Have you ever wanted to know, how a typical day of a webdesigner is built?
Jennifer Kyrnin from about.com wrote a very nice article about it. That article is old, but the essential things don`t have changed to nowadays. Enjoy.
Most of my days are not spent writing HTML. As a Webmaster, I have a lot of various duties, not the least of which is getting out of meetings.
This is what I did on Monday, April 6th, 1998
I come into the office around 8am. I am not a morning person, but my husband is, so we wake up early.
I work on a Sparc 4 workstation, so I have to login and usually I have to reopen windows for machines that have auto-logout. (Auto-logout is one of those things that sysadmins love because it forces people off their machines, and developers hate because if you stop typing for a microsecond you lose your window and all your work — it’s a FEATURE!.)
Checking the Site
Once I’m logged in and all my windows are open (I usually have two windows to our development machine, one to each of our Web servers, one to email, one to our ticketing system, a Netscape window, and sometimes additional ones to other machines at our company, so my screen is quite full.), I go and check our main pages. While the site has several thousand pages, there are about 4 that are vital to our company and must be up at all times. I check these first thing.
Not only am I a Webmaster, but I am also a release engineer. We do all our development on a test machine that is behind our company firewall. Then, when we are convinced that there are no problems with the HTML we set it up to be pushed to the Web servers. I make sure that that push happens every day, and that everything we meant to release was released and so on.
Email and Voicemail
After all that is done, I check my email. On a typical day, I get about 10 messages overnight in my inbox. I have a filtering system (procmail) running on my mailbox which removes most of the stuff I don’t want to see immediately into other folders. If it all came into my inbox I would get about 1000 pieces of mail a day (and this is my personal box, not the Webmaster mailbox). Some of the stuff I filter is automated reports, Spam, and mailing lists. I usually look at those folders once or twice a week.
As I’m reading my email I check my voicemail. I don’t like to talk on the phone, so most people don’t call me. When that little red light on the phone starts blinking, I get worried. Phone calls are usually bad news.
I like to start out the day doing some cleanup work on the site. We have a ticketing system so that any employee who finds a problem with the site can report it and have it fixed in one to two days. I like to check the tickets first thing in the morning to get an idea of what the day will be like. There are usually no more than three or four tickets in the box in the morning.
There weren’t too many tickets outstanding so I took a look at my schedule of meetings for the day. I knew I had one at 10, one at 11, and one at 1, but I wanted to be sure. Whoops! good thing I have an organizer (ha!) because my 11 o’clock meeting was at 9, and it was 9:15! Quick lock of my screen and a grab for the folder as I run up to the meeting room.
I was meeting with a director of one of our departments that would like to have a Web presence. I needed to find out what her goals were for her site, and how it would fit in with the rest of the site. I also needed to set her expectations that some of the whiz-bang nifty stuff she wanted wasn’t going to happen over night. The meeting went really well, and I think we both came out of it with a good idea of how the site would work after that.
The second project meeting was at 10 and I was early (to make up for being late to my 9 o’clock?). This meeting was for a company wide project of which there would be Web announcements and possibly a page or two, but no real presence. I needed to attend to find out the scope of the project, so that I could outline how I would handle their needs. However, I probably won’t need to attend anymore until the project is nearly complete and I need to put up the announcements.
At 11, I remembered that I hadn’t finalized my class notes for today, and so I prepared what I would be talking about in more depth. Then I went to lunch.
Everyday after lunch, I teach a class on how to build our Web site. We have three new developers on the team, and because we use a lot of proprietary software and development tools there is some learning to do. I expect this class to go on for the next few weeks until they are all comfortable with working on the Web site with our tools.
After class, I like to write up a summary of what we learned that day and send it out to the team. Then I write up notes for the next day’s class (unless I forget to — like today).
The afternoon is when I usually get the time to actually write HTML or program CGIs. Today however, the server decided to go down for about 5 minutes. While it wasn’t down very long, this still generates a lot of calls from all over the company as people hit the site right then and get a server error.
Creating Web Pages
After we got through the server „crisis“, I went back to working on some new pages that I want to have up by the end of next week. When I work on Web pages, I generally do all the writing, all the HTML, and most of the graphics. If there are forms or CGIs involved I write them as well.
At the end of the day, I like to read and answer Webmaster mail. We usually only get around 10 new messages a day, but a lot of them are really interesting to read and answer. The most common email is a report of a bad link. Because we have several thousand pages it’s really hard to keep up with all the links. We have a QE engineer who runs a link checking program over the site, but it can take several days to process and then another several days to verify and fix all the bad links. At that point, some of the good links have gone bad.
As usual, right when I get to a really long message from a customer with an interesting question or problem, my husband shows up to go home. Needless to say, we almost never leave on time.
So that is what it’s like to be a Webmaster.