Over the last few months, I have been doing some serious thinking about the future of the New Testament Gateway. I have outlined what I see as shortcomings in the past, so I won't repeat them here. I am now ready to float a solution. This solution involves using Blogger as my CMS (Content Management System), which has several advantages over the static HTML pages that have made up the New Testament Gateway for the last (almost) decade. In particular, it allows me to add other contributors to the site who can straightforwardly edit and update pages. But it also makes it much easier for me to maintain the site, and adds additional functionality like RSS feeds throughout, commenting facility and so on.
In an earlier post, I said that I was looking to add some wiki functionality to the site. Several people balked at this because it might potentially take away from the strength and identity of the site. I have listened to those comments and think that my current solution enables me to have the best of both worlds, to remain as director of the site and yet to add several experts in particular places.
I spent a lot of time exploring different ways that I might rework the New Testament Gateway, and I am grateful for the help of a group of people that I consulted about it (Zeth Green, Jonathan Robie, Danny Zacharias, Brandon Wason and Rick Brannan; also, separately, Stephen Carlson). Although, in the end, the decision to experiment with blogger has been my own decision, discussing the site with others was very helpful in clarifying what it was that I wanted to do.
Although I am using Blogger as my CMS for the prototype, most users will not realize. The look will be familiar; I have adapted the template I use for this blog but have integrated some elements from the current New Testament Gateway. Those familiar with the New Testament Gateway should find it easy to navigate. So far, I am just testing the site with the Greek New Testament Gateway, and that is the only part of the old site that I have ported over to the new format:
Greek New Testament Gateway (test)
Therefore the new version is contained within the links at the top of each page; the links in the side bar still take one to the old versions of the site.
Some brief notes:
(1) I have not yet edited any of the content. As soon as I am happy with the prototype, I will begin editing content, and inviting others to help. At this stage, we are just looking at design and function.
(2) Ultimately, the main URLs of the site will remain in tact, so NTGateway.com will still take one to the main page of the site (which will be redesigned, but more on that anon), NTGateway.com/greek will take one to the Greek New Testament Gateway and so on. The third layer of links, e.g. NTGateway.com/greek/fonts.htm, will, however, change because of the way that I am using blogger.
(3) As part of the redesign, I will be retiring certain parts of the old site. This will include the Bookshelves, and one or two other parts of the site that have fallen into disrepair. I will keep the related site, All-in-One Biblical Resources search, on-line but will not be integrating links to it in the new version, since it's now long in the tooth and technology has overtaken what it was doing well back in 2000 or so.
(4) One useful thing to come out of the consultations was that it became clear that while I have a clear idea of what "The New Testament Gateway" proper is, I have not always communicated that very well. Let me clarify that I think of The New Testament Gateway as the annotated directory of internet resources that are listed on the main page at NTGateway.com. The All-in-One Biblical Resources Search was a sister site, and the NTGateway Weblog is a companion blog. There are other materials hosted at NTGateway.com that are just that, materials hosted in that domain, but not part of the gateway.
I would be very grateful for your feedback. If this test version works OK, I will begin to re-jig the entire site.