GPCA IT Committee, Working Group Plans

As of 13.12.03-05, J.G. Woodward
GPCA IT, GPCA IT "librarian"

If our current IT co-co (only one now), Tim, grants me permission to install Joomla on this server, this simple index.html page will become index.php and get you to a Joomla v3.1.5+ site dedicated JUST to the uses of the GPCA IT. Better uses include better on-demand communications (live, asynchronous) and more up-to-date information sharing. Clearly for those who have made HTML pages, some of that could be done on THIS page; but for those familiar with the "greater powers!" of CMSes, that is "lame" at best. I'll explain more about how the better CMS-based services can be better a bit further below and why a small-scale (Joomla) CMS could be a good test server to test and refine User Experiences with a small set of CMS site features before implementing them on a Drupal or NationBuildertest or live site.

The Joomla site I propose here should/will have one or more of the following special CMS features-creating Joomla extension sub-systems installed. These sub-systems should help our collective and collaborative work greatly, literally keeping us all "on the same page(s)" when we are in a live teleconference (or GVOConference) or when we have spare time from our busy "real lives" to check what everyone else in IT is doing and has done. In these ways more of us in IT can individually, when we have the ideas and a moment of spare time, add comments, remarks and suggestions to the Joomla site, to draft goals, objectives, technical requirements, project milestones and tasks in-progress, etc. all of which has been saved on that site, presenting to all-of-us constructive comments that save us precious face-to-face (or voice-to-voice) time in what so far have been a one-time-per-month live conference meeting. jgw 13.12.04, 04:53

    Extension Sub-Systems:
    The 3 in-bold named sub-systems below (i.e. #'s 5, 6, 7) are to be added to the proposed Joomla site all-at-once or incrementally one-by-one as IT people are able to "deal with" (test-use) each sub-system.

  1. Much more secure private articles, with multiple levels of privacy, and the ability of some site users who created or can edit private articles to share some of them publicly (i.e. with any site visitor who has not logged in). This may or may not be "better" than the public-private article (and article revisions) that are possible on the, I think, problematic GPCA MediaWiki site.
          On a Joomla site this is an ever improving feature of all Joomla releases, the major releases (1.x, 2.x, 3.x...), the minor releases (3.0, 3.1, ...) and sub-minor releases (3.1.0, 3.1.1,...,3.1.5; 3.1.0, 3.1.2,...,3.1.5, ...). We "joomla site builders" are "at" version 3.1.5, the latest version at this writing.

  2. Web links (links to off-site web sites or pages of special interest to the GPCA IT people, including technical tips and tutorials.
          Sets and sub-sets of these may be made private to varying degrees as our "security concerns" change and develop.

  3. Better categorization, searching and web page displaying of articles and web link categories and the articles or web links in those categories or sub-categories. The categorization is hierarchical, outline form, with "infinite" sub-levels.

  4. "Smart" Search, article Tags, maybe web link tagging too, and searches via tags and tag categories
          On a Joomla site this "smart searching" and "tag searching" is like a Drupal 7 site's taxonomy creation and searching system but less powerful. Nevertheless with these above average (but not Drupal-powerful) search facilities, a Joomla site visitor or logged in site user could find what you think is on-site when you can't remember the exact name or path to search for. For a small group of Joomla site test-users this could be a source of lessons to be implemented in better ways on the Drupal site.

  5. The Kunena Forum sub-system for IT group, sub-group discussions such that everything said is kept for-the-record in neat categories and sub-categories.

  6. The Community Builder PRO sub-system. (I own the 2013 version and can put it on any other Joomla sites to which I have even the most minimal system-administration privileges. Thus it may be useful to the GPCA, at least until a robust Drupal Organic Groups configuration is setup and tested and ready to go-live, to allow me to setup a Joomla site for the GPCA which includes the CB or CB Pro sub-system on it. IT and some GPCA user and voter organization "experts" could mock-up user groups, voter groups, committee and working groups on a Joomla CB Pro sub-system for transfer to the Drupal site with Organic Groups later.
          Abbreviated CB or CB Pro, this sub-system can mock-up GPCA state-wide, per county, per local party groups and sub-groups, start to "add flesh" to a small number of them -- starting with GPCA IT -- and thus serve as the "front end," user-experience (UX or UI), of a similar or better system for managing these GPCA state, county and local groups on a Drupal 7 site that has Organic Groups installed and configured properly to do so.
          I.e. "we" in IT work-out the kinks in the UX with a very small sub-set of test users, test groups along with a small set of articles and web links (and projects) for SOME of them. Then our "Drupal experts" set that "better UX" up on a test or development that with refinements migrates to become a LIVE site feature.
          Such "user and group handling" on a Joomla test site like this one could be, on a Drupal site (devel, test, live) and/or on a NationBuilder site (test, live) could prompt us with the abilities to move features, explore exporting and imiporting users, back and forth while we work-out "in real life" on real CMSes what works best for the GPCA! We have no such site(s) analysis and design refinement process now.

  7. The ProjectFork v4.x.x PRO project management sub-system. (I own the 2014-2038 versions (i.e. I get unlimited upgrades to code and documentation through 2038). That means I can install PF on any other Joomla system to which I have the most minimal degree of system administrator privileges.
          Thus it may be useful to the GPCA, at least temporarily, to let me setup a Joomla site for the party which has PF installed as well.)

The "ITWG-Plans" Joomla site special services outlined above will only be available to logged in active GPCA IT Committee and Working Group members. With a Joomla v3.x.x site as the CMS host for itwg-plans, IT services should include:

    Some New Useful IT Group Coordinating Services:
  • Very good (hierarchical) categorization (i.e. categories, sub-categories, etc.) of both articles and web links.
  • The JComments extension for Joomla v3.x.x. JComments allows optionally site visitors (i.e. not logged in site users) and logged in site users to add comments to articles on the "Plans" site.
          They also might be able to comment on web links of interest (I have to check this), on Forum discussion major categories, to Forum category topics and sub-topics (I have to check this), to ProjectFork projects, project notes and files, project milestones and project tasks (where any of the preceeding could be planned, defined but not started, started and in-progress, suspended, or completed).
          This per project information can be secured by one of the project co-cos to various degrees of privacy and thus allow various degrees of codocument sharing among the project participants, with non-technical project stakeholders / overseers (to keep them "up to speed" and educated on the PM process). But having several levels-of-secure project content also means authors or managers of some materials can some of that private material public. Private material made public is typically simplified technical material made more understandable by any GPCA active member, also by a party member or casual curious site visitor who wants to read it! ...A topic and set of access rules for the eventual to be created GPCA Media Committee (and any public education committee) to determine in consultation with IT.
  • ProjectFork projects... so much to say about this PM system. See their site to start your learning curve: Project Fork.
    To give you with less or no PM experience: the FOSS dot-Project PHP+MySQL system or the FOSS Redmine PHP+Ruby-based PM system are much better than ProjectFork is now (PF 4+) and has been the last 4+ years (PF 1.x, 2.x, 3.x) it has existed and been gradually improved. In my opinion "real PMs," PMs experienced with complex projects, MS Project projects, other free or commercial PM software, should use one of the latter two FOSSes; GPCA members with little to no PM experience -- and little to no general computer competency too -- can easily use the ProjectForm system. That also means IT technical people with little or no PM experience can get-up-to-speed on what is userful PM for them personally and for the ITWG as a group together using PF.