PECTOPAH is in the process of going through three website upgrades for three different software setups. Not re-designs but upgrades – the front-end facing site won’t undergo any changes (hopefully), but the back-end system will be upgraded, and security patches applied. Basically dusting it off, looking in those dark corners you’ve been fearing and putting a polish on it for the next time.
So we find ourselves asking, are they worth all the effort?
The short answer is yes.
Security – Let’s face it, it is annoying that we have to worry about this stuff, but we do and best just get it out of the way. Old software is easy pickings for hackers.
New Features – Now that we’ve got security out of the way, we can see what new things the upgrades can give us. There is always something useful that can provide a new front-end feature.
Performance – This is a nice bonus too. Slow websites can see an uptake in speed. Things will just be a bit zippier.
Forward Facing Protocols – You are ready for next upgrade and the upgrades of all the third-party services that you connect with across this wonderful web of ours. For more on this see the yes, but section below.
The longer answer is yes, but …
You have to keep on top of them. The more updates you let slide the harder it becomes to do the updates. If it has been awhile since you’ve done an upgrade, budget for the time it takes to actually upgrade everything; add half that time for the first round of fixes; another round at the same amount of time; and then half that for polishes and cleaning. Make them a line item in your budget.
And you have to do them quick. Once you start an upgrade, get it done. Otherwise, the upgrades will start pilling up and you don’t want production and staging getting too out of whack.
Back to the original question,
While sometimes upgrades just seem like a clever trick to separate us from our money in exchange for fast, shining things. Those fast, shining things have really improved over the years. On the weekend, we were reminded of how far upgrades have taken us.
Mike, one of the principles of PECTOPAH, who has been working, on and off (25 years total, 8 on, 12 off, 5 on) in the Toronto film industry as a camera assistant had work in Montreal to prep a show that was actually shooting on film – not digital – FILM. He had to go to Montreal because that is the only place in Canada where they process film anymore. He wanted to dig up an old Excel spreadsheet he used to do film inventory. He finally tracked it down on an old Macbook 520 from the mid-90s. He got a floppy (yes, he still had floppies), transferred the file to that. then pulled out a USB floppy drive and plugged that into his current computer. The file opened in Excel and the formulas were intact.
It was beautiful to think how far we had come. It was great that a file from the past could be opened in the present. And that was a result of upgrades.
And remember, the more you do them, the easier they get.