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Newsletter: May 2010 Twitter Facebook
Tuesday, 08 June 2010

Family Safety with Technology Wiki and Forum

The LDSTech Wiki is divided into three sub wikis, the Project Wiki, the Clerk Wiki, and the Family Safety with Technology Wiki. There is also a sub forum of the LDSTech Forum called Family Safety with Technology.

These tools are designed as a place for community members to discuss issues and ideas with one another. Please join us today.


LDSTech Forum Will be Converting to LDS Account for Authentication

LDS Account is a single user name and password for any person who interacts with online LDS Church resources. LDS Account will become the primary account authentication credentials for most Church sites and applications.

The LDSTech Forum has used its own sign-in system since it started in January 2007. The LDSTech forums will be switching to LDS Account in the near future. To help prepare for this migration, we need you to visit the LDSTech Forum Account Migration page to move your forum account to LDS Account.

Once the migration has taken place your LDS Account user name will become your forum user name and all of your forum posts will be attributed to you. You can change your user name by logging into LDS Account. If you plan to change your LDS Account user name, please do so before making the migration.

Learn more about the conversion.


The Book of Mormon and Holy Bible Now Available in ePub Format

The Book of Mormon and the Holy Bible are now available in the ePub format. This format will work with many of the popular e-reader devices on the market, including the Apple iPad, Sony Reader, and Barnes & Noble Nook. Visit the Gospel Library for ePub LDSTech Wiki page to download the files and for instructions on how to use the ePub format your iPad device.


From the Archives

Front-End Development: The Emerging Role
by Josh Cummings

Over the years, front-end developers have been called several things to reflect the value that various organizations assigned it, but the most memorable for me is "HTML Monkey." The name reflects the "conventional wisdom" that many organizations have gradually come to accept: that the front-end developer is largely an entry-level position and a career-minded engineer will eventually evolve into either a real designer or a real engineer. This view has led to a production gap that neither real designers nor real engineers want to fill.

For several reasons, though, this cannot continue to be the case for organizations and career-minded engineers who want to compete in the world of the future. Whether through skill set transition or acquisition, the market is demanding the emergence of front-end developers.

Read full article.


Community Spotlight

This month we'd like to spotlight Jesse Stay, a new Church employee. Prior to coming to work for the Church Jesse also volunteered his time and talents to some of our community projects.

LDSTech: What is your experience in programming/technical experience?

Jesse: I have been programming since I was 10, starting in BASIC, moving to the traditional PASCAL, and then, after my mission I learned Perl (with some C, Java, and PHP experience) and followed the dot-com boom (or the end of it) from that point forward. I have worked for companies large and small (my claim to fame in those days was probably the creation and idea of the little quantity sliders you see on

Since then I got really interested in the advent of social networks and social media. A big fan of TechTV, Leo Laporte's TWiT, and other tech shows and personalities, I took a quick interest in sites like Digg, MySpace, Pownce, and soon Twitter and Facebook. I had an open source project I was working on at the time that I called Jeans (which never really made it out the door), written in Perl and Mod_Perl before we had any decent MVC frameworks to help with the process. The idea was to create an open source, family-based social network of sorts that would enable families to communicate better.

In 2007 Facebook released their developer platform, and it was at that time I realized I no longer needed to reinvent the wheel when it came to social networking. I could now build features I wanted, and ignore the social networking components because I had sites like Facebook to handle that for me. It was at that point I started building social networking apps, and then soon lucked into writing a few books, ended up building a pretty successful blog, and now I'd say I'm pretty good with social networking technologies as my main focus technology wise.

LDSTech: What is your role at the Church?

Jesse: I am the Church's Social Media Architect. I am in charge of social networking strategy surrounding the technologies of the Church. My goal is to help build standards and guidelines, as well as all-encompassing technologies that make social networking technologies and philosophies really simple to integrate into the Church's products and standards.

LDSTech: Why is Social Media Important to the Church?

Jesse: I view successful social networks as tools that help launch, build, and strengthen real life relationships. The entire premise of the Church is centered on relationships, our relationship with each other, and our relationship with God. There are too many forces out there trying to simulate these relationships, and I admit, there are even social networks out there, or people using Social Networks out there, that are encouraging simulated relationships using these tools.

The Church, according to Elder Bednar, has a solemn desire to bring "all things gathered together in one, in Christ." Social networking and social media have the potential to help build the real-life relationships we need to do this. With social networks, there are no boundaries, both physical and political. With social networks, we can shout from the virtual rooftops and be heard.

My hope is that the Church can empower members to be able to do this using technology. I hope we can rely on the Community of volunteers to help us in this effort through projects such as the YSA project, and as we find ways to integrate these tools into other community projects throughout the Church.

LDSTech: How did you feel about volunteering on a Church development project?

Jesse: Before LDSTech was around, I helped start a group called LDSOSS. At the time we wanted a place, as developers, techies, and geeks, to come together and be able to donate our time and talents to the "building of the kingdom." Several hundred people took interest in this. This was before there was any Church effort to promote such volunteer efforts.

As Mormons, I think we naturally want to help. The spirit of Zion is among us in the latter days, and now, more than ever, it's important we as members find ways to volunteer by contributing. There are many opportunities to serve, but also learn as we donate our talents to this work. I think more than anything it's a great opportunity to "sharpen the saw", and pick up a little extra knowledge in areas you may not be quite as familiar with. There are some great opportunities here.

LDSTech: What was the most challenging aspect of doing volunteer development work for the Church?

Jesse: The toughest part of volunteer effort is certainly time management. I have a full-time job, I run a business on the side. I blog fairly regularly. I'm writing my third book. At the same time I have a family of six that I have to support.

I think there is a time and season for everything, and if we take things line upon line, precept upon precept in this effort, we can all find ways to contribute. Even if it's an hour or two here or there, or just learning a little bit about the projects so when you do have time you can contribute, those are all worthy efforts. I like the words of King Benjamin, "I give not because I have not, but if I had I would give." (Mosiah 4:24). I think that's particularly applicable in terms of time, and I try to apply that as much as I can.

LDSTech: What is the most surprising thing you've discovered about doing volunteer development work for the Church?

Jesse: The number of volunteers! I have been blown away at the number of people interested in helping out the Church, donating their precious time and talents towards the building of the kingdom. I think that's impressive.

What could the Church do to help the community members contribute more easily to Church projects?

Well, I now work for the Church so this is a tough one, but I really hope the Church can provide more levels of expertise for the community so those with all skill sets can contribute. I hope we can communicate our needs effectively and get the word out to as many people as possible to expand this amazing force of developers we've started to build. I sincerely hope we don't ever waste anyone's precious time away from their daily activities, work, and families as we approach this effort.

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