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    • #19357
      Profile photo of Andrew Normand

      Our developer is making progress with the new Drupal versions of TalkPhysics and the IOP Membership’s social network site MyIOP. Membership’s new site, MemberTalk, will launch first in the next couple of weeks, then we’ll finish off the functions specific to TalkPhysics, and aim to have it launched before the end of April.

      All the existing content (users, groups, discussion threads, etc.) will be carried over, so we should not lose anything (except maybe a small number of private items, such as the contents of your TalkPhysics message inbox).

      We’ll give plenty of notice before the launch, which will involve TalkPhysics not being available for 24 hours, while we export the data and bring up the new site.

      A fitting moment, given TalkPhysics’s recent second birthday.

    • #19358
      Profile photo of Andrew Normand

      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.

    • #19359
      Profile photo of Andrew Normand

      As you can see, the launch has been delayed due to the complexity of migrating the old system’s data into the new system, and staff leave.

      The latest news is that we expect to launch in the week beginning 25 June.

      There are two types of data we will not be migrating, so we’ll lose this information:

      • the contents of your message inbox. As a copy of all of these is also sent via email, this should involve no significant loss. We will still have messaging and an inbox in the new system, it just won’t show old messages. And
      • group event calendars. Very few groups appear to use these. I’ll warn about their loss before we go live. In the new system, a similar functionality can be provided by creating a Google Calendar, and embedding it in your group’s home page or discussion posts.

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