Report: 21-Feb-2015

By Kevin Machin

The main news for this meeting is the successful completion of the re-hosting project. In addition, there has been some more tidying up and reorganising of the site's content.


Here are the achievements that have been made since the last committee meeting on 15th November 2014.


The re-hosting project was completed on 16th February 2015. Both the domain name and all of the web resources are now fully under our control, including technical support.

We are using the company TSOHost as our service provider.

A report on this project, giving more details, is available on request.


Release 2.6.2 of the site was deployed on 15th February 2015. The main improvement was the automated list generation for back issues of Link magazine, which will save us the trouble of having to do manual edits whenever a new issue is added to the repository.

Data have been acquired to enable postcode to grid reference conversions. This is in preparation for improvements to the Writing Groups Directory, including a "find my nearest writing groups" facility.


Details can be found in the progress document, but here's a summary of content improvements since the last meeting.

  • The group news area has been tidied up and reorganised. Instructions on how to advertise on the site and in Link are now prominent.
  • The back issues for Link are now:
    • All in one place.
    • Have a consistent file naming scheme, e.g.
  • Image files have also been reorganised for improved categorisation and management.

    It hasn't helped that WordPress tends to make a pigs ear of uploaded media files, so more work needs to be done in this area.
  • Changes to the front page:
    • The "supported by our patrons" panel has been replaced with the "special membership offer".
    • A panel with a list of recent articles in the group news category has been added.


Here are some of the things that are planned for the future.

Writing Groups Directory

Development work is under way to replace the existing WGD with one that will provide the following features:

  1. Synchronisation with the data in the official NAWG membership list. This will remove the need to manually edit the entries in the WGD.
  2. Automatic categorisation according to geography. The groups will be arranged by country, region and area. The information is derived from the postcodes assigned to the groups.
  3. The ability to search for groups, based on criteria such as:
    • Postcode or area code.
    • Name of region.
    • Those within a given radius from a location.
    • More? Ideas please…

The site has a number of individuals associated with it, in addition to the writing groups. Each individual may have various pieces of information associated with them, available on the web. The following lists serve as examples:

  • Board and committee members.
  • Patrons.
  • Course tutors.
  • Friends and associates.
  • Name.
  • Postal address.
  • Telephone number(s).
  • E-mail address(es).
  • Web site and/or blog address(es).

At present, the information about these individuals is "hard-coded" into various articles. This is unsuitable for a number of reasons:

  • The information is repeated in several places, but not necessarily consistent.
  • When things change, it's a difficult and manual task to make sure all necessary edits are made.

There are plans to remedy this situation by moving to a system that uses a centralised data repository for people information.


In a similar manner to the membership plans given above, there are plans to centralise and improve the management of information regarding writing competitions.

This could include information and features such as:

  • Lists of competitions, including their relevant details.
  • Automated handling of closing dates; e.g. retiring out-of-date competitions, highlighting of near-deadline competitions.
  • Entry details, e.g: rules, application forms, electronic submissions.
  • Competition results, including (e.g.): winners, runners up, commended, winning entries.
  • Other? More ideas please…

No concrete details yet, but there are plans to centralise the management and deployment of our bi-monthly magazine. This might include the following features:

  • Single source for documents across the various media:
    • Paper.
    • E-mail.
    • Web (viewable and downloadable).
  • Centralised repository, including back issues.
  • Improvements for managing contributions and adverts.
  • Other? More ideas please…
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Author: Kevin Machin Date: February 18, 2015 8:10 pm
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