Indian Express is part of Express Group Ltd, an Indian news media company publishing a number of widely circulated news dailies and weekly magazines. One of the most popular publications is Indian Express, a national English language daily. The group also have successful online versions of many of their publications, including IndianExpress.com, which had around 1.6-1.8 million page views per month in Aug-Sept 2013.
In November 2013 we were contacted by IndianExpress.com about working on a code review of their site. The site had recently been rebuilt in WordPress and was being migrated to WordPress.com VIP hosting. WordPress.com VIP had highlighted a number of areas that were blocking the migration and suggested that Indian Express get some additional expertise from a VIP Partner agency to help resolve the issues. Deadlines were tight as the project was running late against plan and Indian Express needed things to move quickly.
We suggested two phases of work. An initial intensive phase to unblock the key issues and get the site launched on VIP, then a second phase aligning the site with best practise to support performance, security and future development.
The first task was a full code review, liaising with VIP to identify and agree the key issues that were preventing migration. Within one week we completed a code report highlighting the major blockers, then set to work on getting them fixed.
We often support client developers but this project was particularly exciting in that we didn’t directly undertake any of the coding development work. Indian Express had a large development team available and we were able to collaborate closely with them, passing on Human Made expertise to support their developers through the process.
We set up a copy of the site codebase on GitHub and began working through the list of issues with the development team. We acted as gatekeepers, monitoring and reviewing the submitted fixes as well as an new features being developed. We provided advice, guidance and support to help them achieve the required quality for VIP. After an intensive couple of weeks the migration to VIP was able to take place.
Once the site was up and running on VIP we worked with Indian Express on a best practise review. We continued to use Github to monitor issues and fixes, supporting the work with regular Skype calls to the development team to explain and discuss the less straightforward areas. We also consulted with Indian Express on the development of their future plans, providing advice on the site architecture moving forward.
The strong consultative and collaborative approach used for IndianExpress.com was extremely successful; issues were successfully resolved and the development team grew in knowledge and experience of what was required. The site launched successfully in January 2014.