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Cobblers' Children's Shoes

This old phrase refers to the 'make do and mend' root cause explaining why children of cobblers walk around in knackered old shoes. The point being that the scenario is broadly applicable outside the footwear sector.

Old Sub@omic website affectionately known as Helvellyn

My Great-Grandfather Was A Cobbler in Luton

His shop, that Granny grew-up living above, was on the corner of Kenilworth Road in Luton. I never asked her when she was alive but I now begin to wonder whether the phrase "Cobblers' Childrens' Shoes" really did apply to Granny's footwear - especially as I have, in recent years, become aware that the phrase most certainly applies to web designers' websites.

Make do and mend

Because a cobbler could repair shoes rather than buy new ones, cobblers' children are said to have walked around in shoes that were (perhaps) a little past their sell by date. Because a web designer can make running repairs to their own website, they will - and I did.

The website that you're looking at now is a well-overdue replacement for the site we affectionately called Helvellyn because of the photo used on the background of the website which I shot from the top of Helvellyn in the Lake District. The shot itself has to be about 10 years old because the web design website was retired after 7 years of service. The reason for the retirement wasn't that it didn't work (the site topped Google for most of its 7 years) but that the web design sector has moved on so much since the original website was built that Helvellyn no longer stood as an example of what Sub@omic Limited could technically achieve. It did 7 years ago but, then again, a year is a long time online.

Proudly crafted, not cobbled

When the web design website was originally built I was rather proud of my ability to change the background image from that of Helvellyn as and whenever I fancied and not impact the look and feel of the website because of the way I'd used the 'new' CSS property of z-index to layer the website and anchor two semi-transparent GIFs to the top left and bottom right of the website to give a characteristic brand shape. Things, however, move on and although the website was still quick to load and easy to navigate, it didn't reflect the level of work the business was outputting.

7 years down the line and CSS has marched on and the new standard CSS3, one that's now widely supported by the latest versions of all web browsers, now allows us to achieve the same round corner effect that I was so proud to have achieved all those years ago with a few simple bits of code instead of two thumping great big GIFs. Regardless of how fast coding standards moved I kept on tinkering with my own website in between Customers' paying jobs which, after all, come first.

3 years in development

The new Sub@omic website (we call it Merlin) is now live, thankfully and, like its predecessor, is an expression of what we're capable of. Lets hope it lasts just as long but, should it need replacing, The very last thing I want to have to do is spend another 3 years building its replacement.

Merlin took 3 years to design, develop, build and launch. That's not because I'm slow it's because the website of a web designer is treated the same way as a car mechanic's car, or a hairdresser's haircut or a central heating engineer's boiler. When you're working on other people's websites on a daily basis, it appears that the last thing you want to do is come home and start work on your own.

Practicing what we preach

Not only did the website have to be a shop window for our work but we also felt that it had to do everything we tell our Customers their websites should do. Secondly, it was only right that we put ourselves through the same web design process that we put our Customers through and we can now honestly say we now know what it's like.

The website has challenged us, squeezed us, frustrated us, inspired us and given us moments of genuine pure joy. However, we're glad it's now over. I'm very much indebted to the Customers of ours that have patiently waited for their tweaks and changes whilst we've been working on this website before, during and after Christmas.

We hope you like Merlin

We really hope you like Merlin. This website is us expressing everything we think a website should be and we'd love to learn your thoughts whether your comments be positive or negative - all feedback is good feedback after all.

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