DWPG.Com - Web Developers worse than hackers and viruses?
By: Sverre Sjøthun

"Development staff are now a bigger threat to website uptime than hackers and viruses combined, according to data taken from 70 leading sites over a nine-week period." reports vunet.com.

The survey was conducted by Attenda consulting agency, and they further states that "Then, as soon as you see the developers logging on again, the trouble starts."

Our point of view is quite different, though. Having worked in one of the biggest ASP(Application Service Provider) environments in Norway for about a year, and at the IT dept. at Statoil, one of the leading oil corporations in the world, for two years, I am convinced that this is mainly caused by increased traffic to the sites and on the networks.

Yes, it is true that we had most problems on Mondays, but in both instances, it is also true that the traffic on Mondays far exceeded that of any other day of the week.

They also point out that the periods with least problems are on public holidays, Christmas and New Year. Because the developers are on holiday. Again, I'm convinced that this in fact mainly has to do with decreased traffic in the holiday, not triggerhappy developers and network administrators.

In all corporations I have worked for, thorough testing has been done on development servers before going in production. Of course, there will always be companies that implement features directly on production servers without testing first. If these companies are among those in the survey, then I'm not surprised by the result, but any company with a competent technical staff and good routines will know much better than that.

As Neal Gandhi of Attenda says - "However, you still get managers who don't understand the technology and want changes implemented yesterday. If it goes wrong it's the developer that ends up with egg on the face."

If the problems is in fact caused by a developer implementing an untested feature on a production server, then the problem is not the developer, it's the lack of routines to prevent that from happening and it's the lack of a management that understand the problems involved.

When dealing with tens of thousands of users, be it in a network environment, or a website like DWPG.Com, always make sure to test before implementation. Failing to do so will, almost without exception, result in loss of revenue, and that is certainly something a company cannot afford.

Sverre Sjøthun

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