Do You See What I See?

Steve Jones, 2007-08-21

Working with developers is always very interesting, especially when you are a client. I’m sure that I’m not the best client, being a technical person myself, and arguing about architecture at times. However it’s a good experience to see exactly where I went wrong with the design and specification of the new site.

We’re getting close. There are relatively few things that are real problems, probably less than a dozen and of those, only a few are real show stoppers. There are a few that are really annoying and then a few more things that are just arguements ensuing about changes made to the site. There’s also a learning curve for me to figure out how to work with the site.

The showstoppers are pretty minor in the grand scheme of things, and I’m sure they’ll be fixed shortly. However the annoying bugs are things we’re arguing about because they developers don’t really have a feel for why they’re a problem for me. As someone that’s built software, I can understand that asking someone to cut and paste stuff into a code window isn’t that difficult. However the ergonomics of doing it when you have to work under pressure at times make it a little more difficult than you might guess. Especially when you’ve got a lot of HTML code and you’re trying to find a specific place to paste something in.

There’s also a problem with the way we load articles. Right now I build an HTML document, upload it to the site, and then run a utility that Andy wrote to parse out the file, insert it into the database along with some meta data I enter into the utility form. It’s worked well, though it’s been failing lately, somehting that hasn’t thrilled me because I then need a query editor to get it fixed. However it’s a comfortable process and one I’ve been using for 6 years. The new system has an HTML control that I can paste in HTML content and a rich text tab, but it’s flaky. It’s a basic control, that doesn’t have some features like justification, font changes, etc. I can paste in HTLM, but it loses the image stuff. If I upload the images, I don’t know where they are on the server, and don’t care, but I have to then get them into the control and right now they’re all inserting into the top of the article. Which means that I have to figure out a way to move the images around. And I don’t have an easy way as of yet.

I also don’t have a lot of tolerance for a process that is creating work for me.

But it is good to be on the client side and see where development fails. Someone that enters random text and isn’t trying to actually enter real text with constraints on where things like images go, doesn’t realize all the problems that I see. They don’t see all the issues that I have with actually using the system.

So I’m hoping we can fix a few of these things. A few more resources were promised, which I know is a bad idea on a late project. I’m hoping we just continue on with the resources we have.





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