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Published on April 17, 2016 By Phil Osborn In Internet

10/09/16 More of the same.  Tedious correction of product data with endless errors.  Still no manual for the CMS stuff.  I know how to do three or four basic operations - and my instructor on those operations got a good deal wrong.  As I expected, the old website disappeared and/or was blocked from my access.  This directly contradicted my own instructions as well as the job requirements, so I was finally given a new address to access what amounts to the verified source material for the entire new site. 

The guy in charge appears to be mainly interested in pushing through whatever he decides, so I expect that this reprieve is temporary.  One day soon, I will find that the block back or the site is no longer there - or anywhere, and then there will be no verified source for the product info.  But, the guy in charge will have reified his authority...  Meanwhile, in the real world, the reference sites that have for over a decade shown up multiple times on page 1 of a Google search do not show up at all now.  We were assured that this could not happen.  O'well.  We were also told that the new CMS site would be faster.  O'well.  And easier to edit...

06/22/16  Day after day of redoing past work on the new platform.   No way apparently under the CMS to propagate repeated corrections across hundreds of product pages - at least not with this version and its terrible editor.  So, I do the same correction again and again.  Meanwhile, apparently someone got the idea of listing the products - for internal and user processing needs yet - according to how important he thought they were, instead of alphabetizing.   So, I have to go through hundreds of files to find where I need to change two words.   Reportedly there are also customer complaints.

06/08/2016 Well, the new site has been up since Monday.  I was worried about losing links to the old site's pages, but the author of this new CMS site assured me that the links would be kept for the near future at least.  Promises, promises... So, if you type in one of my test phrases in Google - transmisores y receptores rf - which used to fill up page 1 with SECO-LARM specific addresses - you get two (2).  One of them is a link to the old site page. That one, however, get's you to the new home page, without a clue as to how you are now going to get to an equivalent to the old page that you were looking for.   In fact, this always happens.  You are always sent to the home page, adding an additional step to your search, even if you know how to use the new system.  So, still without a clue as to how the CMS system actually works, my job has devolved to making endless corrections to content material ported over to the new system by people with apparently little grasp of the content.  It is a mess.  We keep running into glitches in the CMS as well.  What a discouraging week so far.

060116: Last chance to see the original website (and grab the unique keyword site search engine).  I've been struggling to get as many of the bugs out of the new system as possible, knowing that all it will likely get me is gone.  Imagine a site for English and Spanish readers - populated by people with very limited English and less Spanish and full of bugs...  Replacing a site that has an unbelievable track record for number of product placement keywords that show up on page 1 from Google (~100).  Tomorrow is the big day, supposedly, even though there are still 250 web pages to check and correct, and the general appearance of the new CMS site could be characterized as shoddy, mundane and not particularly useful to the end user.

I was notified out of the blue, last week that the company for whom I worked for the past 25 years - www.seco-larm.com is moving from the thousand pages of hand-coded product sheets that I created to a very limited CMS, without most of the crosslinking that enabled a hundred or more keywords to make page 1 on Google.  And, no drop down menus of model numbers - often 12 or more characters.

I am now tasked with debugging the new site's data, flying blind, as I have not a clue as to how the Back-End works.  I would appreciate comments as to the best way to proceed before I really screw up the new site, as there is NO backup system. 

Thanks kryo;

I've been having similar thoughts.    Today I began studying the new layout and discovered about 20 major system problems in the first couple pages I looked at. Like the keyword search system treating singular and plural as two different products, so that "transmitter" returned 15 pages, while "transmitters" returned 1.  Since a lot of users will predictably use the plural and not have a clue as to the problem...  Lots of glitches.  lots...

04/21/2016  Make that 28 bugs or other problems.

05/02/2016  Make that over 40.  I was told to feel free to examine the HTML behind the main block of descriptive text and edit as required.  WHAT A MESS!  Someone clearly took blocks of code and ignored little niceties such as the "hov" style from the old site, that highlighted paragraphs on MouseOver, not deleting them, but added a mashup of html and xml to the mix, such that the CMS editor refused to function to replace simple text sizes most of the time, forcing me to dive into the chaos to place my own fixes.

I'm supposed to be fact-checking, but most of my time is going into dealing with an endless stream of embedded problems.

I was told that the new site rollout would be some weeks away, but pages are showing up via Google search already:

New site - who wants to be the first to locate a new page?

vs

Old site http://www.seco-larm.com/SD-C101-SGQ.htm - one page out of ~1,000 done over the past 18 years by me.  Notice the smooth horizontal collapse.  When this site was new, a lot of people were still running legacy systems with 640x480 screens.  I designed what now looks pretty good on hand-held to fit that smaller screen for the most part.  The site is entirely HTML4 or before, with custom JavaScripts.  Visually not my design, BTW.   I just did the heavy lifting of page data, logic and functionality - never allowed to do the least bit of artistry.

So, which site appears to be more useable today? 

 


Comments
on Apr 17, 2016

I would appreciate comments as to the best way to proceed

If the site was all hand-made static pages before, I can understand moving to a database-driven solution. Doing it by hand doesn't really scale.

That said, they replaced all of your work with something you now have no familiarity with, which (if it goes as planned), will also require a lot less maintenance effort.

To be perfectly blunt about it, I'd be getting a resume ready. Eliminating work tends to precede eliminating staff.

If you do plan to stick it out though, the complete lack of a test or backup copy doesn't help matters much. If they aren't interested in bending on that, you'll probably want to stand up a copy on your workstation (absent any sensitive production data of course) rather than testing and learning on prod.

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