• Off to a bad start
    November 05,2013

    Off to a bad start

    I just wanted to write because I keep hearing about all of the glitches on the Vermont Health Connect website. I have worked on many similar projects. Now I will say for $90 million the developers should have threw in a yacht, a mansion, and a new website for every business in the state. We should be expecting that there are going to be glitches, no one should be shocked.

    Why should we expect glitches? First off is there is no way to know how that website is going to react to people using it, until they are using it. Where are we going to get 10,000 beta testers? Databases and computer code react a lot differently when you have 60 people testing then when you have even 300 using it.

    Now when you try to put this onto a tight deadline it makes it even worse. Then the developers are under pressure to get things done fast, which results in short cuts, sloppy code, and a rush job. The best thing to do is to accept the fact that there are glitches. Every site has glitches, all you can do is fix them when they arise. Most of them are nobody’s fault. Complex sites require the coordination of several people, who all probably have a different code style.

    The browser companies update their software, security loopholes are discovered, depreciating code. It’s an ongoing battle to keep up with technology. There is a big difference between having a content management system built, then building a site that is going to have thousands of people using it. We are not dealing with something that has been around since the beginning of time. In 2003 web services were invented, so nobody has more than 10 years of experience in them. Even XML itself is having its 15th birthday this year.

    Patience and understanding from clients is key to producing quality. If I had a dollar for every time I had to explain that you need a lot more then $1,000 to produce a site like Facebook or Yahoo I would be a rich man. However, for even 1 percent of $90 million that site could have been produced right here in Vermont. We have paid enough to have an exchange built for every state, providence, and country, in the world. My only advice is to find someone a little better priced to handle the ongoing development of it or $90 million is just the beginning. The programmers in Virginia don’t know any more then the programmers here in Vermont, and at least if they are in Vermont you can drive over to their place and see how things are going. Would be a lot less of a risk, I have been to Virginia and worked with many people there. Vermonters are a lot smarter.

    John Anderson


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