At roughly the same time that you’re reading this, the annual NAF account statement will be made public. The largest expenditure is for work on the website, so we anticipate that the membership will have some questions about it. Since most of the things that were done to the website were not really visible to the public, the NAF Committee wanted to provide this short statement and summary regarding the project.
The Members Area of the website has been static for the last decade, and it has been a consistent pledge in numerous elections to get it revamped. It is built on an aging platform (Zikula), so it has been difficult for any volunteer to just to come in and make changes. It’s also rare that a volunteer truly has enough free time to spend dozens or hundreds of hours on this sort of project.
In 2016, after various internal efforts had fallen through, we started investigating a commercial alternative. The original idea was to replace the site completely with a more up-to-date platform, but it appeared that the existing structure actually did a fair job on the core database functions and that it would be more cost-effective to repair and update the existing site.
We initially sorted things that needed sorting – the new member signup had flaws, the new password did not work at all, and a few other technical issues. We could then look at improved functionality, which is detailed here: www.thenaf.net/tournaments/rankings/database-development/
It might be hard for people not familiar with software/website development to understand how much work had to be done to tackle all the issue.
Here is a comprehensive list of issues that had to be fixed or updated:
– Error Messages at the Admin panel
– Various problems during the registration process (no activation emails sent, passwords not working, activation not automatic when a user is manually entered)
– Issues with country and residence settings in the database
– Issues with membership renewal online.
– Timezone issues
– Reorganize the mandatory fields for member profile, add nationality for rankings
– Issues with the NAF contact address
– Issues with ZIP codes, which have a leading 0
– Issues with missing members
– Merge similar country names to the English version (Germany, Deutschland, Bavaria) and only allow pre-defined countries with drop-down menu (instead of free entry)
– Automate and improve the ranking (re-)calculation
– Addition of new variants and creating separate rankings for all variants
– Update Coach Page
– Add new fields to the tournament data base (Winner, Runner-Up, etc)
– Issue on the “lost password” button
– Set up automated upload of variants results
– Issues with the ranking calculation
– Issues with active members being unable to log in
– Reduce database fields, remove unneccesary fields
– Addition of online variant games
– Allow entry of team tournament data with multiple winners, etc.
– Streamlining Paypal sign-up/renewal process
– Allow members to hide their personal data from public
– Show Tournament Organizer info on Coach Page
– Redo the coach finder page
– Added new races to database
As you can clearly see, a lot of working hours went into this project. We also want to be clear about the fact that the website it not “finished;” there are still has some lingering issues and items that we would like to add in the future. Projects to address these things will be taken on over the next few months and years, as the budget allows. We would also like to improve the aesthetic elements that members have (rightly) complained about for years, though we would prefer to utilize volunteer efforts for that.
So while we recognize that there will be some “sticker shock” at the amount of money spent on this project, hopefully all will agree that it was necessary to maintain the hub that our organization revolves around. As always, we would be glad to receive feedback from the membership on this or other items in the financial statement.