So now that the 2013 FRC season is sadly over for my team (4468). I have a lot of time on my hands and think that I might want to make a web site sort of like Chief Delphi but it would also have other features such as tutorials that people could submit. My question is what are some things that you would like to see in a FIRST website maybe even something like a official fantasy FRC game that wouldn’t just be people emailing or posting back and forth.
I’d love to see a website that had interactive training and tutorials. A lot of great minds in FIRST have put a ton of time into generating presentations for conferences and their teams, but its often only available if you attend the conference, or you can find the videos or slides online, but its not the same as getting it in person.
Many years ago, I wanted to develop an online “FRC Certification” database that would make use of some of these presentations and incorporate some “tests” or interactive tutorials that would quiz the viewer to see if they understood the material, and then they could get a “grade” in the end, indicating if they have grasped the concept.
At the very least, a website that collects a ton of trainings and does a good job categorizing them would be awesome. I know WPI tried to do this a while back, but I think the effort died down after a while. FIRST has done a better job on their technical resources, but they are kind of component specific, rather than “how to build a swerve drivetrain” or some of the more creative trainings we’ve seen.
This may be beyond what you were looking to do, but its an idea I had a long time ago and never really had the chance to implement, and I think it could be incredibly useful to the FIRST community.
Just take a look at all of the websites that are out there for FIRST, and see if you can find a niche. There are a lot of sites that have tried to startup and have since died. The two strongest ones that have been around for quite some time are obviously Chief Delphi and The Blue Alliance. Don’t try and duplicate what is available with either, its just extra work, and may make it much less likely that anyone will use your site. Instead, find something unique that would be helpful to the community at large, and once you have that and a stronger user base, you can add more features.
I think an open niche would be a website focused more on financing and sustaining teams. CD has forums for this, but they are somewhat underused, it is more of a technical resource. Getting lots of teams to pool their online resources (presentations, videos, manuals, etc.) on starting new teams would be a good start since most have plenty of documentation.
NEMO has been offering white papers on non-technical topics for ten years. www.firstnemo.org
To be honest, it would be really nice if we could just expand/improve Chief Delphi. It’s a great resource that’s already available, and a lot of people in the FIRST world already use it.
You still have some great ideas that wouldn’t overlap existing sites, though. Especially the Fantasy FIRST game.
It would also be cool to have a section of it be like Craigs List, where teams can make public requests, like at the pit admin during competitions, and other teams can fufill those request for free or with charge. It could be used throughout build season and possibly year around. I know my team attempted that for a period of time although it never went anywhere.
No offence at all to Chiefdelphi, but I feel that CD is more used for communication and sharing ideas, and I would like to see another site come around that is soley focused on trading parts between teams and has a larger impact in the form.
Three other things I was thinking of doing was make a place where teams that are near to each other would be able to talk to each other and organize events and also have groups of people that would be like a google+ group but for teams. Thirdly would be some way for people to make tutorials using something like instuctibles or ifixits tutorial system.
I agree. Chief Delphi is a more communication site. A huge part of FIRST is the interaction between teams so make something different and new!
I think tutorials and effective part trading would be HUGE. Also an effective database for CAD files for everything from Rhino to AutoCad to Solidworks. If you needed FIRST CAD you know you could know to go there instead of searching around online. (better than FIRST Cad library too)
No offense to chief, but it’s starting to get dated*. It is an amazing resource, but it has grown beyond its designed purpose. Chief is kind of the nexus for all things FIRST. It isn’t just a forum anymore. It is the #1 way that FIRSTers get their news about the program, how they interact with each other, how their concept of what FIRST is gets shaped, I could go on and on. The point being this site is the unofficial centre of FIRST. While other sites can/will be used as tools and resources, this is where people will flock.
I know absolutely nothing about how the site is/has/will be run, but why not update it to better fulfill its new growth? That being said I know almost nothing about web development or I would be first in line to help. Something I do know is there are tons of extremely talented webmasters out there in the FIRST community. Why not band together and make the unofficial centre of FIRST worthy of its place in our minds?
*By dated I don’t mean looks or performance-wise, I mean definition and feature-wise.
I think the looks are outdated. There, I said it. Performance-wise, it works extremely smooth. Brandon has definitely done a good job keeping the server in top-notch form.
The main thing is that Brandon Martus is basically the only dev (as far as I know), with others designated as admins and mods. And Brandon has been pretty busy lately.
In reality, the site could use a software upgrade, which would give us access to more plugins/options. This site is used by a ton of people, so I’m sure that any change to any part of the stack must be carefully planned (hardware update, server config, template style, etc).
It would be really nice to try and make CD a more well-rounded resource, instead of trying to spread the community thin. A lot of well-meaning sites have popped up, but in the end, most either die off or limp on. CD and TBA, meanwhile, are pretty much invincible. There’s got to be a way to get this going forward.
I’ve setup the same version of vB on my VPS. Maybe I can get Brandon to send me a copy of the template and whatever plugins are used so we can work from there and build it up. I’m willing to allow others to contribute, too. Upgrade it to 3.8.x then work on styles, building in tutorial systems, etc. I’m sure there may even be a way to have it use GitHub so anyone else with a vB installation can work on separate features.
I’d agree, it would be nice for something new! But unless this is a community project I see many issues. Before you sit down and start coding a huge site like this you have to consider multiple things, from how your going to build it, even down to a marketing strategy and finding money to fund the servers. I say this from my own experience.
Last year I built a webcast dashboard called [At The Control](http://atthecontrol.com). It originally was a small project that only allowed you to follow my team (537). This year we decided to launch it for every one to use… the hardest part going into competition season was getting traffic to the site. Getting views or people to my site isn’t the goal. The goal is to bridge or connect a gap that *FIRST* doesn’t already provide, which essentially was accomplished (in my case). But without these great resources I wouldn’t have the traffic I do today. That’s what makes these sites so “invincible” as synth3tk put it, they have been through the storms and similar sites have come and gone but these stood tall and proud. Even through these storms they still had a following. This past year At The Control was not only a project, but also it turned into my life! You can’t just make something because you have time. Passion and enthusiasm has to be there from the beginning, to sell you’re product or service. You have to show you’re users you really care about what your providing and if you don’t its not going to get a following. As much as I think it would be great for a new site… I personally think we have a few more years left with our current resources and it will take time for the “right” site to come along to bridge the transition into the future online presence of the *FIRST* community.
OK I have just made a website off of the ifixit software. I have not added any guides anyone can make an account and instantly start editing and making new guides. I have set up a basic organization file system but they still need to have summaries added to them but the beauty of it is that anyone can add these anyone can add tutorials. This resource can be amazing if people will contribute.
I have just made a new tutorial website the thing that is great about it is anyone can sign up for it and change anything. I have set up the basic frame work but theres still a ton to be done but in opening it up so everyone can help in the making.