February 14, 2014 by Roman Ožana

Testomato’s Top 10 Web Development Checklist

Testing can be an overwhelming task, so it’s good for teams to know where to start and what works best for them.

Just in case you missed it, Testomato is featured on Mads Kristensen’s Web Developer Checklist as the recommended automated testing tool. This is a great guide for developers who want to adhere to best practices during a release or before a launch. (Tip: There’s also a pretty handy Chrome extension that automates a large portion of the checklist.)

While Kristensen’s list covers what is generally considered best practices in web development, every team and every project is different. So, we wanted to share our own short checklist that the Testomato development team runs through before each of our releases.

Here’s what we do:

Copy Checks

The team makes sure to check for spelling and grammar mistakes, as well as any typos that may be present. This is not only a job for our copywriter. In fact, the whole team makes sure to keep their eyes open for text errors, overlooked test copy, consistent tone of voice, and double-checks important details like contact info.

Set Up or Check Google Analytics

Make sure your analytics package (we use Google Analytics) is set up and ready to go. Analytics are an effective way of gathering valuable information that will help improve your site in the future. If you schedule alerts for traffic spikes, it’s also an effective way of monitoring for malicious activity.

Don’t forget to verify that your analytics tool is receiving data from your site and your tracking snippet is loading on every page.

Check Your Most Important Content in FireFox, Chrome, and Safari

Compatibility is always a pain, but it’s something we all have to deal with as a part of our normal development process. The team always tests our content in these common browsers: FireFox, Chrome, and Safari. It’s also a good idea to keep in mind whether or not your site or application degrades well without the support of Flash.

Test Your Most Important Functions

Are your important functions behaving the way they should? Test them out – better safe than sorry. For example, you should always make sure your forms aren’t returning errors, or that your search and share buttons are working properly. You should regularly check these functions to avoid missing bugs that can turn into bigger problems down the line. Manually test them yourself or set up an error testing service (can you guess our favorite?) to do it for you.

Check HTML Validity (Sometimes)

Okay, confession. We don’t always validate our code. It’s important for rendering speed, makes sure your layout doesn’t break in different browsers, and also helps ensure your website will work with future technologies. It’s a great goal to aim for (as many best practices are), but that being said, we’ve found that in most cases it’s not necessary for us to validate.

We do tend to try and validate during big design changes, but here is the reality: it doesn’t take priority over keeping Testomato running and delivering features that continue to improve our testing experience.

Check Page Speed Insights

If you’re building an app or running a website, you’re probably aware of the increasing importance of performance. This means that you should care how long it takes for your pages to load. We like Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool, which analyzes your pages and suggests ways you can make them faster.

Check If Compiled CSS/JS Files Exist

Our team uses CoffeeScript or LESS. You should always make sure the final files are present.

Minify JavaScript, CSS, and Optimize Images

Minifying your code also helps to reduce the size of your code and therefore, speeds your pages up.

Here’s a few tools that we like to use:

Senior Testomato developer Roman suggests removing all your unused images from your public img folder. There tend to be dozens of files you’re not using in there, and it’s a good idea to remove them.

If you want a quick tutorial, check out his blog post about finding unnecessary images without a link from the code. Google also has some great tips and tools for optimizing images.

Reduce the Number of Requests Per Page

The majority of your response time is spent downloading components on the front-end like images, stylesheets, Flash, etc. Since speed is a big part of what Testomato is all about, our team likes to remove components, embed images, and combine files in order to reduce the number of HTTP requests needed to render a page.

Responsive Check with Chrome

The final thing on our list is to do a responsive check with Chrome’s Mobile Emulation tool, which allows us to check different screen sizes and orientations.

A few final words…

Of course, this list is not for everyone. One thing we wanted to show with this post is that although we encourage best practices, the final web development checklist you use will be entirely dependent on your project. As we mentioned before, every team is different.

For example, HTML and XML are not as important for us because we’re not a large website with a lot of different site pages. Similarly, on-site SEO is something that we consider important, but not a high priority for the service we deliver. We concentrate on keywords, keep our URLs clean, but some aspects of SEO simply aren’t applicable to our project.

It’s up to your team to decide on the checklist that works best for your project.

What’s on your team’s checklist? Which best practices do you make a point to follow? 

Share with us in the comments below or on Facebook. You can also find us @testomatocom.

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