CaseySoftware Redux

The entire CaseySoftware site has recently undergone a rennovation. If you notice any oddities, bugs, or annoyances, please let me know. Yes, I am aware of the formatting oddities.

As you might have noticed this morning, the launch date was not met. Although this is never a good thing, I thought I would use it as our own retrospective.

Some pluses:

First, the overall site design was great. I'm very happy with the narrow(er) three column layout. The core of it came from Open Source Web Design. The designer has had it mostly complete and just waiting for this conversion since the end of May. Having everything with the same look and feel is already simplifying things.

Next, the Drupal 4.7 tree is fantastic. The management is even simpler and generally much more flexible. It took a bit of time for the modules to catch up, but they are even easier to install now. Most of the time it consists of uploading to file(s) to the module directory and enabling it in admin. The module enabling even creates the tables for you. Nice touch.

Next, a great deal of remapping/url rewriting had to go on. This went extremely quickly and easily once the individual destinations were determined. That was the hard part. Writing the mappings was a 15 minute task.

Finally, the conversion of the exponentCMS (the main site) data was quite simple and took a matter of minutes.

The minuses:

Unfortunately, I completely misunderestimated how long it would take to convert the old blogs.caseysoftware database. Even at this writing (Monday morning), it's still going on in the backend. The blog content was the easy part, but I'm also trying to save the comments but unfortunately the sheer amount of spam mixed in has made it rather difficult. We'll see where that goes.

Next, one of my key people has been completely tied up with personal commitments for the past few days. This shifted around some tasking at the last minute.

Next, I'm still attempting to get a handle on the Drupal eCommerce module. I was outright annoyed with osCommerce and jumped to ZenCart as soon as I found it. I still haven't been happy with ZenCart, but it was a pretty significant step up. I'm hoping the eCommerce is a step atleast as large.

Finally, once I imported all of the blog and site content into the system, I realized that there were some layout oddities. I dug into those on Saturday and was able to resolve most of the big ones in the actual templates, but now I get to handle all of the layout oddities within the content.

The summary:

I think the problem was incomplete testing and demo's prior to the final push. We should have run some testing in advance by dropping the most recent 20-30 items from the site into the layout. This would have exercised and demonstrated these issues and allowed us to address them a month ago and created a managable workload at the final push.