Thursday, 4 August 2011

The Journey Continues – Developing a Work Process

We needed to re-structure our website and make some drastic changes. Taking on the challenge, Joe, our webmaster and apprentice, worked with the rest of the team and learnt a lot on the way.... 

After spending the last two weeks working on transforming our website’s overall look as well as improving the descriptions of the products and services that we deliver, I have learnt rather a lot in a short amount of time about working with CSS and ASP. For example, making classes in the CSS to change the way images are being shown and where they are positioned as well as how text is being displayed. 

I have been working alongside Todd, our software engineer and Catherine, who’s responsible for marketing, to bring the new look of the website and the new content together. My knowledge for Dreamweaver has increased vastly in this short period of time as I have had to do things that I had never done before, from things that I have learnt from starting to learn programming I have been able to complete a lot of the processes that I have needed to do a lot quicker. I am now able to look at a web page in code form and know exactly what lines of code are doing certain things. I now understand how our database is connected to the website and how it deals with queries and what it is doing to return the correct results.

I spent the first 3 days constantly asking questions “How do I do this?” “How do I do that?” I’m not sure how I didn’t drive anyone crazy! After listening carefully and a bit of trial and error I picked up on where I was making my mistakes such as in CSS forgetting to put a semi colon at the end of a line and then wondering why the new class I had created was doing absolutely nothing! These small mistakes have helped me a great deal and have made me create a mental process to go through every time I need to make a new class.

There are valuable lessons like this which have made working on the website a massive part of my journey to learning how to program. I have been shown that there is a logical answer to everything, and that if I spend a bit of time and put in the effort the answer is not always as far away as I once thought.

Friday 22nd July was an interesting day. This was the day the website went live with all the new changes that had been made. Meetings were had to discuss what was left to be done and who was going to do it. I am lucky enough to have the role of implementing all of the work everyone else is doing such as writing the content. This means that I don’t have to sit there copy writing, which I don’t particularly like doing.

Some problems that we came across were simply due to different browsers not liking our changes which of course is always a pain when you have made a change that works perfectly in one browser then you test it in another and it comes out completely different. Todd had this with one of the changes he was making that even in the same browser but on a different machine he had different results! A nightmare to figure out but as always, he found the solution.
When the pressure to get something done is there the day always seems to fly and Friday was no exception to this. Before I knew it, the end of the day was closing in and everyone was concentrating hard trying to get their last bits of work done ready for the website to go live.

I had spent the last two weeks learning ASP and CSS almost non-stop while developing the website into its new state. The difference in my knowledge of ASP and CSS from the start of the two weeks to the end of it is unreal. One of the main things I have learnt from these couple of weeks has been not to ask every time that I come across something I don’t know, spend some time and work it out for myself because I actually know more than I sometimes think (not always though!)The answers can be found rather quickly if I think about what I am trying to find out. I have surprised myself with the amount that I have been able to get done in this short amount of time as some of the changes that have been made to the website are huge. 

I believe that this has been a great achievement for us and I know for a fact it wouldn’t have been achieved if the team didn’t work so well together and each and every one of us was dedicated to getting the job done. A big thanks from me to the team!

Our website changes are all live and you can find out more about our products and services here: 

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