Matchstick Media Production

Online Portfolio for the Web Sites Built and Managed by Matt Slaybaugh

Queue.acm.org

queue.acm.org

queue.acm.org

Overview

Queue is a magazine underwritten by ACM, the Association for Computing Machinery, which is the trade association for computer scientists. (similar to how the IEEE is the trade association for electrical engineers). As of March 2009, Queue is an online-only publication that posts 3 to 6 columns, interviews, and articles each month.

Originally a PHP/MySQL site, in 2008 we switched to ColdFusion/Oracle in order to more easily integrate with other sites run by the parent organization.

Technology

I originally built the site in 2003 based on PHP-Nuke, which was the hot CMS at that time. There were many features we wanted that the CMS didn’t have and over the years the site evolved into an essentially homegrown solution with a lot of shell scripting for automated tasks such as sending out the newsletter and generating the RSS feeds.

In 2008 the design was showing its age and we outsourced the design. The most important decision we made regarding that was to eliminate the reliance on advertising. The site had gotten to the point of having up to 30 ads per page, which severely restricted any other design decisions. The site now has only a handful of barter arrangements, always the same size, always at the bottom of the left column. This allows for a much cleaner layout with margins that can “breathe”.

We spent time planning to recode the site using Plone, but eventually abandoned that in favor of ColdFusion, which allowed us to use code already developed for other ACM sites.

The site requires minimal technical maintenance now and perhaps the most important work I do for this site is the creation of weekly, monthly, and annual traffic analysis reports. We are always evaluating the content on the site, seeing what ‘resonates’ with our core readership, and the analysis has proved very useful for that.