I began my techie life as an 8088/86 assembly language programmer, a skill that’s all but disappeared with today’s incredibly faster processors and terabytes of addressable memory. From there I went to Forth and C. Then perl, PHP and SQL. I worked with Drupal for a few years, mostly doing module development. The one platform I refused to use for years though was WordPress. I had to draw the line between tech and fluff somewhere. That of course became a self-fulfilling curse because I inherited the task of maintaining all of my client’s web sites which included their public-facing core site running on WordPress.
It was a baptism by fire because the site had lots of problems. The guys who set it up weren’t technical but graphics artists. The first thing I did was a technical audit of the site. There were a dozen or more enabled apps that weren’t being used, several of them with published vulnerability warnings. There were two and three megabytes images being used for thumbnails. And three different installed page builders (WP editors know what the hazard is there). And there was a wide open xmlrpc.php. But the biggest problem was that they were editing on the live site. Eek!
The first thing I did was build a dev -> staging -> production deployment strategy… just some shell scripts and perl to migrate the database and any changed external assets. Because I didn’t want to give non-techies access to the Linux shell I built a deployment trigger using an image with a fixed name, i.e. push2staging.jpg, etc. that would trigger the appropriate migration script. Once you uploaded that image to Media Library the deployment would occur at the next cron invocation. I added iThemes for security, Yoast for SEO and deleted a bunch of cruft. But the one thing I told the boss I wouldn’t do was site design. I’m graphically challenged. I always use a pro designer because my efforts always looked something only a mainframer would appreciate.
Fast forward a year: my sister was complaining that she was getting no action for her flower store from her Weebly web site. I may not be a designer but I can tell a bad web site when I see one. Somewhere between my third and fourth glasses of wine I offered to build her a new web site for her birthday. It was months of work, especially because she’s not a web professional and because all the artwork and design work was on me. I love my sister but my designer is very expensive, even at friend rates.
Yeah, it’s a little image heavy but it’s a flower store.