About (narrative)

This is the long form narrative version of the About page. See my LinkedIn profile for the usual background information.

Minor revision 2012-10-16.

I am a web strategy and content development consultant with a focus in authoring and content development and management.

I have developed and managed many kinds of web-based activities as the frontend strategist and planner for a project, as a member of a developer team and as the manager of a developer's e-business strategy, usability and analytics consulting practice. In these roles, my goal is to be a trusted advisor to executives and business owners.

I have an extensive background in management consulting for companies such as AT&T and Xerox as well as the federal government; in marketing for companies such as Microsoft and Gandalf; and in web development for a wide variety of manufacturers, retailers and technology companies including Microsoft in Redmond and Canadian Tire in Toronto. He was the founding President of Canada's Unix trade association, UniForum, and a director for many years in the Canadian Society for the Advancement of Legal Technology. He is active in AIMS and Toronto Interacts trade associations.

I migrated professionally to the web some time ago having developed a web-based work methodology more than a decade ago. I started out building static web sites and using HTML for all content creation and production. With the transition to dynamic sites and then web applications and services, I moved with the transformation of the web through several stages beginning with e-business strategy and site design, and progressed through SEM and then strategy, usability, and web analytics and, of late, social networking. In having worked with a variety of commercial and open source CMS platforms, I have learned that there are patterns which underlie and can be implemented in any content and collaboration offering. This journey has given me a broad background in the businesses and technologies of the web and expertise in the strategy, architecture, design and management of web and content development for businesses.

When SharePoint 2007 arrived several years ago, I decided it was time to move from a home grown personal publishing platform to SharePoint. The idea of using SharePoint was more for its expected ubiquity. However, I found using the Enterprise version of SharePoint 2007 as a personal, project and workgroup platform an attractive but impractical option. In short, SharePoint 2007 and MOSS required an infrastructure to be built and that kind of heavy lifting is appropriate only for a large organization. I moved to WordPress instead because the most important capabilities were and still are content authoring and metadata management and, in the result, the infrastructure was in place.

There were other issues with SharePoint 2007. In addition to the aforementioned authoring UI which Microsoft decided was not a priority in that release, there were a number of other shortcomings. One was the need to develop an infrastructure for authoring, content types and metadata. Yet another was the need to develop ways to determine, standardize and apply best practices in large SharePoint deployments. Finally, the cost and complexity of publishing content to a public site meant that, for the time being, SharePoint 2007 was the proverbial Microsoft 1.0 release.

I do consider SharePoint to be an important CMS and continue to work with it in client projects but emphasize that these shortcomings need to be addressed. The SharePoint OOTB consulting service is an alternative.

As a non-coding designer, I am most at home in the presentation layer. That means expertise in HTML, CSS and site and page design. In Web 2.0-style scripting, I am an expert user with JavaScript, PHP and ASP.NET.

I've logged my 10,000 hours in web development.

The aspect of web development that I am now working on is what I refer to as the web for high-performance and professional users, teams and workgroups. While there is clearly a long way to go in improving and enhancing the user experience for users, surfers and other consumers of content, I believe that the time has come to make working on the web the priority in my research and client project work.