We installed the new mailing list manager software, Sympa, on the production hardware today. And, by "we," I mostly mean Ed, who's been doing all the installing/configuring/tweaking/troubleshooting/customizing/etc., and Sam, who's been taking care of the mail server and LDAP integration. I've mostly been cheerleading and offering the occasional assistance when needed as I have been working on another project and keep getting otherwise corralled to fix mundane operational issues. Now, we need to iron out the kinks, test, test, test; and then we can open that up for Limited Beta testing.
The MLM has a lot of features, which I won't get into here (if you are really interested, you can go crazy at their documentation); but one of the features I am really excited about is being able to automagically create mailing lists out of LDAP groups. Create an LDAP group, use that group to control access to web resources, use that same group to generate a mailing list, use that same group to create a group blog (yea, that's on the features-to-be list), etc.
What kind of groups? Departmental groups. Group by colleges. Group by majors. Student organization groups. Create a group for each course. Group by student level (undergrad, grad, post-grad). Group by student status (Freshman, Sophomore, Junior, Senior). Lots o' groups.
Speaking of "student organization groups," we had a meeting not too long ago with USG and the people doing their Suitcase project (sorry for no link to their project information page, couldn't find one). They're overhauling the data store for tracking student organizations and their memberships using MySQL with a PHP-written web front-end. We talked about creating an integration point such that, when
UPDATEs are commited into the MySQL tables, a similar write/update/remove happens to the LDAP server. That would be really nice. And, it's such a huge win for having these groups synchronized and made globally available for anyone to use.
Speaking of that... I should probably touch base with them. I'll wait until after the holidays and then shoot them an email.