Casting Now

Testimonial

Rated 5.0 out of 5

Ben did a fantastic job of helping us work out technical issues and handle support tickets. He was always quick to respond and fix problems that arose from the system. He proposed some great changes to the website that allowed better auditing, user management, admin features and security. We are very happy with the work done by Ben and he has been great to work with. The changes he introduced have saved us hours answering support tickets and we now have reply templates, which was another great idea to make us more productive.

Sara Damergi

Project Summary

Casting Now had a custom-built talent casting website, and they required ongoing technical support. My collaboration encompassed resolving existing issues, assisting their customer service department, and planning future website developments. The website audit led to enhanced security measures being implemented, better website user experience, and streamlined administrative tasks to save time.

Company Introduction

Casting Now serves as a platform for casting opportunities, connecting talents with potential roles. While the website was functional, it faced security, user experience, code efficiency and administrative support challenges.

Project Objectives

  • Provide ongoing technical support to resolve website issues
  • Enhance website security and user experience
  • Implement features for better website administration and user management
  • Streamline code for easier maintenance and updates
  • Introduce an organised development roadmap in JIRA that tracks code changes for a given JIRA issue

Technologies Used

  • PHP 7.4
  • Implemented SSL for website security
  • Google Analytics
  • Google Tag Manager
  • Google Data Studio
  • Akismet API
  • JIRA
  • Bitbucket

Results

My collaboration with Casting Now resulted in a better website that reduced web form spam with a custom-built spam-blocking system. I helped with the migration to SSL across the website, ensuring all resources were loaded over HTTPS.

The custom PHP development of the user blocking system, spam filtering, fixing bugs, improving security and providing support significantly helped Casting Now for several years.

Fixing code bugs helped reduce support tickets and improve user experience. Auditing the system allowed me to produce a development roadmap where improvements were slowly added.

Challenges and Limitations

The website’s initial state presented several challenges, including repeated PHP code across files, no templates, so the header and footer were copied across all pages, making maintenance very difficult, lacking modular features, and security vulnerabilities.

There was no version control setup for the code, which meant it was impossible to track code changes. I implemented JIRA and Bitbucket into the code before any changes were done. This allowed me to document the development roadmap in JIRA and any code changes were done as a pull request. This made it easy to see what code changes were done for each task.

No automated code tests existed for the application, which meant that any change had to be manually tested, which took significant time and organisation. This would have been great to add to the development workflow using Continuous Integration and Deployment and ensure the code passes all unit and feature tests before being deployed to production.

Addressing the issues and shortcomings that were identified in the website required an extensive and thorough examination of the website’s code. The code is the backbone of the website; it determines how it functions and is structured. Therefore, any problems or inefficiencies in the website can often be traced back to issues in the code.

This comprehensive review involved going through the code line by line, identifying any parts that were outdated, inefficient, or causing errors. This can often be a time-consuming process, as it requires a deep understanding of the coding language and methodology used in the website.

Once the issues in the code were identified, the next step was to restructure it. This involves rewriting parts of the code to fix issues and improve efficiency. This is about fixing problems and making the code more efficient, readable, and maintainable. It also involves implementing new features and functionalities to make the website more user-friendly and effective.

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