I had been working as a freelancer with them for a little over a year, so I knew exactly what I was getting into. Some very bad legacy code which was pieced together (and still holding fairly strong) with super glue and duct tape. When going through the code, I noticed numerous back doors into the site that a previous programmer had built in for "security reasons". AKA, in case they were banned, they would be able to make their way back into the site. Those were patched, and the user was banned. But here I was, owning a site and working with a bunch of people who I now call my friends with no idea the full vision.
So, my first order of duty was to bring the recode up into the foreground because the site wasn't really moving anywhere fast because I knew if this site was to be anything, the recode would bring a definite life to it.
Laravel was just breaking through the headlines on the PHP front when I had started working on the site. But not only that, I was just working through the framework at the time and was entirely overwelmed! There was so much going on, I knew it was all good and neat but just so much stuff! But, I managed to power through it. I started building the site up with Laravel 3. A month later I heard that Laravel 4 was getting ready to be launched and it had some fairly substantial changes in it (aka - don't bother even trying to upgrade, just re-implement (copy and paste code) and build it up that way.
I was a little hesitant, but decided it had to be for the best. That was when I was first introduced to "composer". I had always dreamed of a way to easily incorporate other open source work into my projects, but never really knew a way. This in itself was confusing! Finally I managed my way through that hump and then came the next releases of Laravel (4.1 and 4.2). These were fairly big. By this point in time, I had already really started to focus on coding lots of the features. There were things I felt were clunky but it worked. But something felt wrong.
When Laravel 5 came around, I decided to revisit the entire framework that I had thrown together to build IcePets version 2 (yes - a bit of a framework on top of the framework). So, I started from scratch again. This was ok because this time I knew it felt cleaner.
The last two years have been such a learning experience for me both technically and with leadership skills. Looking back when I had originally thought about my very lofty goal of finishing the IcePets recode in a year, I realize how oblivious I was. And, to be honest, I'm glad I didn't make that personal goal. The technical learnings that I have picked up through the multiple iterations through the code, has slowed down progress on the site, but it has also opened my mind to way more options which I never even thought was possible.
I would like to say thank you to both the IcePets.com staff members as well as all of our loyal members who stick with us through this recode. The best thing about the recode to me is the excitement it brings to me each and every time I think about it. There are so many opportunities for us to morph the site into something substantially better than it currenlty is. Once the recode is done, I think you will love the site and it will be a great place for all of us to bond as a community!
Thanks for reading!
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