Friday September 22nd, 2017

Why Simple Site Updates Take Time

People use websites every day, but the creation of those websites are still largely smoke and mirrors to most. With how many there are in the world, it often comes into question why making website updates takes so much time. Because of that, we decided to pull back the curtain a little bit and help shed some light on what goes on when we make website updates.

When a developer goes about making updates to a website, they’re based on the request. It could be something simple like a style update to the paragraph copy or something more detailed like updating core content management system files in order to correct a broken function.

For this example I’m going to focus on updating a broken expandable accordion:

  • First thing to do is always be sure to backup our existing files. Websites, especially those with content management systems are tens of thousands of lines of code. So if we make an update that doesn’t work, we need to be sure we have a safe file to go back to should our update go wrong and break additional content on the site.
  • Next we check to see if there are any errors that need to be addressed in the rendered code via the browser’s console. It’s important to document initial errors for safe keeping should any of our updates alter them and make note of new ones as they appear due to updates.
  • Next we do a search to confirm that any linked libraries of code being used have not depreciated. Popular libraries of code such as JQuery are actively updated. So, while well standardized, they are subject to versioning and updates.
  • At this point we begin to implement the changes we believe will resolve the request made by the site owner or resolve the error being produced on the page.
  • Once our changes are in place, we check the major supported browsers current and previous two versions to confirm they’re working correctly. Sadly, not all browsers are created equal and some require specialized code elements to assure that they display correctly to users… We’re looking at you, Internet Explorer!
  • In addition to step six, we make sure to check all of the primary media devices available to confirm the update is uniform or adapting responsively.
  • Wrapping up, we send the update off to be proofed by another team member in order to confirm that the updates function, responsive nature, and/or content are all correct.
  • Lastly, we shoot it back over to the website owner for approval. If everything is looking good, we backup the new files that changed to have them for backup purposes.

That's the long and short of it. It may seem like a lot, but it’s always better to be safe than sorry with a website. It’s amazing what a missing semicolon or bracket can do. If you’re interested in learning about how incorporating a bit of motion into your static media would impact your return on investment, please feel free to contact us. Or you’re always welcome to continue the conversation in the comments below.

J.D. Cutter,

Senior Front-End Web Developer

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