Wednesday, May 6, 2009

So I Guess I'm Wrong...

I wasn't going to write this, I sat on it for almost a week. I could see no good coming from giving it the semi-permanence of text.

I volunteered for the New York Biathlon club as their webmaster. I did this because my father asked me to. I knew it wasn't going to be easy, I had looked at the old site and what I saw wasn't pretty. It wasn't bad, but it could be better.

That was what I did wrong.

I thought it could be better, and I got bit. I knew I could do better, and I set out to do just that. I looked at the layout, and simplified it, providing a streamlined look that loads fast and is easy to update. I then switched from HTML to PHP, looking for a dynamic solution, looking for ways to minimize the time required to update the individual pages. I then thought of the possibility of moving away from a website to a content management solution, a framework that would allow the users to edit the web page directly. My original thought was flat files, but if I'm going to do flat files why not have a database backed system? So it grows..

There had always been issues with the existing web master, he's controlling to a fault. In a lot of cases he doesn't keep the site updated, and he really doesn't know how to do things better then he currently is, but in his defense he is a chemist, not a code monkey. But he got the ball rolling, he got the site up and maintained it on his own in an environment I rapidly learned was quite chaotic and unorganized.

Then I went to the meeting.

I expected resistance from the organization as a whole. What I got was resistance from my father, the very man who brought me in to do a better job. I'm not going to bother with details of the meeting as the details don't honestly matter. All I'm going to say is there is something terribly sad about telling your father to stop berating a man he claims to be his friend, a man who has done a job to the very best of his ability. I was very careful not to point fingers, I was very careful not to alienate anyone because it simply would have done no good. My father had no such reservations.

I felt like I was dealing with a child who was bound and determined to throw a tantrum. It was sad to watch, and I was embarrassed for him. Not that he saw it, or would have cared if he did.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

From talking to him, he attended a very different meeting than you did.

No surprise here.