CheckPanel: Fresh Task-Management App for Site Owners
CheckPanel is a brand-new web app from Germany. It aims at the organization of recurring tasks around maintaining a website. One of the many use-cases could be the inevitable check whether an URL is reachable or not, the so-called web monitoring. But, as experienced admins will confirm, there are a lot more things to check regularly when you want a website to run flawlessly.
CheckPanel: Clean Looks, Intuitive Usability
CheckPanel, created and maintained by the German web developer Florian Sander, has just started out in public beta and can be used free of charge to full extent. In the future, a freemium model is to be established around the core functions. As of today there are no informations to detail the whens and whats of coming pricing plans.
CheckPanel can be used with no hurdles. All you need is a mail address and a password to get you going. CheckPanel sends you an activation link, you confirm it and are good to go. An almost completely empty UI welcomes you and offers to create the first checklist.
As there is no further guidance on how to use the service, it is more or less up to you, which way you head. The way I decided to use checklists is to map them to my projects. Each of my projects is represented by a checklist. First thing I implemented into all of them is the general availability check I used to need separate monitoring services for, but now no longer do. Availability checks for any given URL can be defined as so-called Robochecks in CheckPanel, which has them executed about every 30 minutes, which should be sufficient for most small to medium sized sites.
Any other task can be defined as recurring, too. I, for example, maintain a web service which frequently shows problems related to a bunch of web forms connected to a database. Sometimes they run, sometimes they fail. I decided to have a check of these forms be a recurring task every two weeks. Check-tasks can be delegated to a group of testers, too.
Or, you might be in charge of the content of a larger website focusing on legal information. As these contents tend to change quickly, you might find it useful to define a recurring tasks that focuses on checking the validity of the contents on pages A, B or C. Wouldn't it be embarrassing to have outdated content just because you didn't remember to check it regularly?
CheckPanel is all about collaboration. A lot of test-cases wouldn't make a lot of sense if it wasn't. The service keeps a history of everything going on inside of it: tasks are stores with their individual states and the times of dates of changes to them. At one glance you can see who did what when and what has not been done, but should have. Testers are able to issue error reports on their findings.
CheckPanel is a fresh idea, at least one that I haven't come across before. Of course is it possible to organize test scenarios by other means, I use Basecamp long-since. But Sander's service offers a different, more specialized approach which, especially in combination with the basic web monitoring it offers, has its own advantages. I'm going to give CheckPanel more than one go in the coming weeks. Are you, too?