New Year, New Look – Technology

Technology – is quite literally our bread & butter.

Our strength is .Net (& associated technologies) & NodeJS (& associated technologies). We work on everything from desktops, web, mobile, hybrid & cloud. We develop for custom line-of-business applications, one-off mobile apps, API’s, Arduino-based robots and everything else that is possible within these technologies. We work with databases like SQL Server, MySQL, Oracle, MongoDB, & CouchDB. We are decent with SSRS, SSIS technologies. We work with Azure, AWS, Heroku & AppFog cloud services. We have worked on various domains like Banking, Insurance, Mortgage, Media & Healthcare.

It is easy to go crazy & get the best-in-breed for what we need as our IT stack (both in-house + client-facing). However, we believe that we need to keep our in-house technology costs to a minimum to free up more capital on other revenue-generating areas like: Client Projects, R&D, Sales, Marketing etc., given that we are self-funded (aka: its coming out of our own pockets!)

So, while we can (& do!) use all of these technologies & tools – we prefer to keep our own internal systems as light as possible by using Open Source Software, where possible. So, Notepad++, Visual Studio Express Editions etc., are more common place than full-blown Premium Editions for anything internal. Thank you OSS & the people who contribute their time/effort to creating them – our small company is totally dependent & grateful to the community. On our future to-do list – we have a goal to contribute back sufficiently to the community & hopefully show our respect to the whole initiative.

On the other hand, client-facing projects & R&D get all the love – best of what we have today, with a healthy does of “is there an OSS option” before we plunge into licensing & installs etc.

To help focus where we really want to spend our limited cash, we came up with a simple criteria as below:

  • Client-facing IT
    • Will do whatever it takes to deliver the best results
    • Costs are offset via pricing of that specific service
  • R&D efforts IT
    • Will take a one-time hit on specific projects
    • Will be OSS, where-ever feasible & if we have alternatives to a specific technology/solution
    • Costs are budgeted for the year & spend is monitored
    • Expected ROI is tracked very closely
  • Internal IT & Website(s)
    • Will be OSS, where-ever feasible
    • Each item given a nominal value of $50/year (or less!)
    • The only spend allowed for items in this bucket are related to security & privacy of data, which might push up the nominal value

The Cost of a Website

With our limited budget of $50.00/year (or less!), here is our technology stack & costing for this website:

Description Cost

NodeJS with Express Webserver. Front-end is built using Bootstrap with Font-awesome & a sprinkling of custom CSS. All code done using NotePad++  as IDE, keeps the overall tool licensing to a minimum!

Source Control & Issue Tracker

BitBucket has been our go-to system for both source control & internal issue tracking. Couple of reasons for this selection: unlimited PRIVATE repositories (a must) which GitHub does not provide! Built-in Issue Tracker (not the greatest), however it can be independently private and/or public to accept bugs. Limits to 5 users – which is effectively more than double our current staff. What else can a SMB ask for?


Mandrill/Mailchimp for email/campaign  solution (12,000 emails/month free rocks!) & we don’t blast out half that. AWS SES is another option, but we wanted a higher-level of functionality (like: Campaigns, Mailing lists etc.) without having to write & so Mailchimp it is.


all images assets (& eventually all static files like: .css, .js, .html etc.) hosted by Cloudinary Free account. 75,000 images in that band & we have uploaded 21 of which 15 background images of the home page & remaining various versions of the Logo, Favicon & touch-enabled versions for iPhone/Andriod/Windows.


AWS Free-tier for 1 year rocks! (& keeps the $ down too). Node-clustered t1.micro Ubuntu instance deployed to US-East data center. We don’t have large traffic (per our Google Analytics Stats). But if we see loads moving up, we will scale. A Load Balancer + 2x t1.small instance would suffice for the next step if/when we get to it.

*AWS Free-tier year 1;
Domain Hosting

GoDaddy (irrespective of their racy ads, which we love in a quirky way!).

*$50.85/5 years (1 year free + 4 years of hosting)

WordPress free edition to host this blog site & all the goodness associated with it! Yes it is not branded site & neither is it subdomain-ed under However we are pulling latest 3 entries from the blog into this site & based on how the traffic goes we will plan for better integration. We do have an up-coming release to have to point to this Wordpress blog

 Total Cost (year 1) $20.17

NOTE 1: we don’t have a SSL Certificate for this site. We will need one eventually, especially one that covers sub-domains like * If anyone has a good (& cheap) option, drop us a note.

NOTE 2: read the above cost breakdown purely from a website running perspective. We have not added the legal documentation costs of running a start-up, into this list as it is a different bucket of expense to the whole IT-side of the business. Perhaps one day, we might put that up into a blog post too.


While keeping the costs lean is ideal, we want to be practical & do what is absolutely needed & cut out the rest. Do you see anything that can be changed and/or needed which is missing from the list above? Leave us a comment.

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New Year, New Look – Design

Here is an interesting quote, which highlights our design philosophy:

Without good design, it is easy to miss the point
– Bjarni Wark

As a small start-up company, our need to project the branding/messaging is key both as a means to show the differentiating value we bring to our clients & as a message which will resonate with them if they had an opportunity to just glance over it once.

After a lot of debate, the simplest mission statement we could craft is:

We Deliver High Quality Software
– IT.Wox Mission Statement

This statement captures our area of work (namely Software Development), our approach (of Delivery) & what the client can expect in the whole process (High Quality).

Needless to say – our whole design now revolves around this message.

The Offerings

Limited as our team is, we cannot (& will not!) promise to do everything under the sun. Rather our focus is simple & plays to our strengths:

  • Consulting: which applies to one-off point-in-time help to our client needs for Architecture, Design & Development of Applications (usually web/mobile or hybrids). We bring over 20+ years of experience in this space & can help guide our clients for simplest to complex enterprise-grade implementations.
  • Development: which applies to our own development efforts, be it Open Source Software or custom Software Products (to be announced soon!) and/or custom development for our clients. We are hands-on technical team with skills in .Net & NodeJS platforms.

Our belief is that a company is successful if it has both Consulting & Development offerings. On one hand, Consulting exposes you to different & unique experiences with a constant need to quickly assess situations & provide solutions within a pre-defined timelines based off your past experiences/knowledge. On the other hand, in-house Development gives us the technical depth to dig deep & have our own arsenal of tools & techniques to offer when our clients approach us with their specific needs.

The Design

We feel our new site captures the mission statement & our current offerings really well.


Our mission statement really pops out with our service offerings following with clear Call-To-Action buttons inviting the visitor to contact us.

The site is responsive. We are using the excellent Bootstrap CSS framework for the responsive behavior & alignment of various components. JADE view engine delivers the HTML over ExpressJS web-server. We did think about Angular/React/Flux/(you name it…), but at this point we kept the over-all development complexity to a minimum by sticking to plain-old HTML renderings.

While the page content was intentionally kept spartan to avoid information overload, this layout allows us to expand the number of widgets on the UI & gives us an ability to show-case various items in the future in a dashboard-y way.


One important addition to the UI is the Contact Widget:


This widget will be visible on most of the screens in the new design, albeit with few modifications of the title to make sense in the different page contexts like so:

Capture2 Capture3

This allows our visitors to reach out via email and/or via our Twitter account for any question and/or comments in a consistent manner. Over a period of time, we hope to add a LinkedIn, Facebook & Chat/IRC links here.

While having an email contact for support is no-brainer, we did debate including the Twitter account up there. We look at Twitter as a social communication “headliner” rather than a discussion forum. However it might help promote the brand by having few tweets going out at the current stage. Time & experience will give us better understanding of this design decision.


Blogging is going to be key for us to show-case some of the interesting happenings around IT.Wox. Besides the title of our Blog is pretty cool (IMO):


Needless to say, it had to be part of our home page.

We currently pull in the 3 latest postings from our blog & show up on the UI.

Ideally we would have liked to pull in content based off a specific tag and/or set of tags (e.g.: pull content which has been tagged “IT.Wox” on the blog). Or take it a step further & pull content based off the visitor’s browsing history (e.g.: pull content on “.NET” if the user has been searching on that term & we have Google and/or some other social behavior tracking software provide that context).

While the whole behavior tracking seems cool, we need to be cognizant of visitor privacy (which is a whole different post at a later time). Besides, what if the user has been searching for furniture during this holiday season & lands on this site out of some twist of fate? Do we show him a blank in the blogs as we (usually) will not have any content related to furniture?

So, the choice was simple – pull by tags at a later date (when we build up sufficient content) & till then latest 3 postings it is.


At this time, this site contains the bare bone minimum amount of content & information needed. Over the coming months, we will expand both the content & the functionality of this site to better fit our needs. However, we are confident that the current design should hold for most of our use-cases & would love to hear your comments/feedback about this new look.

Is there any aspect of this site we should have styled differently? Do you like/hate it? Feel free to sound off in the comments & continue reading the remaining parts of this series.

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New Year, New Look

The IT.Wox site has been dormant for a while & the site had gone stale.

Just in time for the New Year 2016, time to refresh & reboot!

So, here’s presenting the new look site:

The Goals

  • Highlight what IT.Wox stands for (aka. motto/USP/theme)
  • Highlight the services/products of IT.Wox (aka. what we do)
  • Highlight some interesting aspects of the site (via Blog, News, Social etc.)
  • Support mobile & desktop browsers (gracefully degrade, where possible)

The Subtle Text

Being that we are a start-up (of 2 people, part-time!), the design had to be done in-house or rather by your’s truly. With $50.00/year (or less!) operating budget, the site has to deliver a message on a budget!

However, we need to support latest “web presence” requirements:

  • A mobile-first website
  • Branding & messaging
  • Social media presence
  • Site Analytics
  • Communications & interactions with web visitors
  • Modern web development standards (build – test – deploy)
  • Source control, Issue Tracker & Build Management
  • Scalable Infrastructure
  • Legal needs like privacy policy, disclaimers etc.

The Subtle-er Text

This site is an expression.
Of what we can do, of how we can do it & our whole philosophy/approach to the business of IT as it applies to consulting & development. It is an expression of our vision of a company & what we hope to achieve.

This site is an experiment.
Of technology, design & integration of various components which are needed for modern web development. In that sense, this site is not finished (& might never be!), we hope to keep it going forward each cycle to the next version with better improvements to reflect our current understanding & thinking about this business.

This site is an experience & instruction.
Of the details needed for running & maintaining a simple web site. While the scale is small/micro, the complexity & approach is still the same as any of the large site/applications out there. We will surely learn – from our experience, feedback from this site & other channels, to make it better. However, we could also be a source of knowledge for other developers out there & starting out on similar endeavors.

The Next…

In the following few weeks, we hope to post some of the interesting aspects of this site, few implementation details & hope you will read along and/or provide comments where due.

Happy New Year!

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