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Introduction and Background

So what is the AFS Directory?

The AFS Directory is an online phone and address book for AFS, similar to the existing International Directory which currently resides in Lotus Notes. The ideas being to one day replace the International Directory in Lotus Notes, by creating an equivalent tool which is more user-friendly and which can be accessed by staff and volunteers whether they use Lotus notes or not.

At its launch the site will have five key areas. These being:
  1. Persons
  2. Offices
  3. Board Members
  4. Groups
  5. Favourites

Why develop it now?

Currently AFS is going through a period of change, with some partners moving away from the existing Lotus Notes communication platform in favour of online Cloud Computing tools. These partners, along with AFS stakeholder all over the world could benefit from having access to information outside of Lotus Notes. There are many project and tools planned which will facititate the increased sharing of information, and these include:

  • The AFS World Cafe
  • AFSpedia
  • The new Participant Portal
  • Leader.afs.org
  • Social platforms such as Facebook and Twitter and image and video services such as Flickr and Youtube

Another more technical reason we have chose now to develop the AFS Directory is the emergence of HTML 5 as a new web standard. Put simply, HMTL or Hypertext Markup Language is the language which structures content on the internet. This fifth iteration of HTML brings with it many benefits for developers, however the key one for the AFS Directory is the ability to develop websites which can be viewed offline! This means that in the future developer will be able to program websites such as the AFS Directory that can be used anywhere at any time, even when you don't have access to the internet.

HTML 5 was only released recently and will take a while to become fully supported by software companies. However the IT Team is very much looking forward to the development opportunities it will present and the ways this can be applied to improving AFS's current and future IT tools.

If you would like to know more about HTML 5 take a look at this info-graphic http://www.focus.com/images/view/11905/
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