In April 2010 alone, there were four million, nine hundred and ninety-five thousand visitors to Towson University’s website. That number marks a jump of nearly 1.5 million since the university began monitoring monthly site traffic in 2007. One of the people credited with that growth is Web Developer Andy Bell.
“We’re hoping to break five million in one month this year. That was the closest we’ve come so far,” Andy said.
Andy is part of the Web Development team, which helps to drive the overall structure and growth of the Towson University website. He works with the systems engineers on the infrastructure of the site and University Marketing on the look and feel of the website.
Andy and the Web Development team respond to numerous Web requests on a daily basis. These requests can range from creating web forms to fixing broken pages or assigning permissions on the server. Some of these daily projects require the use of Cold Fusion, the primary programming language used by the Web Development group.
“Cold Fusion projects are my favorite type of project that comes in through the door,” Andy said. “Those projects are challenging and very rewarding when it all comes together.”
Andy is also working on several long-term projects such as programming a new layout for the website and a new content management system. The content management system would serve as a key support structure for the site, making it much easier for the marketing team and other departments to edit their Web pages without having to worry about sever connections or uploading files. The system would be just another one of the many improvements to the website that Andy has been involved with since he began at the university.
“When I started, every department and college was responsible for its own website design, and they all looked completely different,” Andy said. “In 2005, we were tasked with uniting all the sites under the same design. By February 2006, we had half the colleges launched.”
By the end of 2006, all of the department and college pages were under a unified web design. Today, Andy, the web team and University Marketing are credited with the unification, template and structure of over 15,000 pages within the university website. Andy and fellow developer Jennifer Wicklein are responsible for the daily maintenance of the pages, which can range from page breaks and issues with links to photo updates or changes requested by staff.
Andy has assisted in the transformation of the university’s website for more than ten years. The growth and development of the website mirrors the evolution of its medium – the internet. The constant change of the internet and its development possibilities are what keep Andy going.
“It keeps me on my toes,” he said, “It’s always changing, and developing applications for people to help solve their problems is what I really love.”