Major changes, improvements to OCA web site operational

Major improvements to the Orthodox Church in America’s web site specifically its daily Scripture reading section were delivered by Ryan Platte, site technical manager, on January 20, 2012.

“The daily readings are now posted in perpetuity,” according to Virginia Nieuwsma, managing editor of the site.  “Previously, the readings database had to be updated manually several times a year, or even monthly which was quite time consuming.”

The new version calculates the readings for any year, using a unique system of code devised by Paul Kachur, an Orthodox Christian web developer who also works for Saint Vladimir’s Seminary, Crestwood, NY.

“Paul’s liturgical work can also be found on the web site of Holy Virgin Protection Cathedral, New York, NY,” Mrs. Nieuwsma continued.  “The code enables visitors to find any set of Scripture readings for any day and any year in the Search by Date feature.

“The readings now appear as a list; visitors can ‘pull forward’ individual passages by clicking on the Scripture reference, while still being able to view the full list of Scriptures for a given day,” she added.  “The Search by Reference feature will be added in the coming weeks, as will other features, including a print-ready version of the readings.”

Both the readings and the highly trafficked Feasts and Saints sections are now stabilized.  Mr. Kachur’s code will be used to rebuild the latter section of the site.

“The old code had the unpleasant habit of ‘breaking the relationship’ with the server,” Mrs. Nieuwsma said.  “That is, the sections would go down and the site would kick out error messages, which had become quite frustrating for users.”

Additional improvements are “in the works” for the web site, which marks its 16th anniversary in 2012.