Web Development lessons I learned at PiCon

My name is Meesha Gerhart and I am the owner of RedTree Web Design. Before I started RedTree I was a part owner of PiCon Web Design. During my time at PiCon the internet went through a transformation of Flash to HTML5/CC3 and one device (desktop) with one browser to multiple devices and multiple browsers. It was an exciting, sometimes frustrating, revolution of the internet because any time I thought I had everything handled, Apple scheduled another keynote to announce a new device. I learned a lot about development during my 8+ years of working at PiCon while growing my knowledge of design and customer service.

Below are the major items I learned about development:


It was 2009 and I was building out one of my first ecommerce websites. At this time we didn’t have fancy software where I could do multiple-browser testing. No, I had to sit in front of 2 computers, 1 mac and 1 pc, and hit refresh every time I made a change. After one refresh, IE would look and operate correctly but then Firefox on my Mac would “break”. Ultimately, I would have to find a solution on how my website would look good on every single browser on each OS. I remember praying to the web browser god saying, “Why can’t you get all these browser owners into one room and get them to work together?” Now we test everything and we encourage clients, family and even my dogs to test before we go live.


Around the year 2011 we got to a point where we saw the internet was moving more toward Content Management Systems (CMS). At the time there was WordPress, Drupal and Joomla (which are still current to this day but with a lot more options now that third party solutions are being offered). My original thought was to learn all three CMS, but later realized that I should become an expert in one CMS instead of an amateur in three. We decided to go with WordPress because of the quality user experience for the end user, large open source community and the various options to the developer.


There are a half-dozen ways to execute what you are trying to achieve either through Javascript, PHP or CSS. There is no way to know each way but if you collaborate with other developers you can. My boss used to tell me I was a dog chasing a bone when I found an issue with some code and couldn’t figure out what the issue was. I would spend hours and hours looking through code to find no solution. When I finally gave up and showed it to someone else, I found the solution either by them asking a question about something I didn’t think of or by them reviewing and fixing the issue with a fresh set of eyes.

Even though I am no longer a partner of PiCon, the things I learned there will be with me for the rest of my life.

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