About the Polo Farms Community Website
Background (or, "More Than You Ever Wanted to Know")
Well...I got the idea that a Polo Farms website would be
a convenient way to communicate neighborhood information while helping
to promote a sense of community. Last December at the neighborhood
holiday party, I made the mistake...err...I took the liberty of mentioning the idea to Homeowners
Association (HOA) President Larry Dippel.
Being a progressive, forward thinking leader (okay, actually he just
wanted to cut out some of the phone calls from realtors), Larry
exhibited interest and I began researching options.
Alternatives (Cups & a string, bongo drums, smoke signals...yelling?)
Among the options examined were "pre-built" sites that cost from $30 to
$50 per month to maintain, and depending on the "frills", as much as
$500.00 for a setup fee. The pre-built sites reminded me of "one size
fits all" clothes - functional, but no "pizzazz!". Another option was to
use one of the "web building tools" that some web hosting services offer
to construct a site - you may have noticed some of their ads on TV.
Those development tools look nice on the surface, but generally they
aren't flexible enough to offer the quality and detail that I thought
Polo Farms deserved.
After presenting the options at an HOA Board
meeting, they quickly opted for the "Cost effective,
Helpful, Easy, Attractive,
and Pleasing solution and let me build it. I researched
web-hosting providers and settled on
www.ixwebhosting.com as they
offer reasonable rates and boast 98% availability, which is more than
adequate for our needs.
Site Development (a.k.a. "How I Spent My Summer Vacation")
I've been employed in the Information Technology sector for 24 years
(for commemoration, nature has awarded me exactly one hair for each
year) and have done a lot of development work, none of it web-based, but
how hard could it be? Right. It's not that it's particularly technically
difficult, but more challenging in the area of visual design (graphics,
layout, content, etc). If you've done much web surfing I'm sure you've
seen sites that either have too much "stuff" going on or just have a
large block of text or other unappealing aesthetics. There is a fine
line between too much and not enough as it relates to visual design, and
I hope I've at least come close to the mark with our site.
The site was developed using
Microsoft FrontPage 2003, which I found to be a nice combination of
an IDE (Integrated Development Environment) and "do it yourself",
facilitating development speed and flexibility. As with most things,
there was a slight learning curve, but it wasn't too bad. I started
development in late March & we released the site around the end of May.
We have a few more options and ideas to put together (the links in black
on the left that don't work yet). I enjoyed being able to contribute to
our community and hope that you find the site useful, informative and fun! If
you have ideas that are of general interest/help to Polo Farms, please
let me know!