Website competition

Have all you students thought about which website you’ll vote for as the best one?
Finally, FIRST has agreed to a website award.

At the risk of sounding like I’m kissing up, which I’m not, I don’t see how any site other than THIS site, could possibly deserve the very first website award.

Which team website do you plan to vote for?

i havent had much time to dig into the details of the award, but does it have to be student made? or just students helping out? because if it had to be student made/ run that would take out many websites including ours and this wonderful place :frowning:

*Originally posted by skrussel *
**Have all you students thought about which website you’ll vote for as the best one?
Finally, FIRST has agreed to a website award.

At the risk of sounding like I’m kissing up, which I’m not, I don’t see how any site other than THIS site, could possibly deserve the very first website award.

Which team website do you plan to vote for?
:yikes: **

I think it will go to Chiefdelphi because this site has so much influence to what happens in FIRST. Nothing fancy. No flash or animated gifs. But what happens here is special.
Ironically Chiefdelphi will win becuase of the involvement of so many people from other teams and their loyal involment here.
How much more like FIRST can you get?

*Originally posted by skrussel *
**Have all you students thought about which website you’ll vote for as the best one?
Finally, FIRST has agreed to a website award.

At the risk of sounding like I’m kissing up, which I’m not, I don’t see how any site other than THIS site, could possibly deserve the very first website award.

Which team website do you plan to vote for?
:yikes: **
I too think that Chief Delphi’s website will be a major contender for the website award; however, the award is given at the regional level, meaning the number of winners can equal the number of regionals we have this year. Chief Delphi may win for the regionals they attend, they should win for the regionals they attend, but it will not prevent other teams from winning.

Chiefdelphi is definitly in the forerunning for this one… I mean, for the first 4 months that i posted here, i didn’t even realize that it is a single teams creation … or site… or affiliate… or wtvr:D ya get the point

If anyone BUT chiefdelphi got this award it would be an outrage. I’ve visited every FIRST related website I can find and no team’s website can hold a candle to the magic the CD guys pull off. Heck, CD’s website is in alot of ways better than because navigation on CD is perfect).

The rules for the award state that it does indeed have to be student built, run, and maintained.

I don’t want to put anyone on the spot here but…

Is this site ENTIRELY student built, run, and maintained? Just curious, the look of the site and the amount of code contributed to it seems rather professional, not student built. If it is student built, well… wow :ahh:

Just curious.

Is Brandon a 22 year old student?

Can someone point out where it says it needs to be made by a student?

*Originally posted by Ephi *
**The rules for the award state that it does indeed have to be student built, run, and maintained. **
The rules for the website award does not state this in any way, shape, or form. If it does, then there has been a major over site on my part. The only mention of “student” I see, in something even resembling this context, is: “The student ‘judges’ should have played some role in the development of their team’s website, and are responsible for reviewing all of the submitted team websites for each of the regional events in which his/her team is competing.”

[EDIT] After posting this I was pointed to the first paragraph of the website award description. It reads: “The Website Design Award recognizes excellence in student-designed, built, and managed FIRST team websites. Eligible websites are judged/scored PRIOR to the competition by “student judges”. Student judges from each FIRST team determine the winner via ballot submitted on site at the regional competition from each FIRST team.” One has to just love the vagueness of this description, however… oh well, RAGE’s website is definitely student built, so I am not too worried. [/EDIT]

I think regardless of who made this site or not, they chief delphi definitley deserves an award. whether or not they should win the contest, that’s up to judges and us, but the website itself is extremely complex (in a good way) and well built. i’ve been making websites for 4 years, and have made 3 big sites, so i know that something as big and cool as chief delphi’s site is extremely hard to build.

POINT: Chief Delhpi’s site rocks

well not quite, Chiefdelphi’s main base is the vBulletin, a software built over php which is bascially designed for forum use. Which is the main purpose of until this year chiefdelphi was mainly used as forums. Though in the past two years due to the demand Brandon has added new features. Certainly chiefdelphi is on the top though as on a regional level, FIRST woule look more then just forums on a team site. Stuff like history, past robots, team stats are good. Also i think the award is only given at certain regionals.

We’ve run across a big question mark in this whole “student designed” issue. What if you use a program that helps you build websites? We all know angelfire can put you online in about 5 minutes with crappy gifs and some text, but if that’s the extent of your skill, should you be penalized for your dependence on the software, or awarded for your involvement in the website competition. We assumed that using certain software that actually complies your page using templates would be cheating, ie phpBB and vBulletin. However, we only use the software for our forums pages, and those forums are for use by team members only, so we assumed that if we only linked to the forums, that it would be okay to include it in our submission. However, there will be sites that are made from modified tutorials and pieces of other sites, as well as sites that are built from the ground up from templates that Adobe supplies with it’s software. I think even FrontPage uses templates. So the question remains: SOFTWARE? How much can we use without breaking rules? Gracious professionalism will find the internet a cold and heartless place, I know I do. There’s no solid way to enforce a web rules doctrine, because for every person that makes a fool proof system, there are 5 people with a loophole. Perhaps the solution is this: The judges should be picked for a keen eye in honest, intuitive, and only student ORIGINAL pages. No one should be considered for the award if their page has been bought or built by checking boxes on a Wizard. This is our personal feeling, and anyone who has tried to actually conquer javascript or make a flash animation from scratch will agree.

I have to agree with what MattyCincinnati said. FIRST really needs to specify what is allowed and what isn’t allowed, in regards to the website competition. I encourage some of you to post a few specific questions on the Jive forums, to clear up some of the ambiguity.

Thanks for all the positive comments about I’m pretty sure Chief Delphi will not be competing in the website competition as I do most of the website development and am not a student on the team, nor have I ever technically been a student on the team. We’re very happy you think highly of the site, and are glad you continue to visit it daily (some of you hourly).

activemx is correct. vBulletin is used as a base for most things on this website. Its nice to have all of the session handling, template system, and user functionality already built, so we can focus on the unique functionality in new projects. The image gallery and white papers section actually were perl scripts written before we used vBulletin, which were then ported over to PHP to use with vBulletin. The Ventures system was written specifically to work with vBulletin, as was the ‘Extra Discussion’ area.

So, I’d go look around for other student-built websites to nominate for the website award. Two of my personal favorites would have to be and

Jack, from Team 201, has done some modifications to phpBB to create a Fantasy FIRST league. I believe focus has been shifted towards scouting now, with areas for each team to list their abilities and others to comment on them.

Joel J, from Team 173, has done a great job with this years website for their team. I personally like the image gallery, which is similar to ours, but has a great deal of little extras that make it enjoyable to view. (ie: the ‘All’ link, slide shows, etc) The overall design of their website looks very neat and professional.

If I had to vote, those two would be very high on my list. I can’t remember offhand the team number or URL, but there was a canadian team’s website that I liked too. And, I obviously cannot visit every FIRST website, or remember every FIRST website, so this is just my little opinion, based on very little team site browsing.

Anyway – my point is … If you are seriously going to be competing in the website competition I would read over the vauge rules and try to get some clarifications on what can and cannot be done by students and non-students, what is required on the website, how it is maintained, what is not allowed, etc.


Wow. I think this may be my longest post … ever.

I hate to point this out, (especially here) but I really don’t think the team with the most features, or the best forums, or the coolest flash animations should always win this award. I think this award was designed for more than just that, and I think the one’s that win this award should be the teams that use thier site, have a simple layout and design, and information about thier team and FIRST easily accessible(like on the main page).

I think this is somewhat like the animation award – it should be an advertisement for FIRST and for thier team. Many of the sites have no information about FIRST or their team and yes, sure they’re cool looking, but someone trying to find information will just leave because it’s to hard to navigate

If you look around at the sites, there are quite a few that are just a forum and login screen (well, plus a little bit more:rolleyes: ). Of what use is that to another team, a possible sponsor, or anyone else seeking information – very little. On the other hand, there are those other sites out there that have an information page, but the team never ues thier site site, that’s just as bad. I think the sites should be somewhere in between, not just both halves of the site slapped together either, a site has to contain both, and integrate the two.

The other big thing is effort, I don’t think a site that was rather obviously slapped together with forntpage and a forum system should really get is award. Some sites it’s very obvious that team members have put many long nights of proggramming into their site, and why should they be beat by a team that spent 20 minutes on it as a afterthought. (unless that twenty minutes made a very good site)

I believe the ones that should win this award are the teams that have put effort in to thier site, advertise for FIRST and thier team, have a rather simple layout for those seeking knowledge, and are actually used by the teams.

PS: The whole student design thing should be an issue, but that shouldn’t detract from a perfectly good site, just so long as students did spend a good deal of time working on it.

Anyway, i’m done spouting.

(and please note, our team website isn’t really a good example of what i think will win this award, but i’m working on that:) )

On behave of the ChiefDelphi team, I just want to thank everyone for the nice words about our site. Which wouldn’t be nearly as nice without the hardwork and dedication of Brandon. Our team is so very blessed to have him be part of, what we consider “our contribution to the FIRST community”.
This site takes alot of dedicated people to help moderate all the forums. We would like to thank them for their assistance. We realized a long time ago, that the FIRST community needed “a place to go”, where opinions and ideas could be shared. Where the students, teachers and engineers could “hang out” and have fun, debate topics, vote on ideas, etc. It’s been our pleasure to do this for ALL of you, and us too!
It’s my understanding that our website doesn’t meet the criteria (as I understand them) so, we won’t be submitting it for consideration of “student built and run” website award. And that’s okay with us, because the VERY BEST REWARD we could receive is just watching the counter that registers the number of users, the number of posts and threads, and the number of hits. It’s really amazing to think we actually have exceeded 100,000 hits a day. And knowing that what we had HOPED FOR - has exceeded even our wildest expectations! Thanks, for posting - keep it up!

The problem with websites is that they are too general.

You can just do too darn much with a website. Unless someone wants to lay down the law and say “We are looking for websites that effectively explain FIRST and blah blah blah” it is almost impossible (IMO) to have unbiased reviews. The website award could really be a Photoshop award, or a Most-Active-Forum award, or a “Look-Ma!-I-Got-Billions-of-Features” award.

I don’t mean this as to point at any person in particular (just to fend off flames or annoyance from the masses. :wink: )

So that brings us back to the original question… what does FIRST want us to do? IMO the current system sounds very arbitrary. A bunch of student “webmasters” (what defines a webmaster?) goes around and assigns sites some grade. Whoopee. IMHO, that is just silly. Who decides what is worth how much, how can we assign equal, impartial scores across the board?

So I guess my main concern is what exactly is this award supposed to be? I know the animation award is to create an effective advert for FIRST, but what are the websites? There are far too many unknowns to objectively and fairly evaluate student’s work, and too much room for deviance under current guidelines to say what a team’s “work” is (for instance, does the ChiefDelphi forum really count as the teams? Remember, they aren’t the only ones posting).

Lalalala. /me ends semi-long ramble.

I already shared my thoughts on what the website award is, but i am not Dean Kamen, and really can’t be certain.

I still think the website award is like the animation one, it should be an advertisement for FIRST, however FIRST is not grading these – we are. Each student voter can decide what they think is good in a site, and what they think makes a bad site.

I would definitely have to agree with most of the things everyone has said so far. A team website should be completely student produced… and why shouldn’t I think that because I do the majority of the updating of our site and some design as well. A site should be an “Advertisment”, if you will, for FIRST and your team, as well as spread and emphasize the message of FIRST, but I believe it should also be visually pleasing. Right now, we have two awesome team members working daily on adding some creative flash aspects to our site and working with it’s design. The effort they have put in is amazing and if a site is to win the award for best website, there must be a lot of student effort presented.T hough the new additions won’t be up for probably a week or so, you can check out our current site at:
I know that when one of the three of us judges the websites of the teams going to the three regionals our team is attending (Chesapeake, Philadelphia, and J & J), we are going to be looking for a site that is creative, organized, does an amazing job of spreading the message and explaining their team, visually pleasing, and has that extra something that makes us say “wow”. I can’t wait to begin looking at all the great sites!
Good luck everyone!:slight_smile:

Jess Jankowitsch
Cybersonics Technology Team 103

GO TO PG. 25
It explains everything.

It explains everything and nothing. Its fairly vague…