TWF Club Sticker

You may or may not have realized that I have been, in a sense, ‘absent’ from this site for a couple of weeks. No forum posts, no blog posts and no tweets. I was away on vacation for 10 days and then I returned to a need to get some new functionality running on the site that consumed me for a few nights. During that time, though, I’ve been here behind the scenes keeping the site running through the care and feeding it requires. While physically away from home, I did much of it via my wife’s iPhone. It’s amazing what you can do with that little device and I could pretty much run this entire site through it.

It has been a long time coming but my biggest accomplishment over these few weeks is that I finally have stickers for the TWF ‘club’.

TWF Club Sticker

My personal deadline to get them done was May 1 and I made it! But, not with out a lot of help from Delgen Press. I worked remotely with them after I couldn’t find a good local option that was affordable. Judi from Delgen was great.

I had them in my physical possession earlier this week but, shortly before that as I waited for them to come, it hit me that I needed a way to coordinate the payment and distribution of them. My original plan was to give them away for free if I could get them for $100 or less. But, given that I had to go with a larger quantity to have them professionally printed, I decided to charge a small amount to recover my costs.

The web site changes I did earlier in the month provided me with an easy way to do that. To my new Drupal-based site, I added an e-commerce module called UberCart over the course of a few nights. With Ubercart, I devised a pretty cool solution that uses Paypal for the payments so I don’t have to do any credit card processing or store any financial data. It is expandable in the future in case I decide to offer my own merchandise instead of using Cafepress.

Now, as I write this, I don’t know if it will actually work on the first try but I have solicited some help to test it out. I have extensively tested it on my own submitting Paypal transactions through their sandbox site. But, we all know about glitches which occur because you can’t emulate every variable. In my real job, we like to joke that there is no test like production.

I may never sell the 250 that I purchased but I am encouraging the purchase of more than one through a discount for quantities over 1. Once I get a few successful transactions through the system I will open it up to everyone.

Web sites changes

It’s been a long process but last night I have finally released changes to the content part of that make management of it much easier. By “content part” I am referring to everything but the blog and forums.

My old way of maintaining the site was through hand-coded HTML that I updated through a text editor. This method goes way back to 1999 when I first started a web site and that was an accepted practice. These days it is not and, more importantly, it is a productivity barrier. When I started to use WordPress for my blog I got a taste for how nice it is to write content directly on the site. I wanted that across the whole thing.

So, back in November 2009 I started to explore software that could do that and settled on Drupal. It is a Content Management System (CMS). There are simpler CMS options but I have some dynamic content to integrate so I needed a lot of flexibility. Drupal has delivered that. The “content part” of the site is now running on it. I still have a few things to work out but it is pretty much there.

My next steps will be to move the blog from WordPress into Drupal and then finally convert the forums to a more up to date package.