Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Zen and the Art of Web Development

I have had many vocations over the years. Window washer, puppeteer, sign maker, technical writer, fire eater, phone book deliverer, the list goes on and on. About 8 years ago I somehow I managed to talk my way into a job as a web developer at a large company called Pioneer-Standard (no, not the company that makes stereos). I stayed with this job for 5 years, mostly because it paid pretty damn well and I worked with some cool people.

Although I am no longer working for a vast corporate machine (they sold off our half of the company), I still continue to do freelance web development. My clients now are small businesses and artists who don't have the time or patience to learn computer mumbo-jumbo. I provide e-commerce websites for a reasonable price and get to keep my skills passably sharp. Right now I am working on a sight for a small screen printing outfit. They're developing a line of Nascar parody t-shirts. You can take a look at how the site is shaping up here.

For this project, the layout come from another graphic artist. The artist works mostly in print, which allows you a lot of freedom of design. The shopping cart software I use can be customized to match her design, but it is a time-consuming process. It's part image manipulation in photoshop and part code tinkering. The odd thing is that I actually like working on the site in this way. Altering the code to match the clients design requires dozens of small changes in many different files. The process of tracking down and changing the code is rather like doing a crossword. When one item is changed, other code changes become visible. When I get into a groove I seem to loose track of time. I started today's work at 2:30 and its almost 1am now. I could easily keep going, My mind is alert, but I'd pay for it tomorrow.

Here are some other sites that I have worked on:

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