My question is: Is Newsletter really the last missing tool?Newsletter fills the last missing tool needed to retire the classic local unit website, which will be soon discontinued.
There's one more minor tool that's missing: the links to Web Resources. However, if the new Newsletter tool allows links to be put in a post (and there was a reference in the linked article that said you could "insert links"), then this could easily be handled in one or more posts with links.
But the biggest missing piece is the ward and stake websites themselves. In the Classic site, these served three useful purposes:
- They were the glue that held together all these tools.
- They linked wards to the stake and the stake to the wards.
- They provided a presence on the web for the ward and stake, where meeting times, address, and a message
The second point is half satisfied by the Maps application (both the current and the Beta Maps) -- when you are looking at a ward's popup, you can go to the Assigned tab and see the stake the ward belongs to, and you can follow the stake's link to see the stake's popup. But there is no way to go the other direction -- you can't see the wards and branches assigned to the stake. That's a loss from the classic site -- not a deal breaker, but a loss nonetheless.
The third point is partially satisfied by the Maps application. You can see a ward's address and meeting times and phone number. But wards and stakes do lose the ability to have a public message. Some wards put a message there intended for their own ward; the Newsletter application will satisfy that need just fine. But other wards put a message there that welcomed visitors (either members from out of town, or nonmembers); that function will be lost.
Finally, I would note that the Maps application (both current and beta) provides a "Website" link on the popup for wards/branches and stakes. If the classic sites are retired, those links will break; I guess the only thing to do would be to remove those links entirely, since there will be no reasonable place to go from that link.
As I started writing this post, I was thinking that the missing pieces were a big deal. But now I think that with the release of the Newsletter feature, we'll be close enough. I'm sure all the pieces will be enhanced over time, but removing the confusion caused by the continued existence of the Classic site will make up for the relatively minor remaining features we'll lose.