The Joy of Recoding a Website

June 15, 2010

I find it interesting how much enjoyment I get out of taking a site that is a W3C nightmare, filled with unnecessary javascript and misused tables, and converting it into cleaner more valid code.

Recoding a website is a great exercise and also a great way to learn. I have often found a new way of doing something or a neat jQuery implementation, which I probably would not be exposed to otherwise. Of course, the flip side to this is that recoding a site also exposes you to some of the completely unnecessary and crazy things done by web designers.

However, and this is where much of my enjoyment comes from, you don’t actually have to decipher the crazy Frontpage Table/Javascript implementation when recoding a website. Instead, you get to take advantage of the CSS box model and build it how it should have been done in the first place.

As an aside, I myself am not immune, of course, and there are certainly examples of code that I am not proud of and that doesn't make it to the portfolio. I feel that this is generally the exception though.

While recoding is very rewarding, it is often a largely unsung job. That is to say, from the clients perspective, the site is exactly the same. They aren’t going to be able to see or understand most of the changes, such as the 50% reduction in file size. Nor will they likely be able to appreciate the clever implementation of the design, share your amusement at how the other “webdesigner” implemented a:hover in javascript, the improvements to SEO, or how disabling javascript/flash no longer breaks the site.

This doesn’t bother me though or really reduce my enjoyment though, as I know and that makes a big difference.

With that said, recoding isn’t always an option, perhaps due to cost, complexity, or lack there of. However, I try to do it whenever warranted, especially when moving a new hosting client from their old host.


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