Web Development and the Business of Services

Show and Tell isn’t just for grade schoolers. We have found it to be a valuable part of our team chemistry.

Once a month our virtual team meets for a two hour video chat to show off things we’ve learned or are curious about. Topics range from code reviews to discussions of tools and conference recaps. It’s a great way to step back from project work and ensure we’re always learning and staying on top of the latest technology.

What follows is a brief recap of the topics we discussed this month. There’s not a lot of context, but my hope is that by sharing what we’re thinking about as a team might be valuable to others and encourage you to share your thoughts.

You change the oil in your car. You get a haircut when you’re feeling shaggy. Heck, you even visit the dentist every so often. But, are you maintaining your website properly?

If you want to maximize your return on investment and get the most out of your website you need to implement a monthly website maintenance plan. Here’s a checklist to get you started.

I’ve interviewed and hired a number of developers over the years. In my experience it’s not that hard to find people with the proper technical skills. But, it’s much more difficult to find a developer who is reliable, hits deadlines and can communicate effectively. If given the choice, I’d rather hire a reliable developer and teach him any technical skills that he may be lacking than hire someone with all of the technical skills but poor communication and follow through.

Since we specialize in web development, we work with many other agencies that pull us in to complete one piece of the overall project puzzle. This is great work for us but can get complicated the more layers that exist between us and the client. I recently learned some tough lessons about being too far removed from the client. It was a project with a huge company that you’d recognize but shall remain nameless.

It’s easy to password protect your development and staging sites using .htaccess. But, when you’re working with multiple environments and have .htaccess in your source control repository (like Git or SVN), it’s a little trickier.

I think most developers understand it’s a good practice to password protect development and staging sites. It keeps the public from seeing work in progess and prevents search engines from dinging you for duplicate content. We prefer to use .htaccess for setting up the password because it’s lightweight and doesn’t interfere with any member logins that.