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I currently work for a web design and development company and for the past couple of months I have developed over 10 websites and about 2/3s are live on the web. now most of these websites were for clients who were getting and update to their original website which were already developed by my employer in previous years and in my previous job before I was made redundant there was talk about the company's website (which I worked on) being replaced.

Now I want to show these sites off as apart of my portfolio and I have already taken screenshots of the sites. but the problem is that there is some Client Side content like JavaScript and CSS effects I want to show off which can't be captured with a single image (ie. transitions, mobile responsive menus, JavaScript slideshows, etc.) and since the sites are bound to change a screenshot and a description may not be enough.

I did think of the Wayback Machine and using a link from there but one of the sites I worked on hasn't been crawled since April it has clearly been up updated and I don't know when it'll next be crawled with the new design and ideally I would like some sort of way to preserve my work. So is there a reliable way to preserve a website's client site content for the purpose of a portfolio?

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    How did you want to show off the portfolio? Printed copies for meetings? Or 'on-screen'? Commented Dec 16, 2015 at 11:46
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    You can try to utilize a screen recording tool like sourceforge.net/projects/camstudio. Note we do not give tool recommendations here on Programmers.
    – Doc Brown
    Commented Dec 16, 2015 at 11:51
  • @JᴀʏMᴇᴇ on screen because then they can be stored on a website with links given to employers
    – Memor-X
    Commented Dec 16, 2015 at 11:53
  • @DocBrown, of course, he can get recommendations for tools on softwarerecs.stackexchange.com but (s)he might also want to consider the legality of what (s)he is doing. Memor-X do you have permission to show those sites to third parties?
    – Mawg
    Commented Dec 16, 2015 at 15:51
  • @Mawg: I don't think making screenshots or videos of web pages which are accessible in public for everyone for the purpose of showing them in an interview is legally problematic in most jurisdictions. (Selling such pictures or videos or just distributing them without naming the source, however, could be).
    – Doc Brown
    Commented Dec 16, 2015 at 16:22

2 Answers 2

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Screenshots are great for an overall impression, like you mention. If you want to show off your JavaScript and CSS chops, do the hard work and distill each difficult/interesting piece into its own stand-alone example and present it on your portfolio site. Examples:

  • a CSS-only menu
  • an interesting drag-drop mechanism
  • lavish responsive behavior

It's a lot of work to do something you've already done again, but I assure you it's worth it. Why? Well, there are a few reasons:

  1. Extracting an example demonstrates your absolute mastery over the technique. If you do it once, it may only work because of many hours of frustration and resolve (and help from teammates). If you do it twice, the second time effortlessly, it shows you're a master.

  2. It's easier for clients to understand some things in isolation. Did you build a complicated widget using <canvas> and localStorage? It's likely the client won't even notice among all of the other distractions on a production-quality site. People are easily distracted. When you extract key features, it helps them focus on what you find important.

  3. Showing a client another client's site is a mixed bag. On one hand, the new client is fairly sure you can do what they want because it seems like you've done it before. Unless you're taking credit for other people's work... and oh, look at this... Sarah, did you see this?... we haven't even considered that...

    So yeah, the downside of sharing client work is that it sometimes creates a premature "solution". The new client immediately starts viewing their problems through the lens of an existing site. That can end very badly if it's not what they need. Help them understand what you're truly capable of without showing a complete solution that isn't their solution.

Anyway, it's a lot of work. No doubt about it. But if you're serious about being taken seriously and being in demand, you owe it to yourself. Badasses do the hard work.

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I would definitely recommend recording videos of interaction on a site. If ou can't run from a local copy of the original, Wayback or a similar archive is probably the way to go.

Depending on your previous employers' contract with their clients, you may not be legally allowed to slow the whole site. You could probably get away with showing a focused portion of the site in either a video or animated GIF. There are many free and reasonably priced tools for both.

For the future, you might consider capturing screen shots & videos as soon as you launch a site so you have them should you want/need them.

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