SA’s Passmarked launches to score how well your website works

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South African service Passmarked has launched in private beta, providing a quality score on how well websites work in terms of security, compatibility and code.

Passmarked, which will undergo private beta testing while its co-founders build out a commercial offering, uses internet standards and best practices to tests a site’s performance, and has scored over 17 million pages to date.

“We have built this tool because, as developers ourselves, we needed it. Our closed beta is our first step in sharing our thinking with developers across the globe so that collectively we create a tool that can support us all in creating and maintaining better websites and services,” said Barry Botha, head of Passmarked.

“The internet isn’t static and what makes for a good, secure and effective site a few months ago many not be the same today. With big changes like HTTP2 coming and other continuous adjustments as new security exploits are revealed means that sites need continual attention and best practices keep changing. It is getting harder for developers today to keep track of the health of their websites and they need one simple-to-use tool to do this for them.”

This tool is Passmarked, with Botha saying that building sites was one thing, but maintaining them quite another.

“We needed a comprehensive service that would continually track how our sites were performing and while there are a number of stand-alone offerings, there wasn’t something that we could subscribe to that would run a health check, quietly in the background on all our sites and just notify us when something needed attention. So we built Passmarked,” he said.

The closed beta is aimed at enabling the development community to get involved first and vote on the rules, standards and best practices Passmarked has included, and work with the team to create a score that makes sense to everyone. Botha said Passmarked had been developed on the basis of collective intelligence.

“We want to collaborate with as many developers as possible to make this service an integral part of any web development cycle,” he said.

People with a GitHub account will be able to vote rules up and down and increase or decrease the impact the rule has on the ultimate quality score.

“In this way, Passmarked will always reflect the most up to date view of effective web development,” said Botha.

The beta version of the site allows registered users to enter website URLs and test them against the pillars of performance, compatibility, code and security. A score out of 100 is assigned to each pillar, and then to the page as a whole. The tool then generates a detailed report card for your website reflecting these scores and the specific standards or best practices that are not being adhered to. The report card finally includes advice on how to fix each identified error.

“This version of the service will be free, for humans, forever,” said Botha. “Our commercial offer will be a subscription service where Passmarked will go through an entire domain daily, and let the subscriber know if anything has changed.”

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Passionate about the vibrant tech startups scene in Africa, Tom can usually be found sniffing out the continent's most exciting new companies and entrepreneurs, funding rounds and any other developments within the growing ecosystem.

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