Our New Website

Welcome one and all to our new website. We have moved to a content management system called Umbraco. For those of you with an interest in these things Umbraco is Danish for “allen key”. The central benefit of a content management systems (CMS) is that it allows the update of website content without the need for specialist web development skills. We hope that this will make it much easier for the committee and members of the National Solo Class Association to keep the website up to date with news, events and articles.

New features

Event listings & calendars

Events are findable in several locations on the website. The side bar section of the home page shows the recently  held events, and those that are coming up. In addition to the side bar, the main events landing page shows you a calendar style view of the events for the year. Plus you’ll also find a list links for each series, these give you a full view of each event in that series, plus the results of the series so far and any reports from the area rep. Each event has its own page, and here you will find the specific details of the event, the club it is being held at complete with map and directions links. The event page is also the location for the links to the NOR and SI’s for the event. Once the event has occurred the area rep is able to upload a SailWave results file so that it is quick and easy to get the event result up onto the site.

Forum – Links, Videos and Polls

The new forum engine has several new features. Urls in the body of messages are automatically converted to links. If the url is a YouTube or Vimeo link then the link is automatically converted to an inline video player. That also works for posts originally entered on the old website see this forum post as an example. It works really nicely.

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There is also a new type of forum post – you can create a Poll and give users a number of response options. This could be used as a straw poll to gauge opinion across the membership. e.g. Should the class rules change to allow foiling hulls. (I’m not serious by the way). When you create a new message thread you will have the option of creating a poll (big blue/green button) in the top right. This allows you to pose a question and provide some options for people to vote on. I’m hoping to use this to get the members to vote on some design decisions on the web site, but i think the main usage will be for canvasing opinion across the membership for key decisions.

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The forum also has great search features, type in the thing you are looking for and all the forum threads that are relevant are returned. You can also find other posts by the same member. Click on the members avatar (small picture) in the forums. You will be taken to a summary page about that user, including the message threads they have recently been involved with:

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It’s about now you’ll be thinking, I want to upload an image for my profile rather than a random diamond and square pattern. Easy. Login to the site and you will be presented with the My Account section. The first tile is “My Details” click here and you will be able to upload an image to use as your avatar as well as update any personal details, change your password etc.

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N.B. Once you are logged into the site you will see that the last menu item changes from “login” to your name. Click on your name to load the “My Account” section.

Adverts – pictures

The new site advert section can now carry photographs as well as text about the item you are selling. You can add several images to show everyone the quality of your wares:

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There are a couple of minor niggles with adverts currently. I’m working to fix them. Let me know of any issues you are facing: web@solosailing.org.uk

Mapping – Get Directions

We have used Bing maps to provide the club location mapping. You will see on each event, or on the club listings pages, that there is a “Get Directions” link. This opens the Bing maps direction finder with the destination already filled in, you just enter your starting point and get the directions to the club. If you are using a mobile device you can use “my location” as the start point. I’m hoping that this will help any travelling sailors struggling to find the event location. The mapping is based on the lat/long values in the Club listing rather than the postcode.

Solo Sailing YouTube channel

We have revamped and enhanced the Solo Sailing YouTube channel by adding some categorised playlists. These are pulled through onto the new website. As new content is added to YouTube it becomes automatically available on the website. We have playlists for training videos, nationals, tuning tips and more. See the side bar on the home page. This will show you the latest YouTube videos as well as provide you with links to the YouTube playlists. See http://www.solosailing.org.uk/youtubeplaylist for a full listing of our playlists.

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Blogs

All NSCA members can have a blog. Contact web@solosailing.org.uk to request access. We’re hoping that as many members will start writing blogs about their Solos, what you write is really up to you, it gives you the opportunity to put together longer, more structured content than a forum post, and include images and format the layout to your preference. It would be great to see blogs about sailing techniques, race strategies, rebuilding old solos, fittings & rigging layouts, race reports, travellers guides, and tips from the top sailors in the class. Blog content can be categorised and tagged so that as the blog articles build up it is easy to search and find related articles.