- April 28th: Vine Lake Cemetery Spring Clean Up - Medfield, MA
- April 7th-8th: Gaming Trip - Rocky Woods
- April 14th-15th: Wilderness Firts Aid Training - Camp Squanto, MA
- July 29th-Aug 4th: Summer Camp - Camp Squanto, MA
Future itineraries to be released.
*Further Trip Plans May Be Found in Recent Dates Documents
Spring 2018 Update
The Troop 89 website has been "down for maintenance" since Fall of 2016. Below you will find the most recent update regarding the progress that is being made. This document was last updated on March 31th, 2018.
What's Going On?
Nothing is broken! Our website was not "hacked" or taken down; rather, it is being rebuilt. Over the decades that the site was in use, its maintenance was entrusted to webmaster after webmaster, each receiving less training than the last on how the site actually functioned. When at last the site’s maintenance was entrusted with me, the job description had boiled down to the menial task of manually updating the links on the homepage once every month. One could no longer browse for documents or access any resources beyond the site index. In that state, the old website was simply not serving our troop as it once did. I determined that repairing these lost services would require just as much work as rewriting them from scratch. So, after receiving approval from the troop’s committee, that's what I set out to do.
Why does the site look the same?
Regretfully, the Troop 89 website has seen few visible updates since this page was put in place. This does not, however, mean that little progress is being made. Over the past year in a half, several hundred hours of work have been put towards the creation of the new website. This process has, however, met a few "bumps."
When I first took over as the troop’s webmaster several years ago, I knew very little about web development. "Remaking" the website meant simply writing PHP scripts for individual pages. As my understanding of web technologies grew, I gradually expanded to writing my own mini PHP framework to support the website. After nearly 6 months (and a healthy dose of experience with genuine programming), I abandoned this approach in favor of working with a legitimate PHP framework. With this new method, I once again began rewriting the backbone of the website from scratch. Other coding ventures, however, soon distracted me from working on the website. I became attracted to working with my machine on a lower level, writing "blindingly-fast" applications in languages such as Rust and C++. When I finally returned to the website after about half a year, I had developed a far stronger grasp on computer technologies, and with it a loathing for PHP.
With the hundreds of hours I would be spending to build a website, I wanted to ensure that the experience that I would be gaining would be applicable in my future. Being mundane and domain-specific, PHP in no way fit this bill. After jumping between a few modern web technologies (C#.NET, JVM, and Ruby, to name a few), I finally settled on moving forward with Python with its celebrated Django web framework.
Herein development will be moving forward at a regular pace. While these past two years have taught me against making overly optimistic promises, I feel confident that a partial release will be feasible come early Summer.
What’s coming down the pipe?
Now that the site is being moved to an expansive web framework, development will, to put it bluntly, explode. A full list of intended features would go beyond the scope of this update. Nevertheless, some of the more relevant features-to-come include:
- Mailing lists – a simple interface to send newsletters or high adventure trip updates over email
- News stream – Trips updates, announcements, newsletters, and more.
- Trip sign-ups – A customizable and less invasive replacement for signupgenius.
- Meeting attendance – Singular service to help the PLC track of scout involvement in the troop.
- Document / Media browsing – Access to trip photos, newsletters, forms and other import documents.
If there exists any specific functionalities that would be desired in the new site, now is the time to make suggestions.
Wait! I can code! How can I get in on the development process?
For the moment, the best way to get involved is to speak with me at a weekly scout meeting or send me an email. As noted before, now is certainly the time to raise any questions, suggestions, or concerns.
Once I’ve pulled together the site’s python skeleton, however, I intend to release the website’s sources as a live git repository. From then on, members of the troop who have some familiarity with the site’s technologies will be able to submit changes to be merged into the site.
For any scouts who have interest in working on the site once it’s released, now is perfect time to become familiar with the technologies that it will use. At a minimum, one should consider reviewing the following:
- Basic web technologies (HTML, CSS, JS)
- How a web server functions (HTTP, with a focus on Apache2)
- Python 3
- Relational databases (e.g. MySQL, PostgreSQL)
- The Django web framework (emphasis on its ORM)
However, these topics barely scratch the surface of what is required to pull a website together. Other relevant topics include:
- GNU/Linux administration
- Web vulnerabilities (code injection, CSRF, and a plethora of attack vectors)
- SASS CSS Preprocessor
- Assorted package management utilities (aptitude, pip, etc.)
- Cryptography (emphasis on SSH, GPG2)