*UPDATED* New community portal site in the works
July 11, 2012
Strange, my new comment seems to have disappeared. Anyways. I've decided to go ahead with the project. I've reduced the amount of "features" and I am focusing solely on the user base, events, and a robot gallery.
There is a cool feature in the works that lets any registered user "import" (syndicate) an rss feed to their activity on my site, meaning you can import your LMR or any other RSS driven blog and not worry about creating new content on my site if you don't want to! HURRAY INTERCONNECTIVITY!
I will be releasing a demo site soon within the next week.
So after getting back into the robotics scene after many years, I'm slightly disappointed in the state of the online resources available--not that it's worse than before, it's much better in fact. However, I believe we could do better at bringing all the various roboticists, developers, distributors, retail stores, events, schools, and hacker communities together.
My idea is to develop a site which the primary function would be to accomplish this synergy of our hobby, offer more integrated support for newbies, as well as give accomplished creators easier access to the resources and online tools they need.
Here are some features and ideas I've thought up in the past few minutes while writing this post:
1. An aesthetically pleasing gallery system with full sized photos, video integration, etc. The best part is showing off our creations right? Why not do it in style.
2. Forum linking--not sure how to do this yet but someway to perhaps embed forum feeds from LMR, Trossen, SOR, etc into a page.
3. Store/Developer/Manufacturer resource page. This would be handled by the user themselves--i.e. a store owner or developer would sign up as a user under their respective title, giving them access to publish content specific to that type. More on that below.
4. Full blown user management system. Different tiers of users: hobbyists, developers, manufacturers, hackers, etc. Each user would have their own landing page, similar to LMR. You could integrate a link to your LMR profile page, list your Trossen/SOR/Other username/url for people to quick link over, facebook/aim/myspace/icq/personal site/skype username/youtube account, and so on. Each user would have specific access to publishing certain types of content (for store owners, teachers, etc), google map integration for your location (optionally hidden), personal photo gallery (separate from your bots'), and more.
5. Complete database of major and most active robotics sites, stores, individual user sites, groups, clubs.
6. Separate areas aimed for complete beginners with links to tutorials, forums, and so on.
7. Unique world map events page, where users can create/find events local to them and share. Would be constantly updated with the latest events, and clubs both online and off.
8. Future goals would be to partner up with various robotic stores and offer discounts for members to sign up with the portal site, having an area for sponsors, and (non intrusive) advertising for related products.
Essentially this web site would be user driven and would grow exponentially with enough help. It would be a one stop hub to all things robotics and similar, aimed at creating connectivity between people from around the world, and collimating massive amounts of data and web sites.
The goal is not to compete with any one site, but to increase awareness of robotics for beginners and experienced hobbyists alike. All of this in a very stylized, clean, minimalist approach that emphasizes visual representation of the content.
I am very serious about this and willing to invest a lot of energy and time into getting this project off the ground. Anyone that is interested, please let me know what you think, and if you want to help! I may even go for a Kickstarter page if there is enough support.