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From the Developer's Desk


And Sat Sri Akal, as we say in my mother-tongue, Punjabi !

Let me start by introducing myself. I'm Arvinder Singh Kang, and I'm the developer, administrator and designer-in-training at the S. Gale Denley Student Media Center. I'm also the guy behind the good and bad implementations of TheDMonline.com. You have loved its content and hated its layouts. However, we are glad you have stayed with us and with this news portal, which is updated everyday by some amazing and hard working students.

The online project for The Daily Mississippian's web presence started with a College Publisher-hosted website, whose growth was limited compared to the vision of growth of our former students and journalism mentors. About a year ago, we moved from College Publisher to a self-hosted blog, with the mission of gradually growing into to a full-fledged, in-house content management system. The portal was not to fall short of showcasing our students' projects in the best possible way.

However, with just one developer-and-administrator in house, the changes have come slowly. The classic dilemma of "just-one-more-important-thing" to do has dragged pace when it came to updating the website.

With journalism school Dean Will Norton's vision of providing excellent facilities to our students in both print and online media, and with the encouragement of my director Pat Thompson, the focus of the last few weeks has been on working on TheDMonline.com. As a result, we present this new portal to you - just in time for the graduation of the class of 2010. From now, thedmonline.com will allow students to showcase blogs, slideshows, events, print edition in flash interface and many forms of multimedia. The website also uses Reuters Calais, Google and Yahoo API services to mine semantic information in the stories and present to you links of data from the social web.

This new update to TheDMonline.com is  our gift to the graduating  journalism students, many of whom I saw working late nights to put together the newspaper, NewsWatch, Rebel Radio, TheOle Miss yearbook and the website.

I'm glad to share with you the first stable beta version of this website. As with all the other websites, this one too will go through changes and we will try to adapt it your needs. However, with limited manpower in-house, the process will be slow. In the coming months, we will try to add features and make it compatible with your smart-phones, among other things.

The project is by no means one man's task and it is built using many open source components - Drupal, Ruby, Capistrano, Linux, Apache... to mention a few. Think about sanitizing 3,000 stories per year of data without help from irc!

I hope you will like the new look of TheDMonline.com and the constant effort our students put into bringing you the most updated information about Oxford and Ole Miss. And I hope for the ones "who graduated from the school, but never graduated from Ole Miss", TheDMonline.com will keep serving as the window to their world of memories at Ole Miss.