The story of 7 glyphs website

When in 2013 I have registered 7 glyphs agency it was absolutely clear the agency needs a website. Even though the agency offers mobile and web applications development services to the clients by that time there were no time and resources to build the website in house as we were very busy with the client work.

As for the website I was thinking to make it static hosted somewhere on AWS S3. But considering time and resource constraints we had that time I’ve made a decision to do something very quickly, launch it and come back to our own hand crafted solution later.

Wordpress seemed to be a good solution as we have strong experince in building websites using Wordpress.

Our designer was extremely busy and as a quick intermediate solution we have bought a theme from Theme Forrest, did a quick redesign of the theme, setup theme and all the plugins and launched our website in about three weeks time. The website looked good and worked in this state for almost 4 years.

However I wasn’t happy about that solution and the initial idea of static website stayed in my head for a very long time. I wanted to go away from Wordpres asap due to the following reasons:

  • Our website does not update very often. Portfolio is the only one section which updates about 4–5 times a year. I beleive Wordpress is a bit of overkill for the websites with that update frequency.

Even though we have quite a strong experince in Wordpress development our technology stack moved from Wordpress to ReactJS, Angular, Meteor, Laravel, etc. We offer our clients Wordpress pretty rare nowadays.

Time was moving fast and we were busy with everyday work and our main focus — the business development.

In 2015 our designer Saha got some time and designed the new website. The design was exactly like I wanted our website to look like.

Considering all issues we faced with Wordpress I have made a descision to make the website static. Being extermly busy with our current clients I have decided to ask our web development partner to build the website for us. We discussed design, technologies, cost and deadline and the work has been started. I was very excited. My partner convinced me to build the website using BackboneJS. I didn’t mind that at all as I trusted the partner a lot and I didn’t really mind what technology will be used as long as it follows our requirements.

In about 3 months since the website work has been started we won a big project we were pitching for. The project included UX, design and developmet for iOS, Android, backend and web frontend. I asked the partner if they have capacity to help us with the frontend work for the new client. Unfortunately there were no resources at all and we have decided to move resources from 7 glyphs website to the client project. The 7 glyphs website work has been frozen.

The client project took us about 6 months and during that time there were other work in the pipeline. By that time the web partner has lost BackboneJS resource and there were no one to finish 7 glyphs website. After long discussion wih the partner we have decided to rewrite the website from scratch using React.

After few months when the work shoud have been finished I have asked the partner to give us access to the current dev version to have a look. Unfortunately it was far way behind even the half of the scope. I have shown the code to our inhouse React developer and he gave a very bad review of the website’s code.

That was the beginning of 2016. I have decided to stop working with that partner and rewrite the website from scratch again but inside the team.
The idea was to do a markup first and then build website using Meteor — another popular JavaScript framework. Markup took us just 2 weeks of programming and 1 week of bug fixing working full time. After that we have started building wesbite unsing Meteor. We have completed about 70% of the website using Meteor.

Then at some point in late 2016 we had a good project in the pipline which we would need to pitch for. It was clear enough we need to have a new website before we start pithing it and we wouldn’t be able to finish it in Meteor. I have made a descision to spend 2 days to manually build static website using previously developed markup, deploy it to S3 and then finish Meteor version without rushing to much.

The whole team was set to complete this task and we did it pretty well. After 2 days a new website was running and we slowed down a bit with the website moving back to client projects.

Then later in the end of 2016 we hired another frontend developer and as a entry task I have given him to finish our website. He looked at everything we did so far and found few issues in the Markup and Meteor version of the website. He also convinced me to rebuild website again using React as we do the majority of work for our clients in React anyway.

Yes, I wanted to try different technologies and our website looked like a good project to test those technologies but to be honest by that time I was completely tired with the website. I asked new developer if he could do that work within 2 weeks time I will be fine to rebuild the website.

And he did the job amazingly well. After 2 weeks time we have redeployed website written with React with fixed markup and with data files. Exactly as I wanted to be done in the very beginning.

So now we have an easy way to change the website content by editing static data files, build website with npm and publish it to S3. This seems to work really well so far.

It was a long journey and we leraned a lot.

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茶 ॐ  🎮 | CEO at 7 glyphs — the number one mobile and web development studio in New Zealand 🇳🇿 | CTO at Vibe Media | iOS Developer | Father of 👦🏼 & 👧🏻

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Igor Anany

茶 ॐ  🎮 | CEO at 7 glyphs — the number one mobile and web development studio in New Zealand 🇳🇿 | CTO at Vibe Media | iOS Developer | Father of 👦🏼 & 👧🏻