To give you an idea, this is the website I’m talking about.
Little over a month ago I got contacted by the dad of a friend. If I was available for a web development project. I was to remake a site to be visually identical, except not run on a CMS (WordPress). It had tons of plugins and loaded all kinds of mostly useless scripts on every single pageload, and they needed a speedier website. Should be compatible with mobile, too, the current one was fixed width. I took a look. “Sure, I’ll do it.”
The larger bits of what I had to do were familiar to me, but the whole production process with the goal of officially releasing it was complete new. I started off laying the foundation, writing the files that needed to be included in every page (header and footer elements) in PHP-HTML and did the basic styling for those and some useful classes in good old SASS. Good start, I’d say.
The pages themselves were less fun though. It was mostly monotonous HTML coding and running into the same lousy CSS problems that’ve been bothering me since forever. By the end, I was starting to get kind of tired of it all, but had to plow on anyway, because this was a job, not just some silly little project.
I occasionally resorted to stupid hacks (workarounds or general bad coding practices) to make things work like they should. Some parts will probably be a bit hard to change if that’s ever needed, but luckily I don’t think that’ll be the case. It made things work though, and that’s what counts.
Little over a month later, it’s finished. Could’ve been faster, but eh, school came in. Whatever. I sent my “boss” an email, telling him I believed to have it finished and that he should check it out. Expected him to mail me back with “fix this and that”. The day after, I receive a reply from him, including an excerpt from the reponse his customer sent him. I translaquote:
“First of all, a HUGE compliment to the developer. (…) Other than that nothing but praise to the developer.”
Needless to say, I did a little dance.
It worked perfectly in all browsers, looked good on mobile, and response time had increased (decreased, you know what I mean) tenfold. There was one small thing that needed to be fixed, but it was something I was aware of, and was waiting with until launch. (Form submission emails were being sent to a testing address.)
So what did I learn? Production sucks balls if you’re an autistic idiot who wants to do everything the right way and have everything be perfect. I already knew this. Well, not exactly that. More that you may need to focus more on actually shipping the product than on perfecting it. This knowledge’s been with me for quite a while now, but never have I really experienced it like this (since, you know, I suck at finishing things).
In the end the amount of money I asked for it doesn’t give me minimum wage when distributed over my working hours, but at least it looks great on my portfolio, and the real-world experience is nothing to scoff at either. Grateful I got to do this, the praise at the end made the rough and boring road totally worth it.
8/10 would rebuild again.