Some of you likely recall the talk back in 2016 or so of updating the OWASP Foundation website to not appear so much like a…well, a wiki. That talk was carried forward into 2017 and 2018 and, with each year, the proposal got pushed ahead as there were other, deeper projects to tackle. With the arrival of 2019 and a firm project plan under the guidance of Mike McCamon, Executive Director, we are finally moving toward a functioning, modern website that will be a whole lot less…wiki-like. The journey has been circuitous and, while we are not anywhere near complete, we have a set plan in place to bring it to fruition within the calendar year (second quarter of the year, actually).
TLDR: How Can You Help?
There are certainly ways in which you can get involved now. For instance, we are looking for a clean way to get wiki pages into GitHub markdown format for archival. I have done some work here but there are parsing issues with some of the tools. Do you know a good tool or have you done similar work? Also, are you or do you know a good designer, someone familiar with GitHub pages that can provide some useful help and feedback along the way? A Jekyll expert to help code a theme with a handful of templates would be a great addition. In addition, we could use website server admins who could help with assigning redirects to maintain search integrity. Finally, there will be a great many pages to move that we will also eventually need community involvement in.
So, What Have We Done?
Thus far we have researched various ideas for standing up a new site, including modifying the current wiki, spinning up our own web server, contracting a third party to host and build a new site, and also using existing infrastructure with our own content to launch a new face for OWASP. Our discussions led us to a familiar place, one that nearly every developer in the OWASP space is familiar with: GitHub.
In our conversations with GitHub, it became readily apparent that using the platform would be a win for the Foundation as well as GitHub. Nearly everyone who runs a project at OWASP (documentation or otherwise) uses GitHub. Because our target audience is also mostly developers we know that they are also very comfortable with the platform. And while GitHub has a number of high profile companies using their GitHub Pages, the use of the platform as the basis for the entire website of the number one non-profit foundation in the application security sector is a big draw.
We have run with that GitHub Pages idea and have spent internal manpower on a proof of concept. This proof of concept is less about the UX of the site than the functionality, the ability to utilize the authentication systems, and the ability to utilize automation to push out changes quickly.
Where Are We Now?
We are doing the final stages of website architecture. We are also planning what needs to be in the site, how the pieces will integrate with current projects and chapters, and how we might utilize the community to integrate the pieces so that we have a visually and functionally cohesive website that spans across multiple repositories.
What Is Next?
We will soon be looking for a modern website design that is responsive and clean. We will begin using the knowledge gained from our proof of concept to build out the internals of the website and then we will start implementing the highest traffic pages and administrative areas into the new platform. Once we have the big-ticket items moved we will start looking at what is left and moving over those pieces. The eventual goal would be to have a new, modern website for the future of OWASP while keeping the wiki as an archive of really useful information.
We hope you are as excited as we are about the future of the OWASP Foundation website and will join us as we move toward a modern web presence. If you have any questions or would like to volunteer your time, experience or knowledge, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org