Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Where the Hell is Duck?

Well, not in Hell, not yet.

I promise to write this weekend. The presidential race is finally getting underway. Stuff could get interesting again. The post-move is wrapping up, will start decorating the apartment this weekend.

I will be taking on a new enterprise, web development. I linked up with a struggling entrepreneur (on a date, no less) in need of a web developer, and I offered my services for free (for a limited time) in exchange for references to future clients. I'll provide more details as the project progresses.

Stay tuned!

19 Comments:

Blogger Susan's Husband said...

Ah, web development. I inflicted that on one of our interns this summer. It was far too cruel to do to a real employee.

August 27, 2008 6:41 AM  
Blogger Harry Eagar said...

Define web development, please.

August 27, 2008 11:27 AM  
Blogger Hey Skipper said...

It is amazing how persuasive members of Team Estrogen can be.

August 27, 2008 8:04 PM  
Blogger Duck said...

Building websites, Harry.

sh maybe that's why people get paid to do it.

Skipper, the estrogen wasn't the primary persuader. I've been dinking around with this idea for awhile, and giving a certain amount of work away has always been an option I considered to break into the business.

But the estrogen didn't hurt. Nor the two beers. At least she takes me to dinner for the status meetings.

August 27, 2008 10:14 PM  
Blogger Harry Eagar said...

Well, if you mean taking somebody else's material and putting it on the Internet for him, that's what my son does in the evenings to support his theatrical projects.

My question was more along the lines of, are you the rainmaker, or the expert who digitizes the desires of the incompetent?

August 27, 2008 10:18 PM  
Blogger Duck said...

Harry

That's advanced level stuff. Right now I'm the rescue client from unscrupulous, incompetent web developer who shouldn't be in the business guy.

The biggest thing my client lacks right now is basic analysis expertise. She has a vision of what she wants the site to accomplish and a laundry list of features, but there's been no structured analysis and design of the site. No roadmap, no blueprint. That's what I'm bringing to the table up front.

Her previous developer flaked out on her, and she has a barebones site with a home page and four static content pages, but no functional pieces. She wants to make it into a social networking and e-commerce site, so my task is, after fleshing out the requirements and site layout, to select the right off the shelf components, like a blog, shopping cart and member registration/email list, and integrate them into the site.

August 27, 2008 11:26 PM  
Blogger Susan's Husband said...

Mr. Eagar;

One example of web development you have seen is that cute little comment widget on the right side of my weblog. I suppose it's just digitizing some one else's content, but it was a bit more than just slapping some text in an HTML wrapper.

August 28, 2008 10:16 AM  
Blogger erp said...

Duck, what's the difference between a website and a blog?

August 28, 2008 11:32 AM  
Blogger Susan's Husband said...

The same as between a plane and a Boeing 747.

August 28, 2008 2:01 PM  
Blogger erp said...

Size and complexity of planes I get, but what can a website do that a blog can't?

August 28, 2008 4:35 PM  
Blogger Susan's Husband said...

Sell items. Provide a knowledge base for looking up questions. Provide index documentation for a product. Supply product update downloads. Let you update your insurance information with your insurance provider. Search the Internet for other pages. Look up word definitions. Download songs from a music catalog.

Just think of all the web pages you go to that aren't weblogs. Those are all things a website can do that a weblog can't. As a 747 is a specific type of airplane, a weblog is a specific type of website.

August 28, 2008 6:11 PM  
Blogger erp said...

Thanks. I think I get it. A website needs to be setup from scratch while a blog can be setup with prefab program like Blogger.

I was toying with the idea of a website to expand a muckraking blog on our local city hall denizens' misconduct and malfeasance, but I don't have the brain power left to figure out the technical stuff.

August 29, 2008 5:57 AM  
Blogger Duck said...

erp

Good questions. Actually one of the things my client wants to add to her website is a blog, as well as a storefront to sell merchandise. My job is to integrate all the pieces into one coherent whole. Blogs and shopping cart software are available off the shelf, but they have to be customized and integrated into the site as a whole. The key to successful software development is to get general functionality off the shelf, and only write custom code for the stuff that is unique to that project.

August 29, 2008 7:28 AM  
Blogger Susan's Husband said...

That touches on one of my pet peeves, which is the two types of third party software fanatics. One type abjures any use of such, because "you can't trust it" and "it doesn't do exactly what we want". Then there is the other type, who abjures the use of any custom software, and cripples their design so that none is needed.

Personally, I design what I want, and then look to see what's out there I can use. Third party / open source software is neither good nor bad, only more or less useful for a particular project.

August 29, 2008 10:54 AM  
Blogger erp said...

Duck, My problem with blogs is the way topics are organized. Using Labels is cumbersome for my readers who are mostly internet novices.

Will you preview your new website for us?

August 29, 2008 1:04 PM  
Blogger Duck said...

sh - since the first round of development is on my dime, the customization will be at a minimum. I'll get creative when she's paying :-)

erp, I will gladly provide a link once the work is done.

August 29, 2008 2:30 PM  
Blogger Susan's Husband said...

Duck;

That's a personal failing of mine, I am unable to resist. It drives SWIPIAW crazy when we're trying to get a release out the door, or she needs just a little tweaking of a library.

P.S. Have you looked at WebGUI? That's what we've been using for the corporate website. It has its issues, but if you used it too we could compare notes :-). It was getting that set up for a website migration that our poor intern got stuck with doing.

August 29, 2008 5:03 PM  
Blogger Harry Eagar said...

My son uses off-the-shelf routines but takes pride in assembling an elegant and economical suite.

Neither the user nor the customer would be aware, but he likes things clean and neat.

August 30, 2008 12:05 PM  
Blogger Duck said...

sh
Thanks for the tip, I'll check it out.

August 30, 2008 1:43 PM  

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