Okay, summer is here (almost; I have one exam left on Wednesday but will probably skip that and aim for the re-exam in August), which means that I finally have time to work more intensely on the website.
I have talked a bit about installing a content management system on the website, to enable for certain members/moderators to help manage the content, and perhaps to make it possible for other users to personalize certain areas of the website - I thought it would be great if you could get only the broadcast schedules that apply to your area for example, and it would be even greater if the NTFA Store customers could log in to manage address information and see what they have ordered, and so on.
But I realized that since people will probably want to use the same password to access the NTFA Forums and the rest of the website, I need to integrate the two. That can be a quite tough job. And since I've also talked about changing the message board from IkonBoard to another type (Ikonboard is outdated, too restrictive in its choices, and is programmed in a language I don't know), I came to the conclusion that I have to do the message board switch first, otherwise there's a huge risk I would have to handle the integration problem twice.
So in other words, I have decided to start working on the switch from IkonBoard now. I have selected Invision PowerBoard (a commercial product) as the replacement, since it has many similarities to IkonBoard (seems it was actually created by former IkonBoard programmers), and I have had ample opportunity to see it in action and was quite impressed. Plus that I have got the impression that quite a few webmasters have successfully integrated IPB with their website. And the Invision Power Services is actually working on a content management system which we might even use if it's released in a not so far future (unlikely, unfortunately) and if it's not too expensive.
There are too many improvements in IPB over IB to mention them all, but the one I like the most is the ability to have subforums within forums. Moderator facilities appear to be more plentiful (perhaps now the mods will be able to split threads. I haven't actually checked yet), and there's a member function to ignore other members that I suspect that at least one person here will appreciate (no names ). Those with large Personal Messenger boxes will also be happy to know that the message lists are split up over multiple pages, so you don't have to wait for a list with 60-70 entries to load.
You can have multiple polls in one thread (it's configurable how many), and it is even possible to add a poll after the topic was created (at least admin and super mod, configurable which other member groups - I'll probably enable moderators only to do so).
Well, those are some of the improvements that I took note of. We will see exactly what the message board has to offer once I have installed it and adapted the skin(s) to our purposes.
Be warned that it may take a few weeks before you will see the new forum in action. I will probably need to make some adjustments, and I want to learn all/most the aspects of it before I transfer the current forum to IPB.