As with most things in life, those that maintain a regular schedule of activities are more likely to get the most out of those activities. It has come to our attention that those that don’t follow-up with regular hands-on Affino sessions are likely to get rusty with time, and may even struggle with certain core basic maintenance activities which can be detrimental and even dangerous (security etc.) to the overall site experience.
In this piece we look to the metaphor of learning and playing a musical instrument, and applying those same criteria to working with your Affino site. The short-hand of that being ’Practice Makes Perfect’, but there are several subtle nuances.
If you are brand new to something, then there is no substitute to being tutored by an experienced and expert professional - someone who has lived with and evolve their thinking over working on said activity time and time again. There are some that believe training is a nice-to-have rather than an essential. Yet personnel who don’t have proper training can and are likely to make one or two disastrous mistakes - some which may be recoverable, others not. Time, money and business can be lost in this manner. It’s also a question of best practice and productivity. Someone properly trained should be able to do things more quickly, more efficiently and more effectively. Don’t think of training as an optional extra - when it is really an essential.
With the exception of Jazz, where improvisation goes a very long way, most formal music playing requires the ability to read sheet music / notes / tabs / notations. Your song sheet sets out the rhythm, structure, signature key and other key characteristics of the music you will be playing. In the same way, you should always have some sort of specification in place before you venture forth on any site-implementation activity. You need a clean and clear plan to know and be able to avoid the various pitfalls, and navigate the various technical challenges. If you go forth without a specification you will very soon become unstuck and forget what the original goals of the task were and what the desired final outcome was. Going forth without specification is like baking a cake without a recipe - it will almost always end up in some sort of unpalatable mess.
You learn scales to get a feel for song structure - as nearly all music set down is based on some notation of sequential tones and semitones. The more your practice your scale, the more fluid your playing becomes, and the better grasp you get on musical theory. In Affino terms which is the core structure = from Zone to Channel, Section to Articles / Items and onto Steps even. How all the pieces of the jigsaw fit together and which pieces you should lay down first.
We’ve already touched on the need for proper expert tuition at the start, but no matter how good the teacher, you yourself will never improve unless you keep up a schedule of regular practice. In Affino terms this means deploying various ’sandboxes’ on your site - secure areas where you can trial the systems’s functionality and new features in particular. Try different things out, sometimes you get happy synergies when trying out unusual combinations, at other times you discover what does not work - both litreally and figuratively.
If you truly want to experiment with your site / abilities - you need a dedicated sandbox instance - AKA a Staging Site. This means a wholly separate instance which replicates your main site, but allows you to trial new ’experiments’ without the possibility of negatively impacting your core experience. For highly active Affino site owners who are rolling out several sites and making use of complex functionality, a Staging Site becomes another essential must-have, rather than just a nice-to-have.
One of the best things about Affino is learning from all around you. We learn almost as much from Clients as they learn from us in how best to configure certain settings. For instance how to improve layout of Login page or metering gate messages. We all learn from each other, and evolve and improve together. A core strength of Affino is how much is contained in the core system, and just how many different ways you can configure all that functionality. People are forever coming up with better and better ways to do things and this constant ongoing improvement benefits everyone that comes near to Affino - both site owners and end-users alike.