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Newsletter: August 2010 Twitter Facebook Print E-mail
Friday, 10 September 2010

LDSTech Website Redesign

For months we have been working on a redesign of the LDSTech Website. As part of this redesign, we have focused on three objectives.

  1. Helping those who wish to contribute to various technology projects learn what they must do to get involved.
  2. Helping those who want to get support in the callings with various techncial and clerical duties.
  3. Sharing more about how the Church uses technology to provide an insight to new products and services that are being worked on at the Church.

Since we first launched the LDSTech Web site, the site has grown with many new features and tools. Here are some of the additions to the site since the beginning.

In addition, we have added tools, source code, and projects to help volunteers get involved. Some of them include:

Within the next few weeks you will experience the new LDSTech redesign. When this change happens, you will notice the following:

  • You no longer have to remember both your LDS Account username/password and your forum username/password. The forums will use your LDS Account username/password. If you have a forum account and you have not done so, please visit the LDSTech Forum Account Migration page to migrate your forum username / password to your LDSAccount username/password.
  • You can sign in the home page of LDSTech and get instant access to the talent pool and your skills portfolio.
  • Once you sign in, your skills will be matched with the various community projects and you will be shown which projects you can join. Then you can easily click to join a project team.
  • The wiki has been redesigned to make it easier to navigate to the area that is most important to what you are looking for.

We look forward to your continued involvement with LDSTech. If you have comments or feedback, let us know by sending us an This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Contributing to a Project on LDSTech is 1,2,3 Easy

  1. Sign up for LDS Account. LDS Account is the main sign-on account for many online LDS Church resources, including the LDSTech Web site. If you do not have an LDS Account, you can obtain one by visiting
  2. Sign the Individual Contributor's License Agreement. Whenever a person wants to contribute to a project that is sponsored or managed by the Church, the Church must obtain a license agreement that defines the Church’s rights to the person’s contributions. This protects both the Church and the contributor. Because this license is non-exclusive, it doesn’t prevent the contributor from using his or her contribution for other purposes as well. Once this agreement is signed, you will be able to contribute code, documentation, and images, and participate in every way with the community projects sponsored by the Church.
  3. Pick a project to work on and contribute your talents. There are a variety of projects where you can volunteer your time and talents. You can also view a complete listing of projects on our wiki.

From the Archives

Who tested this thing?
by Lorin Romrell

“Who tested this thing?” is a question we hope the customer never needs to ask. Software should just work, without explanations and without workarounds. In the movie My Big Fat Greek Wedding, the bride’s father carried around a bottle of Windex, which he claimed was the cure for all kinds of physical ailments in addition to being a great cleanser. When presented with a problem, he would say: “Just spray some Windex on it!” There are some in our industry who share this notion when it comes to testing software. It’s all too easy to just focus on getting a project “completed” and then “spray on some quality” at the end. I’ve never seen a good outcome from this approach. The results are very painful for the customer and breach the very trust we are striving to build.

It’s been great to be a part of the evolution of Quality Assurance in ICS. In the past, our numbers were so small that we only “sprayed a little QA on” before projects went to the customer. We realized we needed to grow to be successful. This growth happened very rapidly and often miraculously, but the results have been excellent. We have been careful in how we scrutinized potential candidates for both the best skills and the best team fit.

Read full article

Community Spotlight

This month we spotlight Reubon Olsen. Reuben was the lead community developer for the Gospel Library and Mormon Channel projects for the WebOS (Palm Pre and Palm Pixi) environments. Reuben has dedicated countless hours in helping these products become the success they are.

LDSTech: What has been your technical experience?

Reuben: My first computer back in 1981 was a TI-99/4A with a cassette player/drive and a 9" color TV monitor. It was a speed-demon clocking in at a whopping 3.0MHz with 16KB RAM. I got started writing simple TI BASIC programs and my interest in computers continued from there. In the early 90's I began refurbishing/selling IBM computers and later opened a computer store in Southern Idaho selling custom-built computers. Around 1994 I began doing custom web development and moved to it full-time in 1997. Since 2003 I have been a partner in BestNotes, where we develop a custom web-based CRM/EHR (electronic health record) application designed for residential treatment programs and therapeutic boarding schools. My development environment has primarily been with PHP, MySQL and JavaScript.

LDSTech: What is your educational background?

Reuben: After my mission I began studying computer science in college. However, due to the rapidly changing tech environment it was difficult for the school to keep up with current technologies and I decided to do it on my own. With the exception of a few low-level college courses I am self-taught. Since I have always been self-employed, this hasn't been an issue although looking back I know I could have benefited from a more traditional education.

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

Reuben: This has been a great opportunity! When Palm introduced webOS back in June of 2009 there were almost no apps available, and much less anything gospel-related, so I started developing the Gospel Library on webOS for my own use long before being invited by LDSTech to help with the official project. I didn't have to think twice about donating the code base to the project since my real desire was to make it available to everyone anyway. Working with the Church and other talented volunteers to make it happen has been great.

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

Reuben: Application development is time consuming work and being able to dedicate enough of my personal time to a volunteer project is a challenge (but completely worth it). Also, this is really my first experience working with other developers on the same code at the same time. Getting used to the SVN system and sharing/merging code was a challenge (I've always worked either alone or in a very tight-knit team, so this was definitely a different experience). That said, it has been great working with so many talented volunteers who were able to take my code and add to it and make it better. There is no way I could have done it on my own.

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

Reuben: The LDSTech developer conference was great and I think events like that will continue to inspire community volunteers in the future. One thing that might be helpful would be to let volunteers know and understand the "big picture" with regards to how projects are approved within the Church and what is really required before an application or project can go live. At first it seemed that the entire process was moving too slowly but after understanding how many people are involved in getting a project completed I was able to change my expectations and work within those confines.

LDSTech: Who or what has been an inspiration to you in your work?

Reuben: My inspiration comes from those who benefit from my work. After posting early versions of the Gospel Library and Mormon Channel to various webOS forums, I received dozens of responses from people eager to have the Church resources on their mobile devices. I know how valuable it is for me personally to have these apps on my own phone. Multiply that by 10,000 and yes, I'm inspired to do more. Tom Welch and the rest of the team at LDSTech have been inspiring as well. Their patience, support and dedication to these projects have been great.



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