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Informative commentary on the web industry from the experts at Itomic.

April 22, 2015

Toughen Up WordPress! [4.1.2 is out]

By Izumi Mitsui

WordPress 4.1.2 has been released as of 21/04/15.
It’s an update heavily focused on security features of the core platform, not since version 4.0.1 has WordPress seen so much armour added to the security front.

Deemed ‘critical’ it is recommended that all websites be updated to the latest version to maximise security and ensure optimal performance.

“This is a critical security release for all previous versions and we strongly encourage you to update your sites immediately.”
(Source: https://wordpress.org/news/2015/04/wordpress-4-1-2/)

If you’re an Itomican and already on board our active support agreement, there is nothing you need to do – kick your feet up and go on with your day!

However if you’re unsure, or would like to find out more about our service to keep on top of your WordPress Security, let us know by filling out the form below or give us a call. Our team is geared up and ready to assist!


April 8, 2015

Itomic Donates $1,000 to Drupal 8 Accelerate

By Ross Gerring

Today we’re pleased to announce that on behalf of Itomic, CEO Ross Gerring has donated $1,000 to the Drupal 8 Accelerate cause.

www.crowdrise.com/d8accelerate

This campaign is all about funding the last big push to move Drupal 8 from ‘beta’ to ‘release’ status, and ultimately to being fully production ready. Drupal 8 has been a long time in the making, and Itomic can’t wait for it to finally see the light of day. Itomic services, supports and secures many Drupal 6 and 7 websites, and is looking forward to working on our first Drupal 8 site at the earliest opportunity.

For more about Drupal 8, here are some FAQs: www.drupal.org/drupal-8.0/faq

Here’s Itomic’s Drupal showcase website: www.drupalise.com.au

 

 


March 23, 2015

Top 10 Website Project Risk Factors

By Ross Gerring

Itomic has been design and building websites since 2000… and some team members a little longer than that. But website projects still don’t always run smoothly – despite everyone’s best efforts and intentions.

Most of Itomic’s website projects run reasonably smoothly, but we’ve certainly had our share of challenges over the years. And we’ve learnt from them. We’re pleased to share with you a list of what we believe to be the Top 10 Website Project Risk Factors… and how to mitigate against them.

Too many decision makers (stakeholders, committees)

This can cause bottlenecks in the decision and approval process. Ensure that project managers/representatives are sufficiently empowered and supported to make decisions.

Custom-coding to get features “just right”

Sometimes compromise is necessary. Sometimes 90% of a feature is good enough if delivering on that last 10% is going to take 100s of hours of custom coding and testing and cause large time and budget overruns. KISS!

Staff turnover

Ensure that project communications and status reporting are clear, up-to-date and accessible to new project members.

Scope creep

Both client and supplier must be on the lookout for the dreaded scope creep. Scope creep is where new project features are being requested that didn’t form part of the original brief, and can’t have reasonably been expected to be included. Additional feature requests must be evaluated in terms of likely project impact, and decisions then need to be made in terms of whether to include or not include the new feature requests in the current phase.

Underestimation of the time/resource commitment

On average, we observe that clients underestimate the amount of time they themselves will need to invest in the project for it to keep on moving forwards promptly. After all, many clients are already doing a full-time job, and the website project is in addition to that. All project members need to be granted sufficient time alongside their normal duties.

Misunderstandings about what a “normal” project entails

Perhaps the most typical misunderstanding is that “bugs” (or “issues” as we prefer to call them!) are not a normal part of the development lifecycle. The reality is that they are, especially when you’re dealing with complex systems, millions of lines of code, and custom requirements. The purpose of the testing phase is for the client to work with us to identify and resolve outstanding issues – of which there may well be many on a large, sophisticated project. Fyi there’s almost no such thing as a bug-free software project.

Inaccurate project estimating by Itomic

Estimating the time it takes to develop software development is notoriously challenging. It’s not an exact science, even armed with highly detailed functional and/or technical specifications. Although we use tried and tested techniques, they remain “estimates only”. Regular project updates ensure that the client is kept informed in the event that estimates and actuals are diverging significantly.

3rd Party Systems (integration with)

Integrating (synchronising, importing/exporting) a new system with one or more 3rd party systems can seem straightforward on the surface, but can sometimes prove very challenging. If such integration is mission-critical for overall project success, then the requirements must be fully identified and tested/prototyped, and sooner rather than later.

Data migration / population

Similar to the above, time and effort is typically underestimated to source the content, and to populate the new site with that content. It’s important to fully identify and specify all data (i.e. website content) that is to be supplied for the new site, whether it exists yet, who has it, what format it’s in, etc.

Cross-platform compatibility

It’s harder than you think to get websites to look and function perfectly on every version of every browser (old and new) on every screen size and orientation (portrait or landscape). The combinations are almost infinite. Optimising for a specific combination can cause de-optimisation for another. Try to ensure that your websites are standards-compliant, but still accept that perfect consistency is virtually impossible.


January 6, 2015

Senior Drupal Web Developer – Itomic Perth

Itomic has an immediate opening for a permanent Senior Drupal Developer in our Perth headquarters. The focus of this position is more on the technical end of Drupal implementation, development, support and upgrading, but of course theming skills are also desirable.

Itomic is one of Australia’s most respected web development companies. We were established in 2000 in Perth, Western Australia, and opened our Melbourne office in 2008.

We have a growing portfolio of high-profile government and corporate clients and projects that include City of Perth, City of Albany, City of Fremantle, State Library of Victoria, State Library of WA, University of WA, Bunnings, St John Ambulance, and Department of Justice.

We are looking for someone with the following attributes:

  • Demonstrated Drupal development experience
  • Ability to multi-task.
  • Comfortable chatting and consulting directly with clients when the need arises.
  • Ability to help set, guide, and check/review best practice policies and procedures.
  • Comfortable helping and guiding other less experienced developers – be they local or remote.
  • Excellent written and spoken English.
  • Preference for friendly small business over stuffy corporates!

Preference will be given to candidates with:

  • Formal IT or related qualifications.
  • Current and unrestricted availability to work in Australia.
  • 5+ years of commercial Drupal experience.

In responding, please be sure to supply:

  • Your resume
  • Your Drupal skills and experience
  • Why you are suited to this role
  • Your drupal.org username
  • Your salary expectations
  • Your availability to start work

Please note:
– Pay is negotiable according to skills and experience.
– Although we prefer to employ someone who is already entitled to live and work in Australia, Itomic is an approved “457 visa” employer (http://goo.gl/h3nX8) so sponsorship is an option. If you make it through to the interview stage, expect that we’ll give you a “quiz” to check how truly Drupal-knowledgeable you are!

All genuine expressions of interest that supply info for 1-6 (above) and meet our minimum criteria (above) will receive a response.

Please submit your application to jobs@itomic.com.au

Thanks – and good luck!

PS: No recruitment companies please.


December 30, 2014

Content Delivery Network [Explained]

By Izumi Mitsui

Content Delivery Network (CDN) is a network of servers set up in certain geographic locations that deliver up content to end-users more efficiently according to the location the request is made from.

Itomic_CDN
[Image source: wpbeginner.com]

Loosely speaking it’s like a business having franchise stores. Recently in Perth, we finally got our first Crispy Cremes store (woop!). The business can now deliver glazed goodness to their customers via the geographically closer Perth store instead of providing orders from the eastern states.

How does CDN impact your website?

Using CDN for your website will allow better overall performance and reliability by serving up content quicker for end-users. As a general rule of thumb, faster sites equate to better usability and user experience and therefore better ranking with search engines.

How do I get my website on a CDN?

Generally hosting companies offer their own CDN options. If you are interested on getting onto a CDN with Itomic please give us a bell and let us assist you further.

TAKEAWAY
All website owners should consider speed and performance seriously to ensure the end-users get the best experience possible. Content Delivery Network is a great tool to assist so why not give it a go?