This post was uploaded to the original ResExcellence on 5/29/2000. The process differs today, as the staff is completely different and the CMS behind the new site makes maintenance, editing and uploading content infinitely quicker and easier than 12 years ago. But I thought it worth reposting this as it’s an interesting read!
Here in the United States, most businesses are shut down in honor of Memorial Day. While the staff of ResExcellence is relaxing with a well deserved day off, today this page will describe the routine involved for the publishing of one day’s update to this site.
Currently, there are four editors maintaining ResExcellence. Ilona handles Icons and Desktops, Cletus is the Software Man, Jeremy posts the Snapshots, and I cover the remaining sections. For each of us, the site is not our main source of income. We have other jobs, other interests, and we do this because we enjoy it.
While I once met Cletus for dinner when a meeting brought him to the area, the rest of the gang have never met face to face, yet I’m sure we all consider each other close friends. We’re spread out across the country from Florida to Chicago, Pennsylvania and Virginia.
For me the process starts the day before with the preparation of the User Contributions. Each one is unstuffed and opened in ResEdit to check the resources. If the file is a replacement PICT image, I use Applescripts that are located in OSA Menu to open Photoshop and create preview gifs of the appropriate size. Once the previews and html pages are complete, I move on to the latest hack or Linux tutorial. Fortunately for me, I have an hour and fifteen minute round trip train ride to and from work. This is when most of my preparation takes place.
The same is true for Ilona, Cletus, and Jeremy. During the day, they are also busy preparing preview images, writing html, and scouring the internet looking for cool items for readers.
Every night before an update, the four of us meet at 9:00 pm in an AOL Instant Messenger chat room. Here we kick around the latest news and discuss any possible posting conflicts. For example, if Iconographer is updated who gets the post, Ilona (Icon Editor) or Cletus (Software Editor)? A quick game of Quake III settles the dispute.
Sometimes a Snapshot may show a little too much flesh. Is it reasonable to post? Is this latest MOSS screen an interpretation of another submitters work, or a blatant rip off? Should this piece of software make it into the archive? These are all topics we hammer out as the evening wears on.
To make managing the work of four writers possible, the main page at ResExcellence is dynamically created based on several cgi scripts that read the separate html files of each writer, and create one large document. This allows each writer the freedom to update their section independently. If Cletus receives a last minute software announcement, he can update his section of the main page without affecting the content of the others.
By 11:00 pm, a test page is uploaded to the server so each writer can check to make sure his/her html is correctly compiled into the main page. Once everyone has signed off that their section is complete and ready, I upload the main index.shtml and the Midnight Prowlers get their first look at the new page.
The graphic displayed with this story shows what one update of ResExcellence looks like from top to bottom. In addition, there are at least another dozen pages that are added or updated to cover all the user contributions, sanpshot, icons, desktops, software, etc.
The next morning, we wake up and start all over again.
My best guess is that an average update is the work of 20 man-hours, and that doesn’t count the dozens of emails we answer each day. And while I would love to say we’ll all be millionaires with the IPO, the truth is that we would make as much working at McDonalds.
Needless to say, this site is a labor of love.
So join me by raising your glass and help me toast the staff at ResExcellence. They’re working hard to make your Mac look better, and work harder.