going to the garage to work. In addition to updating the software with new releases, and monitoring my email for "I can't log in" types of things, I have added a few more things to the site:
1. In addition to the Leaderboard that came with a recent release of the core software, I've implemented a Top Contributors function. It shows the people who've posted the most content in specific areas, by week, month, year, etc. There's been discussions in the Executive Committee about possibly setting up a competition (similar to Tractor of the Month) to reward the top contributors. I also have a programmer looking at taking this module even farther in what it tracks and counts, should we decide to implement a competition.
2. Due to feedback on the member list that I was using, I had a custom one developed and implemented. There's still some issues with missing data, but the function seems to be working well, and the plug-in that catches missing mandatory info seems to be working;
Here's a topic describing it: https://simpletractors.com/forums/topic/56722-new-member-list/
Here's a direct link to it, underneath the Membership menu: https://simpletractors.com/mlist/
Note that the amount of information displayed depends upon your access level. Dues-paying members can see more information.
3. Also based upon requests, I implemented a Member Map that allows you to place a pin on a map identifying the city and state where you live. (Smart phones will give you the option of using your Location from the phone.) This could really be helpful in finding people locally who share a similar interest in these old machines. Like most things here, its usefulness depends on the amount of use by others -- and use is optional, since some people are reluctant to share too much information on the web.
Here's a topic describing it: https://simpletractors.com/forums/topic/56732-member-map-added/
Here's a direct link to it, also underneath the Membership menu: https://simpletractors.com/membermap/
Note that if there are multiple members in close proximity, it displays them in a round "cluster" with the number of pins within it shown. For example, the pic above shows 3 members located near Indianpolis IN. If you click on that round icon, it will zoom in and show the three individual pins on the map.
Then, if you click on any one of the pins, it will show the info on that member. Here's mine, for example:
Hopefully you can see the value of this, in trying to connect with others in the local area. Now, if only we can encourage more people to add themselves to the map.
4 Continuing on that same subject of connecting with other enthusiasts locally, I want to give a sneak preview of a core capability coming in the next major release of the software, due out sometime mid-late 2017. The new core IPS software will have the capability to create sub-groups and corresponding functions for "Clubs". Since this entire site is already dedicated to a specific club, this new capability will allow us to then create and support "chapters" within the club, and support those chapters with their own functions unique to them. Implementing chapters is totally up to us -- should we choose to do so -- but the core capability will be there. Since this club has always been about encouraging face-to-face meetings with others, there has been discussion of creating chapters since the club was initially formed. This next release of the software will fully support that -- should we choose to do so....
Here's a look at their default view of clubs (i.e. chapters) from their development/testing server:
As shown, each "chapter" could have its own banner for that area. It would also show a list of the subset of members that are in that chapter, and each chapter would have "leaders" that can act as moderators for this subgroup. (Anyone identified as admin or moderator for the entire site would still have their same access levels/capabilities within these subgroups.):
We can set this up to control access to these sub-areas or chapters. See the settings at the top of the list below. We can also set it up so these chapters can have their own content areas/capabilities from the list at the bottom -- each could have its own forum, gallery, downloads, blogs and calendars to handle their local activities. If these are set up as either open or public, all club members can see them.
Here's a glimpse of what those chapter sub-areas could look like:
I'm showing all this to prompt your thinking about the possible creation of club chapters, and to hear your thoughts...
5. Continuing with the sneak previews, the next major release of the software will also include many more small enhancements -- I'm not sure what all yet, since they are slowly providing previews. For example, instead of just the Like button, there will be other Reactions that can be provided for a piece of content, such as a topic or reply
Meanwhile, I need to get back to working on cleaning up the rest of the old Simple trACtors content and republishing it. I just wanted to provide an update on some of the recent changes and a preview of what's coming.
Let me know what you think of creating club chapters, please!