Jens Oliver Meiert

How Can We Make Website Maintenance Work More Visible?

Post from April 24, 2019 (↻ May 29, 2021), filed under .

The maintenance and maintainability of websites is a much neglected topic. That’s an observation that has prompted me to compile yet two maintainability guides, guides that are surely not all we can document about the subject. It’s a problematic observation, too, because: We cannot not maintain.

Why is maintenance, why is maintainability so neglected?

Given said “law,” that one cannot not maintain, maintenance will not actually be neglected—our efforts and learnings here may just not be visible, and therefore not get documented well.

To turn things around, therefore, the question may be: How can we make website maintenance work more visible, and with our observations improve maintainability?

And some possible answers pop into our minds: Document the tasks we perform, document major issues and decisions, document the time we invest in maintenance.

Especially in high-performance environments, this is neither convenient nor easy to do, and therefore not tempting to even start doing. Which may explain a good part of the visibility problem.

Yet—increasing visibility is what may need to be done if we ever want to draw impactful lessons from our combined maintenance efforts. Therefore, to leave no stone unturned, for everyone:

What can we do to make website maintenance work more visible?

Perhaps we can gather lessons and ideas through something like #webmaintenance.

The story of Prince Valiant’s part in the capture of Sir Negarth and the slaying of the sea monster so interested the warrior king that he bade Sir Gawain bring the lad to his chambers on the morrow.

Figure: Physical maintenance. (Copyright King Features Syndicate, Inc., distr. Bulls.)

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About Me

Jens Oliver Meiert, on April 29, 2020.

I’m Jens Oliver Meiert, and I’m an engineering manager and author. I’ve worked as a technical lead for Google, I’m close to the W3C and the WHATWG, and I write and review books for O’Reilly. Other than that, I love trying things, sometimes including philosophy, art, and adventure. Here on I share some of my views and experiences.

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Perhaps my most comprehensive book: The Web Development Glossary (2020). With explanations and definitions for literally thousands of terms from Web Development and related fields, building on Wikipedia as well as the MDN Web Docs. Available at Apple Books, Kobo, Google Play Books, and Leanpub.

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