If you are reading this post on codeforsanfrancisco.org, you may have noticed that it looks a bit different than it has for the past two years. For the curious, this post explains why and how we’ve migrated from the brigade-centric content management system (CMS), BrigadeHub, back to a static site generator, Jekyll hosted, for now, on Github Pages.
The end of an era
With BrigadeHub being retired late last year, we needed to find a path forward for hosting our site that would allow us to continue to make the changes we wanted to better convey to the world who we are and what we do. Our primary desires were to:
- Create additional static content describing the organization
- Create additional content for members such as an index of resources
- Have more control over the way events are displayed to make content, agendas and presentations, from each more discoverable
- Create an index for our newly formed open leadership councils
But we didn’t want to lose the raison d’être of BrigadeHub, namely, allowing non-technical users to edit content easily.
The path forward
Starting with our first leadership council in October, it was decided that we would look at the current state of static site generators and headless CMSs to see if they could fit our needs. We felt that the static site generators would give us a simple to maintain architucture and that the proliferation of headless CMSs would allow us to maintain an interface for allowing non-technical users to help keep content on the site up-to-date.
We defined our goals as:
- Should be editable by non-technical users
- Should be simple in architecture to allow developers coming to the project to quickly contribute
- Should be extensible to allow things like the project matching app to be overlaid
- Should be open-source and free or cheap
- This is what we previously used for codeforsanfrancisco.org
- It is the one of the most popular static site generators meaning it has a well developed ecosystem and is a common target for headless CMSs
In advance of our February project demo night we officially launched the beta of the site to start collecting feedback.
Now that we have a live beta of the website, our next steps are:
- collecting ideas and issues
- work with the UX research group to do some user research and ensure the site is meeting our organizational and member goals
- evaluating headless CMSs to identify which will best suit our goal of allowing non-technical users to edit content
Excited about this path forward and want to contribute? Or do you have questions, feedback or concerns? Drop into #website on our Slack (if you aren’t on Slack, you can join via c4sf.me/slack) or drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I want to give special thanks to Oz Haven for his tireless efforts building and project managing BrigadeHub. We would not be here today without his vision for expanding the the ability for brigade members to contribute and curate content on our site. While BrigadeHub has been retired, this vision will carry on through our work.
Also thank you to Jason Lally for heavily contributing to this discussion and for the migration of projects to the new site.
Lastly, thank you to ChiHackNight for providing the initial template and site design which we shamelessly replicated.