Since 1997, I have volunteered with Special Days Camps. In 2003, I took on the role of maintaining the website. At the time it was MS FrontPage. I cleaned up a lot of the content and separated it from the headers/footers/nav using a lot of server-side includes, and later some custom PHP. In late 2007, I switched it to the Joomla CMS so our ‘non-tecchie’ staff could add and maintain the content on the site. We also added the Zen Cart shopping cart software as a way to take donations.
Site migration: We’ve been at 1.5 since we started with Joomla in late 2007. Over time we have never had a substantial reason to justify migrating to a newer version. However, security updates for 1.5 will stop in September 2012. So we’re taking a hard look right now at what it will take to move our content to 2.5. We would appreciate any advice or help that folks are able to provide.
Zen Cart Issues and Projects:
Optimists walk-a-thon: The Michigan District Optimist Clubs have generously offered to team up with us to hold a walk-a-thon in early June 2012. People participate by signing up to walk, then raise pledges from people willing to sponsor them in the event.
We have added some features to our site in an effort to make it more ‘Convio’-like; for example, we added an email field to each product, which emails a participant when someone has given them a donation via the online store. (Every team or individual registrant has their own ‘sponsor me’ product.) That email tells them how to get in touch with their donor, and also gives them a total of funds raised to date.
However, we have been getting some transaction errors, and I’m not sure whether this is as a result of our recent upgrade to v1.5.0, my own hacking on the email notifications detailed above, or something different.
Bigger goal: We’d love it if purchasing one kind of product (like ‘register for this event’) could automatically create another product in a different category (like, ‘Sponsor so-and-so!), with certain default properties, but in an un-blessed state – every new registration would have to be reviewed and approved, of course.
Facebook integration: Over time, much of our Special Days ‘extended family’ has migrated from using our own website, to our Facebook page… to get information about camp, links to photo galleries and videos, and more. We are always looking for ways to more closely integrate the two sites.
Registration System: We’d like to create a registration site that parents can use to register their children for camp, and which staff members can use to apply to camp. Which framework we use isn’t as important as knowing that we can clearly codify certain business rules, have access to the data when & where we need it, and meet certain guidelines for data security. Ideally, such a system would be generic enough that it could be used for more than just this one camp, and shared with others. More on this in a separate, future post.
Site refresh: We can always use help and input on our branding, website layout, graphic design, stylesheet, moving to HTML 5… all that stuff that I’m nowhere near expert enough at to attempt on my own.
How you can help:
- Tell someone about this project! Odds are, you might know the perfect person who could help us with one or more of the items on this list.
- Get in touch! I am thom.brooks at gmail dot com. I am happy to answer questions about what we do, and clarify anything that wasn’t explained here.
- Request a tarball! I’d be happy to sanitize the code and create some dummy data that you can use to get this running on your own box, then suggest changes / fixes / improvements.
- Request a repo login! If you’re interested in making some contributions, I will set up a repository and you can start making commits.