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Developer's branding in source?
Is it kosher to put your brand/url in a client's code?

 9:43 pm on Jan 23, 2008 (gmt 0)

I hired some developers to build a site for me. We're now in the final bug-fixing phase. I noticed the other day that when I view the source for a page, their company name and URL appears there as comments.

Is that common practice?

Personally I don't think it's OK, especially since we signed a mutual NDA. This includes a clause that they may not even say THAT they worked on it, unless I give them explicit permission.

They've since asked me to let them include the site in their portfolio. I've been considering it, but I have not agreed.

I suppose if this is common practice I shouldn't be too pissed off, but right now I consider it rather bad behavior. What do you guys think?



 5:17 am on Jan 24, 2008 (gmt 0)

It's both common and good practice. When you or a future maintainer encounters some code and is bemused by it, the company contact details and preferably a note about what was done mean that you know who to ask about it or hire to modify it effectively.

I presume the source is not visible by the end user (web browser user)?


 1:34 pm on Jan 24, 2008 (gmt 0)

Contrary to the previous poster, it's not okay for a web design sub-contractor to inject their branding in my clients pages.

It's not common practice for a web designer to put a link to their company at the bottom of a clients page... some attempt this though to gain another incoming link even though the link is coming from a site that has no relevance to web design.

But then again my project specifications explicitly state what they can and can not take credit for, in public (their portfolio) and in code (html embedded).

It would be a contractual violation in my projects.

Receptional Andy

 1:39 pm on Jan 24, 2008 (gmt 0)

Comments in server-side code I appreciate and would never have any problem with. HTML comments and the like feel a bit like free advertising which IMO should only be included with the client's approval (and not on the assumption that they'll never look at the source and so will never know ;))


 1:51 pm on Jan 24, 2008 (gmt 0)

To clarify - comments in HTML (visible or invisible) are quite unacceptable. What is however good practice and highly recommended are comments and contact details in server side programming.

Ideally, any script edited by someone should have that person's details added to the top and an in-situ note where changes have been made detailing what the changes are and why.


 4:38 pm on Jan 24, 2008 (gmt 0)

>>Ideally, any script edited by someone should have that person's details added to the top and an in-situ note where changes have been made detailing what the changes are and why.


This is true for the development/offline page/code. You 'should' have a versioning document as part of the projects record keeping.

IMO, the production site should not include any credits within code or public interface.


 12:57 pm on Jan 25, 2008 (gmt 0)

Its common to put comments with the authors name (or initials) and date (Mandatory for my subcontractors) but not links or marketing info, only in open source.

A future maintainer should not have to rely on comments for technical support or contact info, only for guidance.


 6:24 pm on Jan 25, 2008 (gmt 0)

Thanks. This is very helpful. I'll have no qualms about getting rid of it.

Now, I just have to decide whether to tell them to remove it as a matter of principle or to simply remove it myself. It's pretty easy to do. I'll probably just do it.

Unfortunately for them, this is going to color my willingness to let them use my site on their portfolio... but maybe that's just me being petty.

Frankly my biggest concern about them being associated with my site is that they are inexpensive freelancers, and this is obvious from their site. I'd rather my competitors and industry partners not realize how cheaply I'm operating! =)


 6:33 pm on Jan 25, 2008 (gmt 0)

Good for you that you found someone inexpensive that does acceptable work. The NDA should of made this a non-issue and it also prevents them from using you in their portfolio.

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