Unshelved comic strip for 11/6/2004

How Not to Upgrade a Website

  1. When you release the first version of the software, don't store a lot of data. Assume you can infer it when you upgrade.
  2. Don't backup your data
  3. Don't fully test on your development machine
  4. Promise the site will be back up in less than an hour

Well anyway, it's back up. Sorry if you tried to shop this afternoon. My addition of a (very cool) payment handling system to the store brought the whole thing down. It took hours to piece it all together. Don't try this at home.

In the process of doing the upgrade I realized that PayPal had been charging Washington state customers for sales tax after we had already done so. We aren't any more. We will refund those few affected in the near future.

Any regrets about building my own ecommerce site? Oddly, no. It's a lot of work, but it gives me so much control that it's worth the blood, sweat, and tears. At least so far.

The Check is in the Mail

One of the most time-consuming parts of our store has been mail orders. When someone pays by PayPal everything about the order is added to our database - what they ordered, where to send it, and who paid. But with mail orders I needed to painstakingly enter that information by hand. Sometimes that's several dozen orders worth of data entry. I'm lucky if I don't make any mistakes.

Now that's a thing of the past. I'm pleased to say that the final piece of our store engine - the mail order handler - is in place. Now if you want to send us a check you just order online like normal. But instead of paying by PayPal you just send us a check with an order number. When I get said check I just type in the order number and press "Paid" and everything is taken care of.

I know, I know - not a big deal. But it makes my life a better place.

This Unshelved strip

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