As a first step, The Site of Big Shoulders migrated to a new Web hosting environment, generously donated by Think Development Group. This new environment offers the latest versions of the PHP scripting language and mySQL databases, which improve performance, enhance security and provide a better platform for deploying content management systems and other Web applications. In addition, the hosting environment offers state-of-the-art site management tools, and better tools for fighting e-mail spam, one of the main technical challenges The Site of Big Shoulders faces, according to Chief Operations Officer Jake Eldridge.
In addition to hosting infrastructure improvements, The Site of Big Shoulders has also implemented a Content Management System (or CMS), which allows for easier updating of the site and an improved publishing schedule, said Publisher Justin Kerr. "We're using the open-source Joomla! CMS to power the publishing activities of The Site of Big Shoulders. This is a best-in-class solution that offers the cost savings and licensing and technical benefits of an open-source product with the support of a thriving user community and a dedicated team of developers.
"You can see the use of the content management system on our new site through enhancements like search capabilities and an events management system," said Kerr. "Soon, we will offer login access for users. For our staffers, the difference is even more profound, as the system makes it much easier for them to participate in constructing and editing the magazine."
Kerr also noted the increased layout width of the online magazine, a change The Site of Big Shoulders has had to make on a handful of occasions as average end user screen resolutions continue to increase. "I remember back when we were designing for 640-by-480 screens in 8-bit color," said Kerr. "We'll keep changing along with Web publishing technology."
About The Site of Big Shoulders
The Site of Big Shoulders is a not-for-profit online magazine that features creative content with a connection to the greater Chicago area. Published since 1996, The Site of Big Shoulders is a 501(c)(3) organization run by an all-volunteer, Chicago-based staff.