We new we had some serious changes to make to the site, we cranked our brains over several weeks to come up with a suitable solution, it was big, and was going to require a lot of work.
The changes meant that we would be starting from scratch in various areas; we could no-longer rely on the same interface, the code that had been written over more than four years, or the aging database, and we were going to have to do something drastic. We started with a sparkling white php file, and began the lengthy process of updating and migrating all the required backend code to our new codebase. The database was stripped back to the core of what we required, emptied of data, and re-built to meet the requirements of the new site.
The front end was no different: we imported our new framework, then built up every page by hand, making sure we cleared away the years of re-writes that we had applied to the old site. My job involved co-ordinating the development, as well as re-writing the front end, which took up all of my time and spare brain cycles for the full four months.
Initially we knew what features we were going to be building in, but as we didn’t have a designer working for us at the time, we didn’t know how it was going to look. I was building to a rough wireframe that I threw together for each page until we could get a full design drawn up. Halfway through the build process we hired Nicki, and then we had designs which really helped to pull it all together. The two weeks before we deployed is where the pressure mounted, and were the hardest I’ve ever had to work. We were working 16-hour RedBull-fueled days getting it all finished, built and tested on time, despite significant last minute changes to design and functionality days before we went live.
We’re very happy with the way it has come out, and hope to prove ourselves with the results.