Take two companies with the necessary ingredients. How do you make them gel? Stir in a project manager
Delia Smith has become a national institution through her TV cookery programmes and books and magazine writing. So when designers and developers started work on her Web site, which is launched this week, branding was not an issue, writes Roisin Woolnough.
"With Delia Smith, you have a recognisable personality and a reason for people to use the site," explains George Crabb, project manager of the launch.
The real challenge was making sure all the parties involved were moving in the same direction. This is where Crabb came in.
As managing director of Web consultancy The Other Media, he joined the project a few months after it started. His role was to act as intermediary between New Crane Internet - the online arm of the publisher of Sainsbury's The Magazine - and Web development agency Aspect Internet.
"My objective was to get the site launched and running smoothly and make sure both parties could understand what the other was doing," says Crabb.
Aspect Internet specialises in content management systems and has implemented systems for the likes of beme.com and handbag.com. "Everything we write is one common system," explains Jon Russell, commercial director at Aspect Internet. "It is simple to use and deploy."
This meant that Aspect Internet could take its in-house system and adapt it to the site's needs. The system is written using Microsoft products. The back-end database uses a cluster server with SQL 2000 and the front-end a Microsoft load-balancing server.
Standard technologies were used so that access to the site's features would not be restricted. "We used dynamic HTML for the drop-down menus," says Crabb. "There is no Flash or plug-ins because we want as many people to use the site as possible."
As well as almost 600 recipes, a memo pad, shopping lists and other facilities, the plan is to implement chat sessions. For this, New Crane Internet will again source some third-party software. Then the cookery doyenne will be on hand to dish up those handy hints.
Name: George Crabb
Job title: project manager of deliaonline.com
Qualifications: degree in computer information system and design
Hobbies: eating out, cooking
Favourite pub: White Swan, Twickenham
Favourite film: Cinema Paradiso
Favourite book: The Milagro Beanfield War by John Nichols
Crabb on Crabb: generous, approachable, realistic
e is for excellence
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