Category Archives: Web Design

How is my website quality?

Many often we find users come and ask us one of these questions: I got my website developed with a third party.

  • How do I know if it has been done with good quality?
  • How do I know if it is fast enough?
  • Does it work well anywhere in the world?
  • Does it work for all users on all devices?

We are starting a series of posts which will focus on the above questions.

(Note: We often confuse ‘quality’ with how a website looks and do not focus on how the website performs. How a website looks is a topic covered under the ‘Look and Feel’ of a website, where the website is supposed to look pleasing, primarily to the owner of the website, and in addition to the people visiting the site. This post does not cover that topic and only covers if the website is technically good.)

There are a few good tools released by some of the top organizations which help us decide for ourselves on the quality of any website. Some of them that we use at Auro Infotech are listed below:

  1. CSS VALIDATOR: This is a tool from W3C and is very useful to see if a site has any CSS (Cascading Style Sheet) related issues.
  2. XHTML VALIDATOR: This is another tool from W3C and is used to check if the HTML coding on the site conforms to XHTML standards as defined by W3C.
  3. Page Speed: This is a series of benchmarks provided by Google and can be easily checked on this link provided by GTMetrix.
  4. YSlow: This is a set of benchmarks defined by Yahoo! and is also available on the GTMetrix site.

At Auro Infotech, we expect our developers and designers to make sure there are less than 5 CSS or XHTML errors and also to get A ranking (90%) on Page Speed and YSlow.

If you find your website to be failing in any of these tests, go back to the developers and tell them to fix it right away.

WordPress upgradation from 2.9.2 to wordpress-3.0.1

From our previous post

We have successfully upgraded our wordpressmu from 2.9.2 to 3.0.1

Here are the steps we followed for this upgradation
http://wpmu.org/how-to-upgrade-wpmu-2-9-2-to-wordpress-3-0-in-5-easy-steps/

We have also upgraded all our plugins and we are happy to say that we are in WordPress-3 club.

Have fun!!

Auro Infotech New Website Preview

We are working on revamping our existing Auro Infotech website.

While it is close to completion, we thought it would be a good idea to give a preview of what is coming.

Besides giving a cleaner look to the site, some of the key changes we have made are:

  • Social media integration with Facebook and Twitter
  • Contact form on all pages
  • Client login from home page itself
  • Enhanced Portfolio listing by industry, technology and category
  • Testimonials section
  • Easy access to RSS and Sitemap

The testing version is available here

The themes for the blog and forums are currently in progress. Once this is done, we hope to launch the site – hopefully within the next week or so.

Please do let us know your thoughts on these new changes to the website.

Development Team Plans for 2010

As we move into 2010, we look forward to bringing in significant improvements in our development methodology, which will help us improve efficiency in the results we deliver to our clients.

The following are a list of some of these improvements:

1. Source Code Control using SVN: All these years we have struggled without a proper implementation of a source code control repository. Starting 1-Jan-2010, all our project source code will be managed using SubVersion (SVN). Along with this, we are also working on automating the deployments so that code from a given release will be moved from SVN into a target environment automatically. We hope to have this in place before end of March 2010.

2. Development IDE – Netbeans: Netbeans has been chosen as the IDE for all our LAMP based application development. After a debate between Netbeans and Eclipse, the decision was taken to adopt Netbeans as the standard application development IDE at Auro Infotech.

3. Unit Testing – Though we have strong QA Testing Checklist and methodologies in place using Mantis and Quick Test, we have never had a formal developer testing / unit testing process. We have now finalized that and will be using a documented Unit Testing procedure performed by the developers, which will also be one of the mandatory inputs going forward whenever a QA test is requested.

Since Netbeans is tightly integrated with SVN as well as many unit testing tools, we hope to have a seamless interface between these technologies, which should help us in delivering more robust solutions at a much faster pace.

4. SEO Enabled Website URLs: All these years we have handled SEO enabling of URLs as a separate task in the development process. Going forward this task will be tightly integrated with the development process and hence will be a mandatory deliverable from all our projects.

5. Social Media Aware: With the growth of Facebook, Twitter, Orkut, iPhone, etc, we have made it a standard in all our projects to consider features for social media as a part of the basic project.

We hope that the above plans should help us deliver applications which help the online websites of our clients to perform in a much more efficient manner.

Senior Web Designer Job Opening at Auro Infotech

Auro Infotech is looking for a Senior Web Designer.

Roles and Responsibilities:
Please read Web Designer Role at Auro Infotech to understand the roles and responsibilities of a Web Designer at Auro Infotech

Experience:
Minimum of five years of experience in web design out of which at least two years of experience must be in developing Web 2.0 style websites.
Working knowledge of XHTML and CSS is a must
Experience in custom designing using WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, etc would be a good advantage.

Salary will be as per company standards. You can read more about it here: Team and Salary Structures at Auro Infotech

To know more about the teams at Auro Infotech, you can read more about it here:  Functional Teams at Auro Infotech

If interested in applying for this position, please send your resume to resumes@auroinfotech.com

Web Designer Role at Auro Infotech

This post is a part of the a series of posts  about the roles and responsibilities of various positions at Auro Infotech.

Please refer to the Functional Teams at Auro Infotech post and Auro Infotech Team and Salary Structures post before reading this post, as it will help you understand where each of these roles fit in Auro Infotech.

Web designer at Auro Infotech is a member of the Design team, a team that is responsible for designing all our websites. Some of the key responsibilities are designing web 2.0 style websites, developing flash based web pages as well as flash based applications that interact with the other applications and databases.

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Website Recommendation – whois.sc

whois.sc is one of the most popular online sites that provides valuable information about any domain – this task is also know as Whois Lookup.

I have used whois.sc for over five years now and they provide the information in one click for almost all the third level domains available in the world. The simplicity and easy of use is what has attracted me to the site as it gives exactly what I am looking for, with minimum interaction.

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Discontinuing IE6 Support in Website Development

Ever since IE6 was released, for all design related changes, our design team and the QA team had to take care of specific testing related to IE6. This was due to the fact that IE6 did not support many XHTML elements such as absolute positioning, etc.

In the past month or so, we have seen many leading sites remove support for IE6. It appears You Tube will also follow this step soon.
It goes without saying that all the leading sites have realized the pain caused by supporting the exceptions in IE6 and hence will be taking the decision to cease support for the same in the near future.

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Backup Policies – Onsite and Remote Backups

Devendra sent us a link about a news that came in BBC about how Flight Simulator site Avsim and its backups were destroyed by malicious hackers.

I felt it would be appropriate to write about the importance of backups and the major impact of the negligence of the same.

As mentioned on the BBC news, the Avsim team has been working on it for over 10 years now and all the contents and their backups have been fully wiped off in no time by some hackers.

Earlier this year, Web Hosting Talk, a very reputed site about web hosting, was also hacked and they lost one year’s worth of data.

These are just two examples of many hacking attempts that happen all over the world, both in public internet websites as well as on private intranets. Though hacking used to be a good time pass for kids who have a lot of free time, now a days, hacking has become a major money making business, just like how bank robberies are done – in an organized and sophisticated way.

Given these circumstances, it makes perfect sense for all web masters to plan and implement a successful backup policy for all their servers, to protect the data that belongs to their clients, which are the primary assets in many businesses.

Backups fall under two major categories based on geography: Onsite backups and Remote backups.

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QA Testing Checklist

QA Testing Checklist is a general QA checklist that is used by the Auro Infotech QA Team.

Though it is called as a single checklist, there are ten sub categories of items, each one with its own checklist it is logically grouped into Level 1, 2 and 3, based on the practical implementation phase of the QA testing.

Level 1 QA Checking

This contains all the items that are checked when the application is first submitted for QA. They are:

1. Version control
2. Design Standards
3. Functionality Testing
4. Integration Testing
5. SEO
6. Y-Slow
7. Coding Standards

Level 2 QA Checking

This level contains all the elements that are checked in parallel with the User Acceptance Testing.

1. Cross-Browser Testing.

Level 3 QA Checking

This contains the QA related items that can be done in isolation.

1. Load Testing
2. Security Testing

Every application in Auro Infotech goes through this rigorous QA testing process before it is released. We hope this will help any web based application to be quite robust once it goes through this levle of testing.

Please let us know if you are aware of any other testing procedures that might be useful for a web based application that we are not following at Auro Infotech.