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As you will have noticed, the launch of the new site has been delayed, mainly by the complexity of extracting the data from the old site and injecting it into the new one.

We need it to launch well ahead of the Summer holiday, so we have time to evaluate its use (and usefulness!).

You may have noticed that Membership’s new social media site launched about a month ago. TalkPhysics will have most of its new features, plus some extra. https://www.iop.org/membership/login.jsp / MemberTalk / Homepage .

Among the advantages of the new site, compared to the existing TalkPhysics, are:

  • tagging now works
  • greatly improved search
  • easier log-in (for instance, using your email address)
  • links from email notifications now take you to the topic even if you’re not logged in
  • email digests
  • equation editor
  • can rate posts
  • “sticky” posts, so group owners can keep the most important ones at the top of any lists
  • embed a greater range of multimedia 

We haven’t got everything we originally hoped for. Principally, it quickly became clear that giving the site a dedicated smartphone interface was a very significant piece of work in itself. We may yet choose to do this separately in coming months. Similarly, we may end up losing some stuff that relatively few members currently use, such as calendars. In return, the blogging facilities should be a little more versatile.

We’ll gain some way of browsing through teaching resources, but how extensive this is depends on how far the developers get in their final “Sprint” with the existing funds we’ve provided. Similarly, there should be some sort of preview facility before posting, but its precise form will only become clear by the end of the next week or so.

Probably the single biggest gain is something that’s invisible to users, but should make a big difference in the future: we’ll be switching to a system which will be easier to maintain and extend in future, so we can make the site respond more quickly and fully to good ideas in the future. For instance, once we launch being able to rate posts, we should be able to extend that to giving individual members recognition for their high quality posts. Already our admins have gained the ability to edit menus, text, etc., which we didn’t have in the old system.

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