There was a flurry of new Web sites aimed specifically at women at the beginning of the year, writes Roisin Woolnough. One of them was e-women, which was launched in January but has just undergone a re-launch.
According to Saffron Grover, marketing and communications director at One Bad Monkey, the new media company that worked on the re-launch, it's supposed to be a forum for professional women. "The site provides a place for women in new media to network, share best practice and learn about new media."
However, she says it didn't have that community feel initially. "It was very static and un-dynamic and did not facilitate or encourage the networking that the forum wanted to happen."
So when Stuart Wilson, technical director at One Bad Monkey, began work on the site, his mission was to provide the infrastructure to make it more interactive and accessible. "There wasn't any interaction between the site and the database," says Wilson. "At their end was a database called Alegiant. From the Web end it uses MSQL and MySQL on the server. At the moment, it runs on that but as it grows we may have to put Oracle in the background for speed and robustness." Wilson wants the site to be much more database-driven and more accessible.
As this is only the first phase of the re-launch - another phase is scheduled for the next few months - an important consideration for Wilson was that everything was easily scalable, particularly on the events section. "We used Perlscript in the background, sitting on the server. It builds the pages dynamically. We built the site mostly using Perl code because it seems to be the industry standard. We didn't want to tie e-women into us by using convoluted programming. It's easy to get Perl programmers to come in and join half-way through. Also, at some stage they are moving from their current host so we wanted it to be portable."
Wilson has also been liaising with the people who host the forum for First Tuesday to see if they could host the e-women forums site. "That way we could host it there and not have to write a whole load of new code."
Name: Stuart Wilson
Job title: technical director at One Bad Monkey
Qualifications: degree in business and IT
Favourite book: Anything by Will Self or Douglas Copeland.
Favourite film: Mission Impossible.
Favourite pub: The Wykeham Arms, Winchester
Wilson on Wilson: thorough, tenacious, wild