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ajt (2546)

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UK based. Perl, XML/HTTP, SAP, Debian hacker.

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Journal of ajt (2546)

Saturday April 26, 2003
04:55 AM

Project Hell (rant.....)

[ #11855 ]

I'm in project Hell. My manager, a nice enough chap, isn't technical and doesn't listen to what I say, and so makes the wrong decisions. He also doesn't understand that when I say X can't be done, I mean X can't be done. That's not to say that Y may not do what he wants..... Annoyingly, when I say X can't be done he tells me "To Think Outside The Box", which I find highly insulting.

Because of other problems, today I'm forced to work, unpaid on my Saturday morning to try and publish the web site. It's basic stuff, Apache with a Perl templating system, and I simply use wget to grab all the pages off one Linux box, and save them as static files on another one. However there we run into more problems......

The original (mine that is) site design was simple XHTML, with valid XHTML, clean CSS, and virtually no JavaScript. The Perl (AxKit like) templating worked a treat, and everything worked fine, and I'd tested publishing several times, without a problem. The new design (which I've had virtually no input) has been done by a graphic artist who thinks ASP is a programming language. The result is a mire of invalid XHTML, really bad CSS, and unnecessary JavaScript all over the place - frankly it's a pile of steaming crap. It looks nice so my manager is happy, but it takes me hours to fix the HTML without breaking the design, and worst of all the publishing fails because of all the JavaScript crap.

The problem is the designer, who is also a nice chap, is a fine-artist by training, uses Dreamweaver as his tool, and doesn't really understand XHTML, CSS or JavaScript. He doesn't understand Apache/Linux/Perl/SSH/HTTP or any of the underlying bits that make things work. He makes nice pretty pages in Dreamweaver without any understanding of the consequences, and as my boss likes to talk to him as he mostly says "yes", as I tend to say "no that's bad".

To be honest I dislike the site far more that it deserves to be disliked. Part of this as my ideas for simple/elegant XHTML/CSS have been replaced with bandwidth destroying, CPU grinding JavaScript, and part is because it's been so painful to do, I will not be going to the pub for a pint when it's done...

And for my sins, I've even parsed XML with a regular expression. My boss doesn't understand, he thinks it's great, I'll scream if he tells me one more time that I do magic. He thinks that coding is something I do without standards, principles, or effort.

This rant is now over, I feel much better. I do enjoy my job, well the Perl/XML bits, and the web crumbs I'm left with. I don't think my boss is a bad manager either, just not suited for this role. The Dreamwever guy is actually a good guy too, I even feel his pain when people mess up his graphics....

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  • Try asking him whether he'd like his car serviced in such a slapdash manner next time he asks you to do work in a non-prefessional way. I'd bet he'd just lurve to find out that one of spark plugs was missing because the garage was out of stock...


    • Interesting idea.....

      He get's annoyed when I say it's not possible to something, yet when I say "x" is a critical security hole he doesn't even bat an eye-lid. He really genuinely believes that Microsoft make "good" software and that they are quick at fixing bugs and defects.

      He terrifies some of the SAP people by suggesting we replace components of a SAP system we've already paid an awful lot for with "friendly" Excel databases....... He's not malicious or nasty, he simply isn't technical.

      -- "It's not magic, it's work..."
      • Would it help to ask him to demonstrate how to do something? I don't mean that you should be sarcastic or malicious. If you can pull off the wide-eyed innocence thing, though, that might work.

        "Boss, I don't understand what you mean. Can you show me how you would do it? I don't see as much of the big picture as you do and I'd really like to know the best way to do things."

        I probably couldn't get away with that. I've a hard time understanding why someone would hire me for my technical skills and then

        • Considering I have to show him how to use Excel, I don't think it would have the effect one would hope. I know he has an good idea of the company and it's goals, but to him even a Word Macro is "Magic".

          -- "It's not magic, it's work..."