Hanging up a well worn pair
It was with mixed emotions that I watched two of my longest running websites come down today.
The first was INFORM, an intranet site I first designed for Amway back in 2002. INFORM started as an ancient Classic ASP implementation and would eventually evolve into a robust LAMP stack built off of CakePHP, PHP’s answer to Ruby on Rails. While that meant absolutely nothing to my client (now employer) at the time, my consultants and I were fiercely proud of INFORM’s technical transformation. What began as a rudimentary content management system to house press releases, fact sheets and other basic digital assets for the Amway PR team blossomed into an enterprise-wide knowledge portal with its own dedicated editorial staff and multimedia team. Almost on a whim, I dared my staff last year to pull the plug on INFORM, both figuratively and literally, as a creative exercise. “Would users miss it?” One thing led to another and we launched a brand new SharePoint 2010 portal today that is a generation ahead of its time at Amway. With that, I shelled into our rogue Linux box one last time and dimmed the lights on INFORM after a healthy eight-year run.
The other was the flagship site for John Bailey & Associates, a mid-sized public relations firm with offices in Troy and Lansing, Michigan. Founded by Detroit PR veteran John Bailey, the one guy my old PR prof insisted I meet if nobody else when I first moved to the Mitten in ’97, JB&A was very good to me over the years, having assigned me some of my few projects and later helping me to establish some very lucrative long-term client relationships throughout the Midwest. They had the foresight to let me launch their Lambert, Edwards & Associates of Grand Rapids. This morning, I woke up to find that the original website I had designed which stood the test of time since 2002 had finally been relaunched to reflect the new name, which went into effect as of today.
Why wax nostalgic for two old websites? Both factored big into my career, perfectly blending together the web and PR sides of me. It’s bittersweet for any web designer to see a site fall into the hands of another designer, even on the best of terms. Still, this morning was a simple reminder of the need to move on so others can walk undiscovered miles in their own shoes. Besides, I’m due for a new pair of sneakers myself, or so my wife says.