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Upgrading Web Sites

Problem

Not everybody in the world has the time or desire to learn SQL, CGI, Perl, and Apache to develop a fully featured web site. As a result, some web sites have yet to fully mature. The content is there, but the usability just isn't available.

Solution

Our solution is to find those web sites and provide our services to add SQL, CGI, Perl and Apache.

Prototype Web site

Before we can upgrade people's web sites, we need to build a prototype first. This prototype will ensure that we do indeed possess every skill necessary to develop a commercial level web site.

This is what our prototype will look like. One Linux server running Apache (possibly with mod_perl) and MySQL. The web pages aesthetics will be designed according to standards of commercial graphic design. A combo of HTML, Javascript, and Perl CGI.pm will be used to allow the user to send and retrieve information from the database.

The prototype is subject to change. The final version should look similar to what I have described. If you feel I should change something, tell me, so I can change it.

Currently, we do not have all the skills necessary to build this prototype server. We either learn the skills or recruit someone who has these skills. Most likely, we'll have to learn the skills ourselves. Alternatively, we can also give up.

Give up? Yes, you heard me. It's really up to the team members to decide for themselves if they really want this or not. If the team isn't willing to put forth the necessary time to learn the skills to build this project, then it's time to abandon the project.

Personally, I don't really care if the team gives up because I already have an MFC demo project that I'm using as my primary plan. This web stuff is actually my backup just in case my MFC endeavors flop.

If you're still interested in lending your strength to this project, then I will tell you what to do. The first thing you must do is examine the current pool of skills. Next, examine what has to be learned to develop the prototype. Finally, go to it, and take classes, read books, and write code to get those necessary skills to build the project.

Ideally, every person will be able to build every single piece of the prototype. In periods of downsizing, a person must be able to wear several hats. For the sake of expediency, we should allow more than one to build the prototype, but not much more than one.

Once the project is complete, this will be proof to ourselves that we can do it. Yes, I suppose that we can show this to employers during job hunting, but this is just a prototype. This prototype has no content, only technology. What's the point of technology if there's no associated content. Commercial level quality has content that is bound to technology.

Even after the prototype is done, it's not done for everybody. Every new member of the team has to demonstrate that they can also build the same prototype. The prototype is continuously being built by everyone seeking to challenge and prove their abilities.

It is now time to find out who wants to build the prototype. We'll start with 2 man teams. Each team will build a schedule of what to learn and when and a projected date of completion of the prototype. So who's in?

Home system setup

Every member has to get equipped for their work. Things may vary somewhat from one person to another, but I think we should expect to have something similar to this configuration

Basically, everybody needs a system capable of developing and running the prototype. The prototype will eventually be hosted on some web server, but our own personal machines should also be equally capable of running the same prototype.

Free or fee?

Do we give away service or charge a fee? For a non-commercial web site, it's considered generous to give free services. For a commercial web site, it's considered acceptable to charge fees.

This may sound weird, but companies like paying high fees. If something is priced cheaply, they assume there's something wrong with it. I once remember a sales person telling me that Boeing wasn't buying his $75,000 product because it was too cheap in comparison to the other half million dollar products on the market. Only by paying high fees, can a company feel assured of high quality. I know it doesn't make sense, but that's how a company feels.

Likewise, free stuff may also be viewed with a fair amount of suspicion. If some stranger came to your house offering a free paint job, wouldn't you be a bit suspicious. Everybody knows that there's no such thing as a free lunch, and it's only correct that free services are viewed with suspicion.

Oh but wait, what if someone can't afford the high fees associated with our quality services. What then? Do we reduce our fees to cheap fees? Offering cheapened fees could reflect badly on our team. I have an alternative idea

We accept the entire business risk of the development of the web site. If the web site is not profitable, we don't get paid. If the web site is a success, we get paid. By carrying the business risk, this tells the client that we are fully committed to making the web site a financial success.

Team Members

Emcee Lam
  • Role:
    Strategist.
  • Ability:
    Java(Adv), Perl, HTML, CSS, CGI.pm, SQL, MFC
  • Studying:
    Adv. Perl, Javascript, XML
Sutandiono
  • Role:
    Infrastructure Implementer
  • Ability:
    Perl, CGI, CGI.pm, XML, X\HTML, CSS, JavaScript
  • Studying:
    Adv. Perl
Jonathan Su
  • Role:
    Infrastructure Implementer
  • Ability:
    Biology, Perl, BioPerl, HTML
  • Studying:
    Adv. Perl, JavaScript
contact: emcee.lam@juno.com
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