Tuesday, 8 August 2006
A New Site is Born
There is a moment in a launching at which there is no going back. For a ship it is the moment the champagne bottle smashes, the ropes are cut and hull starts to slide down the greased rails towards the water. In that majestic moment everyone knows that no human force could turn it around.
When we launched our new website earlier today that moment came as we all huddled around Carol's computer screen, watching the progress bars telling us that file after file of the old site was being obliterated. "We're not getting the error messages we saw before," Justin murmured, not wanting to tempt fate by sounding too smug.
Then it was all done. The site was up. We cheered. Just as the shipwrights check the newly launched hulls for leaks, Justin began clicking rapidly and nervously on all the links. Page after page flashed past. Then there was a "file not found." "It's OK--it's not one of ours!" But the next one was one of ours. The mood turned very serious and file directories were scanned and file names checked until soon that final leak was plugged.
I scurried down the hall to my office and clicked the link, just to make sure. The new site sprang onto my screen and each of my random clicks took me to just the pages I expected. Yes! We are live. We can celebrate!
So we celebrated. We popped a bottle of champagne and drank a toast to six months of hard work and the happy result. It began, we remembered, with a staff meeting on a cold February day in which we all reviewed many websites, sifting for what we wanted and did not want. Then our webmaster Carol Weber and
webdesigner Justin Sytsma took over, proposing designs, refining them, inserting content, calling us for more material, linking it, reorganizing it and reorganizing it again. Finally, I pulled everyone away from the grapes and biscotti to record the event in a group photo.
John D. Norton