Coney Island.com was first launched around 1994-5 when Mosaic first came out. The site most would recognize went live in 1997-8, and lived on (and on and on and on… way past when it should have!). Stacy Horn at www.Echonyc.com donated hosting to us when Coney Island USA had a staff of 1. My Friend (Mermaid Parade Chief Justice) Mark Alhadeff and I started planning a new database driven site as early as 1999, but for various reasons it never happened.
In the meantime the old site grew organically with many different disparate systems- We had an ecommerce portal, an active forum (Yabb), an email blast (Mojo Mail – now Dada Mail, but also Constant Contact for Members), various cgi based calendars before we standardized on Google Calendar, plus assorted random cgi-polls, etc that had been implemented over the years. Facebook, YouTube, Vimeo and Twitter all grew to be a part of our outreach efforts over the years. For the last 5 years I have been trying to roll all these systems into one package that would allow us to build upon. I identified Drupal as the package that we could build on, and when Drupal 7 reached maturity, I knew the time had come.
Finally, last summer I vowed that we cannot go another season under the old site. I drafted Mark and his company Ocean7.com to help me make the new Coney Island.com a reality. I began designing these pages about 18 months ago over Christmas break. The focus of the new site was to:
- Provide a clearer focus on the Coney Island USA organization: Who we are, what we do and why we do it
- Better calls to action to support the organization’s fundraising efforts
- A central calendaring system for managing display of events and linking to
- Database driven so that non technical staff can manage and update events/pages with a minimum of training.
- Merging several of these previous disparate systems, and providing a roadmap to integrate the others.
This is a first pass getting us up & running on the Drupal Platform. We have lots of ideas for the site’s future, but today we’re just glad to be live! We will still be using the legacy message boards and email blast systems for a while, but these are features we hope to eventually roll into the Drupal build. For now what we have is going to suffice to get us through the 2013 season. I’m sure there will be some hiccoughs along the way, but this will be a great foundation to build on!