Our website is an essential hub for information that the team needs to function. We have all kinds of functions linked here – from our contact information database, to our calendar and blog, all the information that you need to be part of the team is found here. But HOW did we make this website???
For the 2013 game, we transitioned to WordPress, a great free CMS (Content Management Service) which allowed for blog style posting, and a very simple back end for updating posts and pages. This was done for two reasons – 1. We wanted to make the website usable for many years even if there was not a web developer on the team, and 2. WordPress made updating information and even adding information far easier than dealing with a collection of HTML files. This page is based on the ShutterShot theme for WordPress, however we have made substantial modifications to the theme, which makes it usable for the FIRST robotics competition.
I’m going to briefly outline what we have done here for other team that are creating a webpage, perhaps this will be useful to somebody.
The first thing that you need to look at while developing a website for the FIRST competition is to look at the requirements for the website award that FIRST gives to teams at regional competitions. This is important because a website that meets the requirements for this award will likely have the right focuses for the website that you are creating. NOTE: The website award was phased out in 2013, but the requirements for 2012 can still be found online. We will talk later about the new “Digital Media Award” which replaced the website award in 2013.
The second step is to investigate the method that you want to use do deliver your website content to the community. There are a multitude of CMS services including WordPress which we use here, but you could also consider Drupal or coding your own website. We chose WordPress because of the easily editable content, and the ease with which we can edit the visuals, without dealing with the complexities of coding our own site.