Introducing Project Metis

Dafydd Vaughan on 25 September 2006

This entry is a re-post of a blog posted on the “Project Metis” blog on the new Waterfront Online website – launched today (Monday 25th September) at 9 am.

Dafydd Vaughan - Waterfront Web EditorWelcome to the very first blog post on the new Waterfront Online website. This new blog will cover all the exciting changes that are happening to this site – from new features, to updates and problems that are encountered along the way. In this first entry, I am going to introduce myself and James (the other technical web editor), I’ll tell you what Project Metis is all about and a bit about what we are hoping to achieve over the next few months.

The Development Team

I’m Dafydd Vaughan – one of the joint technical web editors for the Waterfront newspaper. I’m currently in my third year at Swansea studying for a Masters in Computer Science. For the past few years I’ve worked for a web development company based in Cardiff. Through this I’ve been lucky to be involved in several large projects for companies such as Thomas Cook, the Celtic Manor Resort in Newport, Neilson and the Association of Project Managers. For Project Metis, I have been involved in designing the new look for the site and testing all the new features we’re going to be implementing.

I work on this website with James Gawn – the other technical web editor. James is also studying for a Masters in Computer Science here at the university. James has been developing PHP based websites since early high school and has put this knowledge and experience to the test in developing this new site. James has been involved in putting together all the code that runs the site.

For more information on James, Myself or any other Waterfront team members, take a look at the ‘about‘ section of the website.

What is Project Metis?

What exactly is Project Metis? Well put simply, it is everything that you see on this website. In actuality it is much more than that. Project Metis covers everything you can see, but also all the systems and management applications running behind the site that keep it ticking over smoothly.

Back in July of this year, James and I applied for the position of Web Editors with the aim of polishing up the existing website and making a few improvements to the way news articles were put onto the site. After a few meetings with the senior editor and current web team, it became clear that the website was in desperate need of a major overhaul. With this in mind, James and I set about designing and producing a completely new website that is easy to maintain and keep up to date.

A few months later and here we are. A brand new website for the students of Swansea. Of course, we are no where near finished. There is much more work still to be done, and this is what we will be working on for the next few months.

At this point I am going to attempt a bit of mind reading and pre-empt the inevitable question “why ‘Project Metis’?”. Well, this is a very good question with a quite simple answer. A week or so into development we realised that the website was in effect a large piece of software and so as is tradition in the Software Industry, we decided we needed a project codename. In general, the code name is used in place of the official name of the software until it is released – one of the reasons for this is they are generally easier and sound nicer. A few searches of the web for certain key words brought back a list of Greek Mythological gods – one of which is Metis. Metis presided over all wisdom and knowledge – quite appropriate for a university newspaper. Hence Project Metis was born.

What are the Plans?

We still have a lot to do. Although this is a nice snazzy new website, it is still very much a one way affair. We can put stuff on here for you to read, but there isn’t really any way for you to contribute to the site. Some of you may have noticed the lack of a ‘comment’ button at the bottom of this blog. This is one of the things we are planning on fixing.

Over the next few months we are hoping to allow you to comment on blog entries and articles (much like the Have Your Say on the BBC News website). You will be able to register, and maintain your own profile on the site and most importantly, you will be able to make this site into what you want it to be. This is your university, your student union, and your website. Without you contributing to it, we don’t know if we are doing things right.

As we add these features in, we will tell you about it on this blog and we will be asking for feedback from you with ways to improve it.

And Finally…

Now that I’ve been through most of the points, I think I should get back to developing all the nice features I’ve been talking about. Until we get the comments up and running, if you want to get hold of us, head over to the contact us part of the website, and send us a message.

Dafydd Vaughan
Senior Technical Web Editor
Waterfront Online

Any views stated here are my own and not those of my employer unless otherwise stated.