Attendence.gov.in : my technical perspective!
Attendance.gov.in is an online biometric Attendance System launched by the Indian Government to have a transparent view on the work ethics of Government employees. This is one of the projects undertaken by the prime minister of India Shri Narendra Modi.
The website looks fabulous compared to earlier government websites. Its responsive and provides a good amount of data for the public to view. But, there are claims to this website leading to hanging of the computer or sometimes the browser and the coding of the website being of inferior quality. So, I spent time going through the website , to find evidence of either a bad execution or a bad user experience.
So, during my entire session viewing the website, neither the website nor the system hanged. It was working completely normal and it didn’t provide any lag of signs of hanging when i tried multitasking with this website opened on 2 different browsers. The website is programmed to fetch data from the server every 8 seconds so that, the data displayed is updated to almost real time. But I found that on an average, the data was being refreshed every 2 to 20 seconds and the changes in the numbers were reflected on the graph accordingly.
Websites use AJAX to create asynchronous websites. The concept behind an asynchronous websites is that, the website shows changes dynamically when the server system changes its state and the change is reflected in the users browser without the need for the user to have some kind of an interaction with the website. Now there is code in this website where ajax is used but its effect is nullified by using async: false (screenshot below) , So this beats the whole point of using ajax.
link to this source code : here
There is also evidence that, some of the charts used in the website has data hard coded using JS. And yes, its true (screenshot below).
link to source code: here
So with this, the question arises, will the data be manually updated every time?or is it just dummy data?
I think, its not dummy data because, this data has changed since the last time, indicating that this data is manually updated. Now, there might be a better way to update data that relatively stays same for a long period of time but i don’t know of any.
I don’t think its fair to say that, we haven’t used the best programmers available to carry out a much better job of getting this site up and running. I mean, healthcare.gov project under the Obama administration, clearly had the best of the people building it but failed miserably the first time but it recovered. So, I think we are at a better state than that and can always strive to achieve better.
To conclude, being an ambitious project there might be certain areas, where it lacks to be a website built with high standards. But as a layman, it provides me with a way to have more transparency with the working of government and beginning of an era of online information sharing in India, and that is why I am extremely exited about this.