So you want to be a WebDeveloper?

This Blog Post was originally published on

Recently somebody contacted me on behalf of a customer of my freelance business. I was asked if I could help out as they were reworking the customers' website.

I think I've written about that particular customer in the past, but here is a brief overview: years back I've implemented a small website with a customer relationship management backend. Basically, there is a site where you can request a quote and the people in the office get the request for it, prepare it through the website and can send it.
There is also the functionality to update some texts and appointments on the page. Nothing special, but a great learning project for me back in the day (if I remember correctly it was around 2014 / 2015). Obviously, the PHP code I've written is way outdated and I'm wondering that it's still running nowadays (it is still PHP 5.6 or something).

So I was wondering how they were reworking the website? The customer doesn#t have access to the source code and to the hosting environment. Well, technically they have access (I've sent them the password way back), but they clearly didn't access it.

My idea then was to ask what and how they are working on it and what they would need from me. Turns out the customer wants to change some font on the site and generally rework the layout. But the person contacting me had a problem with changing the font and embedding a video.

At that point, I was already suspicious because it sounded like the person doing the redesign doesn't have a plan of web development or Webdesign in general.

Fast forward I now know they are using a free website builder to "click together" a new website. I mentioned it should be easy to embed a font via CSS as long it would be made for the web and the licence would allow it.

Back comes one of the greatest sentences which fully supported my thought that the person doing it doesn't have a plan: "Soweit ich das mitbekommen habe, ist der Website-Builder auch mit CSS kompatibel." which translates to "As far as I know the website builder is also compatible with CSS".

What this sentence tells me (and my coworkers which I asked if they share the same thought) is that the person doing the rework 1. doesn't know about the CRM system, 2. has no idea of HTML/CSS. I'm not going to blame the person for not knowing what is running, but I'm going to blame the customer for using the daughter of an employee (probably without pay) to rework the website.

I've been telling the customer for years that we need to redo the website and it is really risky to leave it running with that old PHP version. But things that cost money don't get done.

Since I want to kill off my hosting business anyway (it doesn't pay for itself so I will need to shut it down and only host my own stuff) it will be fun to talk to the customer in person. I think I will bring it up along this line: "Great that you're finally reworking the website, I want to shut down my hosting business anyway by next year so [the person that contacted] me can fully take over". I wonder what the reaction will be.

Subscribe to Philipp Haidenbauer | Blog

Don’t miss out on the latest issues. Sign up now to get access to the library of members-only issues.