Editing websites has never been more time-consuming

man with clockYesterday I was given a task to replace the logos on 5 websites. Something that should have been a quick and simple task. But here’s the steps I had to go through for each website: 

  • Check out files from the repo (we currently use SVN) to have a working copy.
  • Export the database from the live server so I have a working copy – however this was fraught with problems because the config file from the repo didn’t necessarily match the live config file, so the name of the database might have been old – meaning I had to check the config file from the server to find the accurate database.
  • Import the database to my local mysql (I use phpmyadmin).
  • Update my local config file to point to the database.
  • Run npm install. Takes a few minutes.
  • Run bower install. Takes a few minutes.
  • Run gulp setup. Takes a few seconds.
  • Run gulp.

Finally after all that I can edit the sass and ready to upload. But even that takes time, because I have to:

  • Find the password & SFTP details for the account
  • Set up a profile in Filezilla (which I hate but don’t know a decent alternative).
  • Navigate the path on the server in Filezilla, and also to the project directory locally (I know it seems pedantic me even mentioning this step, but it’s another irritating thing that takes time).

And finally I can upload the files.

All this seems to take a long time, and also seems unnecessary, especially when it’s such a small job. And doing this for multiple websites just got my head spinning.

You could argue of course that I’ll only have to do much of this once per project ever, and the next time I edit it’ll all be setup – but in a month I’ll have a new computer so will have to do all these things again.

ugly but useful trumps pretty but pointless
SEE ALSO: Ugly but usful trumps pretty but pointless

I won’t complain too hard, because many of these steps (npm, bower, gulp) allow me to use SASS, which is an excellent improvement on plain CSS. But still I question whether all this extra time is worth it.

My ideal situation I think would be a CMS that’s totally cloud-based. Editing HTML in the browser, editing SASS in the browser, and compiles SASS into CSS right there in the browser (like CodePen does). Maybe even allowing you to choose your language, HTML or HAML? SCSS or LESS, it’ll compile it on the fly into minified CSS without the time-consuming setup on a local computer.

I know this isn’t an ideal solution, because cloud-based means HTML is being stored in a database, and can’t be versioned in GIT or SVN – but if it could, the time it’d save would be amaaaaazzzziiiiing! 😀