Project maintenance

Let me post something that involves a bit of the Web 2.0 hype 🙂 !

Today several websites offer some kind of free ‘social’ service, that can be used by the general public. Very nice things are available for the web-generation !! Some examples :

* Grou.ps
* Del.icio.us
* Google calendar

The list is long…

But there is one GREAT drawback with all this Web 2.0 stuff : it are actually all programming projects, that need to be maintained, tested and if needed updated or enhanced !!
This means that people need to be involved and keep track of possible bugs ! This takes time and effort… so for some ‘free’ ‘opensource’ websites, this can be a pain in the a**, if not impossible !

On the other hand, some guys are doing a fine job and let me put some of these guys in front and give them the credit they deserve ! It seems a coincidence, but last week I had several problems with serveral online services/websites.
First thing to do in such an event is search the site for some way to contact the webadmin, programmer or support. If you can’t find a contact, maybe there are other options, like online support forums…

But the best thing is presenting the problem to the original owner.

Let us begin with : Grou.ps, they offer a great tool to ‘group’ people together in a ( pun intended ) group ! One of the main features is the option to add locations using Google maps and here I had an issue ! I live in Belgium and only recently Google maps was updated with a street level detail of our country ( since version 2.x ), but Grou.ps isn’t yet upgraded ! So I posted the problem on the website and voila even after one day I got feedback, stating they are looking into this and are aware they need to upgrade the Google maps software plugin ! The even created an internal bug ticket, how sweet !!

Secondly, I use PMetrics on my blog to keep statistics of the users that come and read the feeds ! They had an upgrade of their software so that it is usable as a Sidebar Widget in WordPress, a cool feature ! But when I switch on this feature, the statistics fail and aren’t visible anymore for the public… also here I posted an error report on the public forum. Again one day after the post I received a personal message with detailed questions to help the developer to search and solve the problem. Even a response was posted back on the forum !!

Last but not least, I follow several Wing Chun ( Wing Tsun, Wing Tsjun ) sites to read about this fine martial arts sport… and there is one that comes out a bit special : the Wing Chun Archive. It states that the site is a ‘collection’ of all information, schools, peoples and media about the art ! Of course this can’t be achieved without the help of a supporting audiance ! So I gave it a test and used the ‘suggestion’ form to add a new Cantonese translation… for the third time in a row, I got a response the next day !! The new phrase was added and the webadmin gave me a feedback on the update… The Wing Chun stance Yee Gee Kim Yeung Ma was added.

Well to be honest, I was very suprised by the hard work and commitment I got from these websites… this makes those services all the more enjoyable and I hope they keep up the good work !

Update: Seems Michel doesn’t like the Web deux point zero hype ;), well all I can tell is that he is right in stating that the ‘real’ web 2.0 isn’t new… But today people are more focused on the subject and try to integrate more, that gives us great new services !

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