I found my answer: the template names in the newsletter are links to the samples.
The September Newsletter mentioned some new templates, but I couldn't find any samples or examples. Are there any?
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Yes. They should be there. I hope you like them!
We are looking at switching. Will we be given a test site to redesign?
The new template will basically be placed on top of the current template, then we will have to move a few things around to get the modules to work. But we won't be giving test sites.
That is extremely disappointing. You are basically asking us to trust you that everything will look alright. I would never do something as drastic as changing a template, changing the layout and position, on a live site. And I'm sorry, but your track record on updates is not quite stellar.
Why the reluctance on providing a test site? It's been said before and bears repeating. Our websites are the very public face of our congregations. None of us do this full time. We can't wait for such a drastic change to occur and then spend a few days full time to fix it.
Would you even consider changing the entire layout of the URJ website without testing it and adjusting first? Why are you asking us to accept that?
Sorry let me clarify. This new template will be added to the template manager, just like the other templates. So just like the other templates, it can be turned on or off. While we wasn't expecting people to change the new template, once we add the new template, you can test it on a hidden menu item which would not be public facing. Then when you're happy with the changes, it can be applied to the whole site. Hope that helps.
No, it does not. You are asking us to re-do our entire site as hidden items, with new link names, then have to delete the current, rename the new and hope nothing breaks, because not keeping the same link names will break the search engines. As opposed to having a site to do the owrk, and get it approved by our boards, and then just flipping a switch.
I find the fanatical reluctance to providing test sites for major changes quite disconcerting.
And what do you mean "we"? (Insert politically incorrect punchline here.)
We are not asking you to redo entire site. You don't need to use the new templates. This is something optional. But even so, if you choose to utilize a new template, there's very little you will have to do. We will be uploading the new template and making sure all the modules are set correctly. We aren't going to give you back a broken site. But again, remember, this is optional.
Joel, I don't think you understand. We've been looking at refreshing our site. Some of those new templates look great. So yes, it's voluntary, but if we do opt to do it, to do it right involves a lot more than blindly applying the new template. It's a major cosmetic change that needs to be undertaken. And not something that can be done live without a net. That's the point with test sites for major work. We experienced issues with the upgrade. A template change is another big one. I really don't get the reluctance. Is it a technical issue? There was no problem when we first built the sites.
In the end, I'll have to recommend to my board we don't make changes. Life's too short to have to field emails and phone calls because the layout of the site does not look good.
In theory, none of us would need to modify templates or style sheets or HTML or PHP, making the switch between templates trivial. But we all know there are more than a few of us that tweak the look and feel of our sites ad-infinitum to perfection. It's those ad-hoc changes that add risk to choosing a different template. I freely admit, I'm one of them and need to think long and hard about the value added by the mobile aspects of the templates. If our temple decides it's necessary then it will have to be done.
While I also wish we had the luxury of a testing or staging area separate from the production site, I certainly appreciate the effort that would be involved on the part of the URJ team to support that. It at the very least doubles the number of sites the team needs to support and it seems like they have enough to deal with every day. (Even if they give us a wiz-bang button we can press at any time to clone our current production site, making it "self-managing"... it really won't be, will it? There will still be questions and comments and feature requests and....)
Anyway, I've previously posted instructions on how to "play" with a Joomla site on your own computer by downloading the Akeeba backup and standing up a running instance (private, inaccessible to remote users so as to not violate licensing!) I think those instructions are still on one of these forums. If not, I can dig it up and post again.
Jared, thanks for supporting us.
The layouts are different enough that I certainly would want to see it before making it live. I'm not blaming Jared or Joel, but if URJ really wants to support their congregations with their web presences, they need to provide adequate resources, be it hardware, software or human.
I considering changing our site's template to one of the four new mobile-friendly ones. I had the same exact thoughts as Serge Adam - trying out one of the new templates on a test site so that I can try various things at my leisure without worrying about the production site. I have read the discussion about this about 10 months ago.
Joel, has your position on this changed? Are you able to make a cloned test site available to facilitate this kind of work?
If not ... Steven Cohn ... 10 months ago you indicated that you had a procedure to standing up a private cloned site on your own computer to meet this need. Can you please publish the details of that procedure? Thanks!
I still haven't bitten the bullet, but what Joel did for me is create a hidden menu and attach the new template to the hidden version of the home page. That way I can experiment with it.
We are still not offering closed test sites. We are uploading the new template and creating a hidden menu item with a replica of the home page. This serves as a home test page which you can tweak the template colors and stuff. This page will not be public. We have performed this task a couple dozen times on other congregation websites and haven't run into any issues. And if minor issues had risen, we were able to fix them pretty quickly.
Hey boss, we'll be updating the <insert whatever> this weekend. The vendor tells us it shouldn't be an issue and tells us " And if minor issues had risen, we were able to fix them pretty quickly."
That would not fly.
I still don't get the reluctance to offering a test site for the migration. Those sites would only live a short period of time.