Well, it's been a couple of very long days. I've been tied up with the forums, blogs and commenting system. The forums and blogs have been seeing more pixel-pushing and a lot of sub-standard code has been re-written to improve the reliability of both systems.
The main bulk of today's work was getting the commenting system ready to turn on. The basics were already in place - people could write a comment and click a button, and an administrator could then decide whether they wanted it displayed or not.
However, a fundamental part of the blogs system is that the owner of a blog... sorry, diary entry should also be able to manage their comments. This means that, when someone comments on a news story or diary entry, the author of the item gets an e-mail telling them, and they can then go and see the comment. Not only that, but they can approve the comment, edit it, or delete it.
Another important part of this system is the ability for anybody to make a complaint about a comment - it's an unfortunate fact of life that websites tend to attract the bad with the good, and because it's impossible to guarantee that no comments which breach site policy will slip through the safety nets we have in place, there's a mechanism in place which allows anybody to report a comment to a member of the site administration team. This system has been written to cover anything on the site, so you can now also complain about forum posts if you wish to.
The last stages of testing the commenting system will be taking place over the next few days, and I'm hoping to have it ready to launch by Monday, along with the diaries. This year's election candidates are going to be my first guinea pigs in the system, and I'm hoping this proves to be a valuable help to their campaigns. That said, it might turn out that no-one wants to make use of t'Interwebnet to promote themselves. Only time - and some gentle prodding - will tell.
Other happenings lately - or not, in a couple of cases - are the re-vamp and mahoosive update of the Social:Life section I've been asked to tackle. It's a shame it's taken a bit longer than I'd hoped to get the information out there, but this update will hopefully set the trading side of things up more-or-less until the end of the year, which is handy. No word on the Grad Ball yet, but I'll be sure to relay that here once I know some more.
The RAG website is still not up - entirely my fault (and I hang my head in shame). All the graphics are more-or-less done; I just have to slice and dice them, and squeeze them into a new template. A couple of things are bugging me at the moment about the colours; I want to stay true to the black/orange of the RAG publicity, but there's nothing quite like trying to read light text on a black background to put anyone off. Ideas on a postcard as to how I can tackle this - the writer of the best suggestion gets to buy me a pint (that's fair, isn't it...?).
The Course Reps mini-site is also on the to-do list and I fear I'm going to have to let it slip past the March 1st deadline. Luckily, I'm still waiting on the text - without that, it's a bit hard to know how to divide it all up, but the layout and colours I've yet to decide on, so myself, a pack of felt-tip pens (and maybe some playdough...) and a camera will be off on a mission to find some inspiration tomorrow. Just how inspiring the Uni halls of residence are though - at least when sober - is another matter entirely...
We're also starting to get on our feet with the mass-mailing system (although some of you may have missed out on last week's JobShop e-mails - this mistake will be rectified this week, and I apologise!) and should be sending out some reasonably uniform-looking, easy to read mails from the various departments on a more regular basis starting next week. The charity side of things is especially in need of a mass mail being sent out as they have oodles of stuff going on.
Another "thing" happening soon is the NUS Conference elections. Just after the Union's elections, we're going to be selecting 8 people to go to the NUS Annual Conference. It's a democratic selection procedure, so we're thinking about allowing people to vote online using the survey tool. Could be interesting...!
All in all, it's going to be a very busy couple of months for UPSU.net and the Union in general, and I'm looking forward to pushing mountains of pixels around the UPSU site. I've also got a degree to get, so I'm not planning much sleep at all. Oh, and I've managed to catch the horrible head-cold going round at the moment, so sleep is only a distant memory. I'm crewing in the Union tomorrow night, so by Saturday morning I'll be doing a pretty good zombie impression I reckon. Bring on the weekend!
Footnote: I've just spent an extra 2 hours trying to find out a) why comments are mysteriously showing up and then not showing up (possibly a cookie session problem...? ... mmm, coookieeesss...), and why the complaint button doesn't work in IE (turns out it doesn't like the diaries template and works fine when you want to complain about something in the 4ums...!). How very strange...