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Thread: Site maintenance - help request

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2006

    Site maintenance - help request

    Hi, everyone

    Having recently decided to get my feet wet in web publishing (no page published as of yet :P) with Dreamweaver 8 and some JavaScript I've come across a small issue many of you will probably find scoff-worthy as it's so basic.

    Having bought a number of books to assist me I decided the best way to learn would be some hands-on real-world project. So, even though my "services" weren't commissioned I knew someone who was looking to replace/revamp his small business website (custom PC building, hardware sales, maintenance and repairs, etc.).

    So, no strings attached, no payment involved - just an opportunity to get a site authored by me online while learning 'the ropes' in the process.

    Anyway, the site is all but done when the "client" threatens to pull the plug should I not arrange for a way for him to update its contents himself. A reasonable request had I any clue on how to go about providing for that...

    Apparently the "client" has been updating his current site (text updates only) by way of some software [Backoffice ?] that I've (unsurprisingly) never heard of.

    To give you a little extra insight into the specificity of the problem: each product showcased on the site I've built is stored in an array (he hasn't that many products on offer and I'm not yet ready to digest the imposing-looking server-side stuff) on a separate .js file. Product images (one large, one small), name, brand logo, characteristics, price, etc. are all there.

    This basically means that one has to get product images/brand logos, edit them to the proper sizes and background color and then add a new cell to the array with all the reference data, finally uploading the updated .js file to the server.

    I can handle standard programming stuff reasonably well but the thought of having to write an application of sorts to automate image resizing, etc. seems like an extreme solution (especially given all the extra technical stuff I'd have to learn before I could field and adequate stand-alone solution for such a specific thing).


    In summation: I would really appreciate it if someone could share some insight into how this sort of problem is usually handled/accommodated for, standard procedures, suitable software packages who do the trick, etc.

    Sorry about the lengthy post and thank you for reading.

    Best regards to all

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Jerryville, Tejas
    The standard way to do this kind of thing is to recognize it's a type of content management system (CMS) and see if someone else has already solved the problem for you. You can look around http://opensourcecms.com and see many examples.
    "Debugging is twice as hard as writing the code in the first place. Therefore, if you write the code as cleverly as possible, you are, by definition, not smart enough to debug it." Brian W. Kernighan

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Thanks for the swift reply, ray326

    I'll be sure to give that link a go. Maybe I'll find something customisable enough.


    This first hiccup got me thinking, though: what is the norm in web development - a finished site being handed over for the client to maintain via a CMS (even if he is not knowledgeable/tech-savvy) or the establishment of a maintenance/administration (webmaster?) contract where the needed site updates are carried out by the site's author at the client's request ?

    Sorry to nag, but I feel like I need to get a better understanding of this as it seems to be a factor in a site's very design as well.

    And, again, many thanks for the help

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Jerryville, Tejas
    Both are common but the former is the best thing for the client if there are frequent tweaks needed.
    "Debugging is twice as hard as writing the code in the first place. Therefore, if you write the code as cleverly as possible, you are, by definition, not smart enough to debug it." Brian W. Kernighan

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    I see.

    In that case, and assuming pretty much every other site requested by a client might be prone to needing update autonomy of some sort, I gather there must be some full-featured and quite flexible commercial-grade packages
    to ease this process for the "bigger fish" ?

    Please don't bash (staple ?) my head in just yet, ray326 - I realise it looks like I'm chasing my own tail since you've already mentioned the open source CMSs.

    It's just that with the range of technologies (client side, server side, etc.) one can employ in order to build a site and the likely specificity of content updates/uploads for each I wouldn't want to waste time by learning and mucking around with a clunky and/or one-time solution if a more future-proof investment can be had.

    I suppose I'll google around some. Be it as it may, any extra advice would be highly appreciated at this time.


    And, by the way, thanks for the input you've so kindly offered thus far, ray326. Short and to the point beats playing with the echoes any day...

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Jerryville, Tejas
    That site has a lot of good to offer but there is one serious shortcoming and he states it right up front. He's only interested in PHP/MySQL systems. So that means you'll have to do your own leg work (wrist work?) if you want to review system based on the other large platforms like Perl/CGI, ASP, .NET and Java.
    "Debugging is twice as hard as writing the code in the first place. Therefore, if you write the code as cleverly as possible, you are, by definition, not smart enough to debug it." Brian W. Kernighan

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