2008 == 1999

At least for me it does.

1999 was the year my company finally realized it needed to be on the web in some way. I had started to suggest the idea to them in 1996 and they put up a cursory contact information page in 1998, but it wasn’t until ‘99 that they decided to actually try and create a presence. 

I mean, who was I that they would listen to anyway. I was a graphic designer and had been here for less than a year, and the web was still so unknown to to most people and companies.

But ‘99 changed all that and we solicited bids from ‘Web Development Companies’. Companies that would handle all aspects of the design from graphics creation, HTML page building and any backend programming that needed to be done.

What we had decided we wanted was to put our newspaper online. We needed an editorial section that would hold that days stories and an archive, and a used equipment section that would consist of a search engine for the equipment and detail pages for each machine.

Well, we ended up with several bids that went from 13,000 all the way up to 100,000 and my company was not prepared for these numbers to say the least.

So I took my shot. I told them I could do it, and they actually believed me.

I still remember the call from my boss over the weekend asking if I thought I would really be able to handle it and I said of course I could (Not mentioning that I had never built a page in my life), and he said that when I came in on Monday, I was no longer to work on the publication, and that my full time job was going to be creating the website. 

They did contract the cheapest of the companies to do some backend programming and with them we launched the site in early 2000, and it was probably the busiest, most stressful time of career to that point. But I loved it.

With the exception of one piece of VB Script that I still use, I had re-written all of the code myself within the next 2 or 3 years, and continually updated the look, changed and added features as needed and rolled out updates on a daily or weekly basis for the next 8 years.

But now its happening again. It’s time for us to move forward and re-build from the ground up, and I’m getting that feeling again. I stressed and REALLY busy. It’s time to add things to the site that I have never built before.

I have been asked to stop the incremental updates to the site. To be honest I have been asked to stop doing anything to the site, and now have a month and a half to deliver the look and basic functionality of a new website and 5 other web related products. Including new admin sections, newsletters, and a video library that can do everything that a service like Brightcove can do, but built in house by me.

And then I have another month or so after to make it all work.

It will still be an ASP/SQL site. I hate .NET and moving to PHP/MySQL isn’t in the cards. Although I do have a PHP version of the site that mirrors the functionality of the active site. I’m sure it’s because of my knowledge of ASP vs PHP, but I can’t get the PHP site to work as fast or as well as the ASP version.

It will of course try to be standards based, having tables only where necessary, and I will use this as an opportunity to add some AJAX-y goodness to the site where appropriate. 

And Flash, with the video comes a lot of Flash. We shall see how that goes, but it will be interesting and I’ll report on it here.

After 12 years of the same company, this could be exactly what the complacent designer needs to get in gear.