Finger pointing only gets you a sore finger…

As a corollary to my last post about the web developer who didn’t understand all the ramification of DNS, here is what happened a few days later:

Customer calls – she’s having trouble with her web site.

OK – what kind of trouble.

Apparently when viewing her site in SSL (https://) the site shows errors, but only in IE. The developer told her he could fix it, but he’s afraid to do anything after what we said to him about DNS. He’s sure if he had control of DNS he could fix it, but since we recommended against it, the error is our fault, and hence our problem.

I had to run that one through mentally a couple of times to get to the point where it made logical sense. Nope. It never did.

I open the site in IE, and yes, the site gives the “do you want to view unsecure items” error. Great, this should be easy. Probably just a graphic being called explicitly as http instead of relationally so it shows up in the context of the URL. A quick scan of the site doesn’t reveal any graphics not being called in https, so I close and re-open the browser, and this time select no, I don’t want unsecure items. This time most of the site is gone. Could it be that easy?

Yes, viewing source reveals that it can be that easy. The very top of the page revealed that the developer called all his CSS using explicit http instead of relational links. So, when in SSL, all the style wasn’t secure. I explained the problem, pointed out the couple of changes that needed to be made, and sent a reply to the customer and her developer.

All in all it was a 15 minute issue, but again I was unimpressed by the fact that it was our problem. Even if the developer sent that statement directly to me I would have been OK with it, but instead he told the customer something that could lead to the impression that an action we took or failed to take was impacting her ability to do business.

Remember, every day is an opportunity to network. The next time someone asks me for a web developer, you bet I’ll remember this guy’s name, but I also won’t recommend him. Each professional interaction you have should be viewed as an interview / opportunity to get more work, and should be treated with that level of professionalism. Our entire industry benefits…

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