CMA01Entry

In the early days of CMA we did everything by snail mail. People from other parts of the USA came to Los Angeles to learn about CMA and ask "how to start meetings" in their locality. To this end we developed CMA's first website in 1999. It functioned using FrontPage -- an early website builder. In 2005 we began to research how to move us forward with the available technology.

Three were candidates for Content Management Systems that were reviewed. Drupal, WordPress and Mambo. Drupal did not have components at that time that would help us with our number one issue - a meeting database. Though WordPress had such a component, we learned quickly that WordPress had back doors available to hackers, an issue that still haunts them. Mambo looked like the likely candidate as there was a component in early development called Sobi. Drupal Joomla WordPressOur only issue then was that Mambo was not an reliable open source product. During our development investigations, Mambo's company chose not to further develop the Mambo software. They then created a open source fork for Mambo -- giving Mambo to the Open Source Community. This new fork would quickly become Joomla!. Joomla! quickly became reliable. Our first Joomla website looked like this.

We have been asked why we decided to go with a Content Management system for CMA and not entirely code our website. Our website is big enough that updates need to be done on a regular basis and by a variety of personnel. The technology has completely changed with new things, better page load and security since we started. We needed a path to the future for our fellowship members to contribute today and tomorrow. In 2019 we are in the 13th year of our website with Joomla! hosted at Media Temple™. Because of Joomla!'s continued improvements with private component development, we can now have the capacity to do many of the things we wanted to do in the past. We can better implement ideas the fellowship may desire in the future.

Over the years our meeting directory component Sobi became SobiPro and updates continued to improve the product. As our CMS Joomla! is Open Source (OS), many of the components are not. Because the independent developers of these components have a stake in being profitable, they have continued to improve functionality and security.

We developed our first CMA Store. It ran on a store OS package called OsCommerce (last version was 2.3.4 / 5 June 2014) which is an e-commerce and online store-management software program. A few years ago Finance Committee decided they wanted to change the store so the store was moved to an offsite platform. This is the current CMA Store. New this year is the CMA Print On Demand.

On the websites we host, we use blind email systems to guard the privacy of our volunteers. No outside parties can find or have inadvertent access to our volunteers information. On our server and server's websites, we use active firewalls. In our early days our database was hacked once. We learned how to have a zipped "on server backup" ready to be reloaded in seconds rather than a day long site reload. Since then, we've not been hacked. Our URL was displayed once on Oprah and our database crashed from to many people visiting at one time. We have since upped our game, implemented a stronger server plus we learned better methods to optimize our database as needed.

Thanks to the Internet Archives known as the Way Back Machine (hello Sherman) we invite you to come explore what we were doing in 2009 on the web including our p.o.box 555 Newsletter. Even this cma-service website had an earlier version. Unfortunately being a subdomain at that time it is not recorded on the Way Back Machine. After a reboot of the CMA Service website in 2017, it has grown to the place to go for those in service to CMA. The CMA Conference website is deicated to Conference information including the Conference Charter and Conference Reports.

Each CMA website has over 70,000 pieces and parts along with MySQLi databases that keep us organized. Please search your CMA community looking for those web people willing to become trusted members of the Communications Committee. Joomla experts would be best, but people familiar with other content management systems should be able to work this platform without too much learning curve.