Category: Articles

New Clients

As a seasoned contractor I got used to a market paying good rates for my skills and now I believe I am able to deliver faster for more clients remotely. It stands to reason that the market for remote teams is a better one than a market for a remote individual. There is nothing to stop software development being more effective and efficient online than it is to house employees. Avoiding massive costs to both sides of the negotiation. Costs can be productively invested.

The issue has been, in the past, trust and credibility. I believe strongly that I have a commercial answer to the problems posed by managing a remote team. By building small teams of developers, linking them into teams and managing projects real value can be delivered. The Open Source community has done this for years. It has driven knowledge progress.

New clients for Software Antelope’s development services will be the first customers of our latest project: www.remotedevelopment.co.uk. Read more about how this works.

Making your site secure

You may notice this site is only accessed via SSL. There are many breeds of SSL you can use, including EV (Extended Validation) that basically carry a level of insurance against fraud if someone were to actually crack SSL. Most levels of SSL are secure enough for the average site, and the Everyday Security level of SSL we recommend for most applications is highly secure.

On this site we use Stripe for Web commerce, which is fully secure as you are entering your credit card details effectively on their site and we never record those details. We just receive payment without any exposure of your financial details “in the open” on the web. We also add SSL to our entire site as that makes it hard for hackers and trackers to see anything of what you are doing as all pages are encrypted.

1 Year SSL Subscription (including install on our servers)

WordPress attacks

Millions of sites in the world use WordPress to build and manage their sites, from individuals to multinationals. An exploit using the ability to post to the site from mobile devices can be closed off if that functionality is not being used.

Add these lines to the .htaccess for the site:

<Files xmlrpc.php>
Order allow,deny
Deny from all
</Files>

A number of 3rd party plugins use this function, so blocking it may break plugins. Some of the most well-known plugins that require XML-RPC are:

WordPress Mobile App
JetPack (just some parts of it)
LibSyn (for podcasts)
BuddyPress
Windows Live Writer

But for the vast majority of WordPress sites the XML-RPC function isn’t used and can be used as an exploit, hence it is best to disable it.

Let us know if you need this security measure applied to your Antelope hosted CMS site.

Remote Contract Development

As a contractor, I sit on a delayed train in a tunnel or held up by transport sites, costing my client precious hours of the working day. As a software developer, I wake up before the dawn and produce some of my very best work before the sun appears on the horizon.

On-site, we are expected to hit the ground running. We start a new role with our extensive and varied corporate experience. We may bring ideas from other roles, not information of course as we respect confidentiality, but methods, best practices and that indefinable quality: certainty.

On-site we have a lot to offer, however, we do not replace permanent staff. We do not want to introduce friction with people who have invested years or even their lives in collaboration with their employers. We are there to get a specific task done while a permanent resource is found (if it is required). Or we are there to get a project done, professionally.

Contractors who take real jobs from real people are just expensive employees. All strength to them, but that is not what I offer as a contractor. I prefer to get things done and then face my next challenge. More and more I find that the value that I give to clients is achieved more effectively online than it is after a frustrating commute into an office, even though I have worked in some of the most extraordinary offices with some extraordinary people, most of the time I am not socialising, I am facing a screen and making code work.

Online contracting is obviously a better way to employ project development resources. How to find a good remote contractor? This forum is a great place. How much should it cost? Is a daily rate the best way to charge? Perhaps not.

At Software Antelope Ltd, I am developing a better way to offer remote contracting services that reduces the element of risk for clients and the overhead of administration for developers. It employs Agile, Kanban and repositories. It employs efficient and secure delivery of projects. I do not have to sit on a train or take up a desk or sit in a meeting room. I simply deliver and get paid for what is produced.

Business evolves efficiency and that means more profit and less stress on our poor old transport infrastructure.

Software Contracting

Delivery

A project requires a clear vision of what is required. As a project progresses the plan may change. This used to pose a problem for developers: new database structure may introduce complex changes. A separation of the concerns: screen display versus database structure evolved in a design pattern called MVC (Model – View – Controller).

On the management side, Waterfall requires details that are predefined and set in stone. Agile facilitates change and delivery in stage by stage. Testing methodologies ensure each stage works with all its components.

MVC frameworks and Agile facilitate remote contract delivery.

Remote

Remote development is a viable solution to the problem of the continuous growth area in bespoke software development.

We have the internet, many tools and methods for collaboration, communication and planning. We also have overloaded transport networks, increased expenses and real-estate costs to host a contractor on-site.

We can solve these problems with online Agile tools for remote project management and online communication.

Innovation

Remote development allows increased innovation as skills sets are no longer dependent on presence, developers use continual online training and upskill.

Developing software can be done in collaborative environments or by talented individuals.

Remote contracting has become a growth area in software development.