End of an Era – Passing the Torch


For the last three and a half years, I have had the pleasure of running the Southern Arizona Greyhound Adoption web page. I was there at the beginning when Diana Hansen, then acting as the Communications Director, hosted us volunteers in her house, to discuss the public facing image of the brand spanking new organization.

There were 6 or 7 of us in the room, and we were discussing the establishment of our social media presence. I volunteered to begin the creation of the website, and to assist with the other bits and pieces.

I could have not known that it would last almost three and a half years.

On that fateful night, we decided to use an open source CMS, Joomla! as the desire was to have a largely static web page, and to have a system that could be used by the other volunteers to create and edit content (oh, how naive I was), and the other two CMS options, WordPress and Drupal, were either too “blog” like or much much overkill.

So a quick site was created, while in the background, I created the Joomla! site for the long haul solution.

After a lot of hammering and shaping, the site came together, the best that a design by commitee could accomplish, and it went live in early June 2012.

Not too surprising, the Joomla backend interface was a bit daunting for the casual volunteers to work with (I think one volunteer worked on it and did like three whole pages) so I setup front end form tools to allow the entry and maintenance of things like available hounds, membership lists, and the like.

Over the years I got adept at handling the requests for changes in the supposedly static front page (turns out that wasn’t as important as we originally thought).

Life changes

In the interim, I took a new job, moved first to Phoenix, then to San Jose, so I became a lot busier. I still kept up the website, maintaining it, fixing it, and adding/adjusting what was requested by the Communications and board.

However, in late 2014, the version of Joomla! we were using went end of life. The daunting task of migrating to a new version (version 3) and with it, re-doing all the plugins and controls was beyond my ability to achieve.

So, when the email came in late June that the board, working with a new volunteer (who is now the Communications Director,) had been working on a replacement, it was a major relief. I was unsure how much time I could put into a new website, and knowing what I put into the original one, I expected it to be measured in the hundreds of hours, it was a welcome notice.

Sidebar: I think the President was worried that I would be offended, or put off by their side project. The email was a bit cautious, trying not to offend me. Ha! I am in Marketing, I can take a lot of offending.

The last week or so, I have helped with the final touches to the website. The new site is WordPress, which has matured greatly in the last 3 years, and it looks incredible. I see many touches of my original designs, so I know that my trailblazing set a standard.

Friday night, July 3rd, I pulled down the old Joomla! site, archived it for posterity, and moved the new WordPress site to the hosting.

It is up, it is live, and it looks like the new owner is well capable of carrying the torch.

Best of luck!

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By geoffand


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