Developer horror stories Part 1.

Well, client horror stories are fairly common, but how about developer horror stories?

There have been a few times when I’ve had to fix a site or related items due to developers being a bit problematic.

For example, I was recently involved in sorting out a mess with a client’s email, going back a long while. Basically he’d decided to move hosting to his own setup, without clarifying the implications for things that might be related to the domain, like email.

As far as I believe, email is business critical, if you are going to do anything that might mess with the lines of communication, you want to make sure you reduce that as much as possible.

Well, this hosting threw out the client’s email for around 2-3 months, with the untenable situation of having the developer managing their email, when before they had an IT guy that dealt with it internally on their own mail server. ┬áNot that this is a unilaterally bad situation, I manage Google hosted apps for many of my clients, but if you previously had your own MS Exchange server, this can be a step backwards.

Eventually, I managed to gain access to the control panel and reverted the email back to what it was. With the client in control and happier. Personally, I’m not a big fan of MS Exchange for a small organisation, it can be a point of failure and require skilled personnel to administer, whereas Google Hosted Apps is a doddle set up and is a hell of a lot more flexible, but horses for courses.

I had a similar situation earlier in my career, when I worked in partnership with a colleague, acting as a technical consultant. As I mentioned above, I believe email is sacrosanct, and my colleague was about to move domains/hosting etc after a re-design. I asked him to ask the client what their email setup was, to ensure we didn’t break it.

I asked again and was assured by my colleague that it wasn’t an issue. The day came of the hosting move, I asked my colleague to check again, no problem he says.

The hosting resolves at the new provider. My colleague frantically starts texting me. Why? Well the client has no incoming email. Hmm. They had their own email server. Ah. I was able to put in a temporary fix, until it was resolved, a (rightfully) very angry client was placated, and we managed to get things back to work.

The lesson is, there are many things you need to consider, try and make sure your developer knows what he is talking about.


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