Soleros : The Greek God of Shite Websites

  • Part 1: The confession

    It is almost a over half a decade and the business I am talking about is now defunct. So I think I can safely talk about this mess.

    Back when I was fresh out of university, the recession of 2008-9 hit hard in the UK and I found it very difficult to get a Junior Developer Job after leaving university.

    I had to pay rent to my father and I had about £50 in the back account. There was a startup that wanted a HTML, CSS and VB.NET developer ... I didn't know any of those (I knew a bit Java, C# and SQL) however I was getting desperate for money and applied for the job.

    Somehow I passed the developer test (and I found out later I was the only one that ever had). Prior to this had built 2 websites both were incredibly simple compared to what would come.

    I started the job, and on the first day I was given an old Pentium 4 (2002) machine with a quarter of a gig of ram. It was a previous customer service PC with a CRT monitor. It had a copy of XP with VS 2005 installed as well as SQL Server and lots of customer service programs wouldn't I couldn't seem to prevent from loading.

    I had a few easy jobs given to me. They were a few static HTML sites.

    Then I got my first real job .... SOLEROS pronounced "Sol-eros", and no it isn't latin for masturbating. The logo was supposed to be a flower, but looked like artistic impression of a ladies nether regions.

    At the time CSS 2.1 wasn't fully supported in anything else except for IE8, this new browser called Chrome and Firefox.

    I could do some basic layouts in CSS but didn't know how to do advance things at the time which CSS 3 make easy ... rounded corners, shadows and rounded corners with Shadow.

    The design required rounded corners with drop-shadows, custom fonts (these couldn't be done reliably without Sifr or Cufon). At the time each header had to be cut and pasted from the design and put into a CSS background sprite or so I should have known if I had enough experience to use this method.

    This was the preferred solution at the time

    .fancy-text {
        text-indent: 1000em;
    .my-custom-header {
         background-url: '/path/to/my/custom.header.png';
         width: 100px;
         height: 20px;

    I didn't do this, my solution was an image in the text flow and manually lining each one up with a custom class ... it didn't work very well.

    The design had to work from IE6 to Chrome (which was at version 1 or 2 at the time) and Safari Mac and Windows.

    So to normalise the paddings and margins and margins I decided to use a "css reset".

    The CSS reset I chose was this

    * {
        border: 0;
        padding: 0;
        margin: 0;

    It didn't work very well for form elements and buttons as one would imagine, but there wasn't any on the home page, so I didn't find this out until later.

    I then passed my HTML + CSS + Images to one of the developers to do the CMS integration.

  • @lucas1 said in Soleros : The Greek God of Shite Websites:

    The logo was supposed to be a flower, but looked like artistic impression of a ladies nether regions.

    Logo by Georgia O'Keefe?

  • Part 2 : Redemption

    I handed off Soleros to one of the more experienced dev who pointed out many of the mistakes I had made while creating the CSS.

    As time went on I became better with CSS and VB.NET and could work on the custom CMS system. I had a decent mentor who became a good friend of mine. The CMS system while in house (which is usually means it should be terrible) was actually quite decent and while it had it flaws it was surprising straight forward to work with.

    The client was happy with the work that had been done and work was stalled while the client found investors or so I was told. In reality I was put onto other projects as they were more urgent and I was fairly decent at getting things done.

    The client was on a retainer with our company. He seemed to be enthusiastic and fancied himself as some sort of Steve Jobs of the travel business.

    Then they wanted a demo of a complete site and nothing was done! We had a lot more devs and cranked out a site that was working, would take money and had most of data in the database working with the CMS.

    I did a couple of weekends unpaid thinking (somewhat foolishly) at the time I would be given some more respect by management as I was willing to pull my finger out when push gave to shove.

    Everything seemed to be okay and I had redeemed myself of the horror and the other devs forgave me for my previous WTFs.

  • @lucas1 said in Soleros : The Greek God of Shite Websites:

    The design required rounded corners with drop-shadows, custom fonts

    found the WTF

  • Part 3: Mockery and Alcoholism

    Thanks to a few shite projects I had started drinking after work down with a friend at the local bar while trying to chat up the Ukrainian barmaid that I was in love with mainly because she would speak to me, had a lovely accent and had a nice bum.

    At some point during 2010, clean design started to come back into fashion and I don't mean the colourless, flat crap we have today. I mean just a general de-clutter of most of the overly fancy crap that came before.

    The project was to be re-designed and the work I had done previously front-end as a result would be never more. I was quite relieved as my past sins would be literally be deleted.

    We kept on hearing from the lead dev and management that our client was a bit of an idiot.

    Most of the guys watched Stargate and later one Stargate Universe was being aired.

    The Scope of the project became massive, everyday this guy wanted more and more on the site. One request to have every hotel on the planet geo-coded and put on the site. I joked "Does he want every hotel in universe mapped?" as a reference back to Stargate Universe.

    The next week he sent an email. He wanted 100s of domains registering, however the lead dev told me that the first domain in the list was called "Hotel Galaxy" ...

    I uttered the immortal words to my lead dev of "ARE YOU FUCKING SHITTING ME!!" and was promptly bollocked.

    We had a new dev start and he was one of the guys that opened my eyes. He was straight outta college, probably as good as I and while out on our lunch break he told me that Soleros sounded like some sort of Greek term.

    It got worse from there. I started photoshopping the God Neptune into designs of the site. From there on in, Soleros had become a god ... and it was the god of shite websites. if a crap design came through, we said and I quote "the influence of Soleros was Strong in this one".

  • @fbmac said in Soleros : The Greek God of Shite Websites:

    @lucas1 said in Soleros : The Greek God of Shite Websites:

    The design required rounded corners with drop-shadows, custom fonts

    found the WTF

    That's not a WTF, it's like every design ever. Shiny! Pretty! Fancy! Oh, and it should work, kinda. But mostly it should be pretty.

  • Part 4: Conferences

    Every year there is a conference in London for the Travel Business. We had a very small stand. I was stood there for technical knowledge to explain it technically, the week after I handed in my notice and for-never-more I wouldn't have anything to do with the turd of the project.

    The client spent most of his time walking around the conference drunk, spending what later turned out to his wife's salary on booze and VIP conference stuff.

    After I left the project (even though he kept on increasing the scope) was taken from our company and put in the hand of a web dev shop full of guys that had PhDs (in philosophy).

    The last I heard the chap had made him and his wife (the bread winner) bankrupt even though I knew she earned well over a quarter of a million a year.

    And finally the God of Shite Websites ... Soleros could be put to rest much like the Greek Gods of old and be forgotten.

  • Some of the artwork I sent around the office .. still trying to find the original. Most of it was made in MS PAINT.

    EDIT: there was other ms paint jobs I did for a laugh most of them were based on various heavy metal bands artwork i.e.

    EDIT2: The original one I sent around I can't find, but after emailing some friends. One has it in his on his work pc, but the original won't be until Tuesday at earliest.

    But the two I emailed to myself because they made me laugh were:



  • @anotherusername The WTF was it was given to me with the (lack) of skills I had at the time. I could probably do the design 100% accurately now without a sweat, even with IE6 support.

  • I was willing to pull my finger out

    Is this a common phrase wherever you're from? It sounds hilariously dirty to me.

  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @aapis said in Soleros : The Greek God of Shite Websites:

    Is this a common phrase wherever you're from? It sounds hilariously dirty to me.

    Any smuttiness is entirely in your own mind! Entirely…

  • @aapis yes it is.

  • @lucas1 said in Soleros : The Greek God of Shite Websites:

    no it isn't latin for masturbating

    I think "masturbating" is latin for "masturbating".

  • @Anonymouse a master baiter is a specialist who will know and be able to prepare the correct bait for any fish, and how to better apply it

  • kills Dumbledore

    @fbmac Master Bates, despite what people will try to tell you, was not a character in Captain Pugwash

  • More MS Paint art:


  • Had a mail off of an old work mate, this was the original design (or some of it):


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