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Theodore Lowe, Ap #867-859 Sit Rd, Azusa New York

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Especially when you are learning something new. Well, I want to tell you about one of the biggest mistakes I’ve made as a web developer. It was shortly after I had just finished learning web development and started my own business.

I had a client that wanted a website for their small business but they had no idea of what they wanted it to look like so they trusted everything to me. They gave me a vague description of what they wanted, access to their hosting account, and permission to make any changes to anything I saw fit.

It all started just fine. I came up with a few sketches for them to choose from and they picked a design. I made the front-end of the website beautifully, but then the back-end came for me. Remember, I had just finished learning web development so I had zero experience and wasn’t completely sure what the back-end did.

There was a particular form that was giving me some problems because I couldn’t get the information to save to the database so I thought it was something wrong with the way I had set it up. It racked my brain for days. Then I had this “brilliant” idea. I would drop everything in the database and start fresh.

What I didn’t know (or check for) was if there was other information in that database. Unfortunately there was. They already had over 100 email addresses in that database and I had just erased them all. I got a pretty angry call a day after that happened. They were livid.

I did some research and I found a way to recover all of those emails and was able to appease my client. Then things just kept breaking. Apparently there were some things in that database that controlled how the website was displayed to different people. So now the website didn’t work!

I had successfully “bricked” an entire website. Nothing on the pages loaded correctly, some of the JavaScript wasn’t running at the right time, and it was just a big mess. I don’t think I had ever seen someone so mad at me before, but I completely understood why.

In the end, I fixed the website at no cost and it turned out about as good as I thought it would. Not great, but not terrible. To this day I think about that client every time I work on a website. It was a hard lesson to learn but I learned it pretty fast.

All I really needed to do was ask a few questions about that form submission, but since I was so new to web development I didn’t even know what the problem was. If I had found a community or a network that would have been more responsive that problem could have been prevented.

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