This past week I accomplished a major goal: a website that I’ve been working on for fourteen months has finally launched.
Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the AuthorMapper.
It’s a great feeling, when you’ve worked for something for so long, to finally have it, well, DONE. The idea for the AuthorMapper came to me while I was discussing the possibilities of a new piece of software, an XML content server, with a colleague in Heidelberg in October of 2007. The first recorded email I have about it is from November 2, 2007. All told, I have over 500 emails in my “AuthorMapper” folder, spanning fourteen months.
And this Monday it went live.
I really don’t know the last thing that I worked on that took so long to create. The only things that spring to mind are things like my MBA, my undergrad degree, and my first marriage. Part of the problem was that I needed a fair sum of money to buy the software, that took two months to get authorized, and another two months before the contract was finally signed (welcome to big company culture). Then we needed to find developers who could actually make the damn thing, we were lucky on that score and that took hardly any time at all. But it took seven months from the time that the final development was done, in June of 2008, until the site went live.
“Why Brian, please tell us why, we’re dying to know!” I can hear you all saying.
Well, more bureaucracy. I had to wait until the end of September to get authorization to set up the hosting environment, and then it was decided that we would host it internally. New machines needed to be bought (which took three weeks to get the order out the door), delivered (two weeks), configured (another three weeks), then we hit the holidays, and then we had to do testing.
The good news is, for everything we do from now on (that uses this development environment), we don’t have to do any of that stuff again.
Fourteen months. I really can’t believe it. And now it’s live.
So everyone, humor me and give me something to see as I obsessively check the Google Analytics for the site and go and play around with it. The site is basically a data-mining tool for scientific articles (over 3.4 million of them!) and has lots of pretty bar charts and graphs and even a Google map. If you’re into scientific publishing, it’s really quite cool. If you’re not, then just click some of the buttons and type in random stuff in the search box.