YOU MAY NOT HAVE NOTICED:
If you visit the AUSU and Voice websites mostly to read articles, check out what’s new, and browse AUSU services, you might not notice anything different. If you spend any time in the AUSU forums, or the AUSU chatroom, you will surely notice the changes to the software, but not much else.
In fact, the changes go far beyond that. At the March 23rd council meeting, at the recommendation of the AUSU Web Committee, I was approved to proceed with a plan to move the AUSU and Voice websites to a new server with a new hosting company, and to proceed with the installation of a new AUSU forum. Since then, the main AUSU website programmer (Kara Tersen of Metafusion Design in Calgary) has been working hard to transfer our system and update it for the new server, and we’ve both been keeping both versions of the site up to date so that everything is ready when the change occurs. If all goes well, you won’t notice much difference when you visit the AUSU or Voice sites.
There are many differences, however, not the least of which is the brand new AUSU forum system. Student’s have complained about the old forums system for close to a year, and with good reason. It worked well when we installed it, and served a need when we were in a rush to get a forum up and going after the old site had to be abandoned. It was not able to keep up with our needs, however, and an improved interface was sought.
We are now using the PHP-BB forum system, which has many features that are new, much improved navigation, and most importantly – it can be fully maintained and administered by AUSU web staff. I’m also pleased that I was able to update the graphics and colours for the forum, to make it look a little more like an AUSU program, rather than something totally separate from the main site.
Moving also meant that we had to upgrade the chat software. This was originally planned for a later date, but since the old chat did not want to work on the new server, a replacement chat system was quickly sought. The new system is a bit ugly right now, but I’ll be working to get it looking better in the next week or two. I think you’ll all like that you can now select different rooms (great for club meetings, etc), and that you have a much larger viewing area.
By far the most complex change has been to the login system. The whole thing has been rewritten and overhauled, so that the AUSU website, forums and chat are now under a single integrated account system. This means that you only have to sign up once for all three sections, and you only have to log in once. In fact, if your system is accepting cookies and you are not on a public terminal, you should be automatically logged in each time you return to the site after your initial log in! You can’t get much more convenient than that.
We expect a few small errors might crop up, and the appearance of the chat and forums still need a bit of work, so your comments are welcome and appreciated. Go ahead and write me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you notice any errors or just want to let us know what you think (we really want to know!). I think I can say on behalf of all AUSU staff and council that we hope that the upgraded login system, forums and chat improve your experience with ausu.org
Tamra Ross Low
Editor in Chief