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Web Application Development

Sumphero create web applications that are dynamic solutions with server side programming to provide functionalities such as interacting with users, connecting to back-end databases, and generating results to browsers.

Examples of Web Applications are Online Banking, Social Networking, Online Reservations, eCommerce / Shopping Cart Applications, Interactive Games, Online Training, Online Polls, Blogs, Online Forums, Content Management Systems, etc..

 

Technologies:

There are two main categories of coding, scripting and programming for creating these Web Applications:

I. Client Side Scripting / Coding - Client Side Scripting is the type of code that is executed or interpreted by browsers. Client Side Scripting is generally viewable by any visitor to a site (from the view menu click on "View Source" to view the source code).

Below are some common Client Side Scripting technologies:

  • HTML (HyperText Markup Language)
  • CSS (Cascading Style Sheets)
  • JavaScript
  • Ajax (Asynchronous JavaScript and XML)
  • jQuery (JavaScript Framework Library - commonly used in Ajax development)
  • MooTools (JavaScript Framework Library - commonly used in Ajax development)
  • Dojo Toolkit (JavaScript Framework Library - commonly used in Ajax development)

II. Server Side Scripting / Coding - Server Side Scripting is the type of code that is executed or interpreted by the web server.

Server Side Scripting is not viewable or accessible by any visitor or general public.

Below are the common Server Side Scripting technologies:

  • PHP (very common Server Side Scripting language - Linux / Unix based Open Source - free redistribution, usually combines with MySQL database)
  • Zend Framework (PHP's Object Oriented Web Application Framework)
  • ASP (Microsoft Web Server (IIS) Scripting language)
  • ASP.NET (Microsoft's Web Application Framework - successor of ASP)
  • ColdFusion (Adobe's Web Application Framework)
  • Ruby on Rails (Ruby programming's Web Application Framework - free redistribution)
  • Perl (general purpose high-level programming language and Server Side Scripting Language - free redistribution - lost its popularity to PHP)
  • Python (general purpose high-level programming language and Server Side Scripting language - free redistribution)

Web Applications Lifecycle Model

Web Application Lifecycle is the process of developing a web application and involvement of the multiple teams that are engaged in the development process. Each organization may set forth its own unique style of operating.

Some companies follow a certain standard model such as SDLC (System Development Life Cycle) or Agile Software Development Model.
SDLC is the traditional process of developing software or web applications by including research to identify and define the application requirements, information analysis, architectural design and specifications blueprint, team involvement, programming, testing and bug fixing, system testing, implementation and maintenance.
Agile Software / Web Application Development is the iterative development process and development process practices that focus on collaboration of people involved and provide a better procedure to allow revisions and evolution of web application requirements. Agile methodology includes research, analysis, project management, design, programming, implementation, frequent testing, adaptation and maintenance.

Web Application Development Process

Web Application Development Process organizes a practical procedure and approach in application development.

For detail information: Web Application Development Process

The following list of procedures and suggested documents provide a good outline for a Web Application Lifecycle and Process:

  • Roadmap Document: Defining Web Application, Purpose, Goals and Direction
  • Researching and Defining Audience Scope and Security Documents
  • Creating Functional Specifications or Feature Summary Document
  • Team Collaboration and Project Management Document
  • Technology Selection, Technical Specifications, Illustrative Diagram of Web Application Architecture and Structure, Development Methodology, Versions Control, Backups, Upgrades, Expansion and Growth Planning Document, Server Hardware / Software Selection
  • Third Party Vendors Analysis and Selection (Merchant Account and Payment Gateway, SSL Certificate, Managed Server / Colocated Server Provider, Fulfillment Centers, Website Visitor Analytics Software, Third Party Checkout Systems, etc.)
  • Application Visual Guide, Design Layout, Interface Design, Wire Framing
  • Database Structure Design and Web Application Development
  • Testing: Quality Assurance, Multiple Browser Compatibility, Security, Performance - Load and Stress Testing, Usability
    Maintenance.

Web Application Development Process

Requirements for Developing Web Applications:

1. Roadmap Document: Defining Web Application, Purpose, Goals and Direction

(Performed by client / project owner) This initial task is an important part of the process. It requires putting together the Web Application project goals and purpose. This step establishes your project's clear direction and helps you focus on setting and achieving your goal. The Roadmap Document will specify the Web Application's future plan and objectives with approximate timelines.

2. Researching and Defining Audience Scope and Security Documents

(Performed by client / project owner, or by Comentum, as a fee service) This task requires researching the audience/users, and prospective clients (if any), and creating an Analytic Report which includes the following approximate assessments:

  • Type of audience for usability purposes:
    Creating Statistic Reports on the percentage of users: elementary, average, advanced, the audience ages, and gender
  • Type and level of access:
    Creating an Access Report, specifying users' access of Intranet, Internet, Extranet - single-level, multi-level
  • Type of audience for planning the security level:
    Creating a Risk Statistical Document based on users' characteristics, zone's fraud level, application's industry security breaches, and history of the audience's security breaches
  • Quantitative statistics on audience:
    Creating a Potential Visitors Report, broken down by reasonable periodic time frames

3. Creating Functional Specifications or Feature Summary Document

(Performed by client / project owner)
A Web Application Functionality Specifications Document is the key document in any Web Application project. This document will list all of the functionalities and technical specifications that a web application will require to accomplish. Technically, this document can become overwhelming if one has to follow the Functional Specifications rule and detail out each type of user's behavior on a very large project. However, it is worth putting forth the effort to create this document which will help prevent any future confusion or misunderstanding of the project features and functionalities, by both the project owner and developer. A typical functional specification will list every user's behavior, for example:

When a visitor clicks on the "Add to Cart" button from the Product Showcase page, the item is added to the visitor's shopping cart, the Product Showcase page closes and the user is taken to the Shopping Cart page which shows the new item in the cart.

If creating a functional specification document is overwhelming to you, I recommend starting out by creating a Specification Document or Feature Summary Document by either creating the sample screen shots of the web application screens or creating a document that includes a summary list of the application's features, for example:

Product / Inventory Summary Showcase: displays a summary of items for sale, stock number, item name, short description, one photo, price, and Add to Cart button. Product / Inventory One Item Showcase: displays the detail of one inventory item: stock number, item name, long description, multiple photos (up to 10 photos), price, and Add to Cart button.

4. Third Party Vendors Identification, Analysis and Selection

(Performed by client / project owner)
This task requires researching, identifying and selection of third party vendors, products and services such as:

  • Web Application Development Company - for detail information: How to Hire a Good Web Application Development Company
  • Merchant Account and Payment Gateway - for detail information: Guide to Merchant Accounts and Payment Gateways
  • SSL Certificate (example providers: Verisign, GeoTrust)
  • Managed Server / Colocation Server Provider - for detail information: Managed Hosting Comparison
  • Server, Network, Firewall, Load Balancer Equipment (may not needed if using a managed server - example: DELL, Cisco 5520 Load Balancer)
  • Fulfillment Centers (example: Shipwire)

5. Technology Selection, Technical Specifications, Web Application Structure and Timelines

This document is the blueprint of the technology and platform selection, development environment, web application development structure and framework. The Technical Specifications Document will detail out the technology used, licenses, versions and forecasts. The Timeline Document will identify the completion dates for the Web Application's features or modules.

6. Application Visual Guide, Design Layout, Interface Design, Wire framing

(Created by the collaboration of the project owner and Comentum)
One of the main ingredients to a successful project is to put together a web application that utilizes a user's interactions, interface and elements that have a proven record for ease of use, and provide the best user experience. This process starts out by creating the visual guide, wire framing or simply sketching out the user interface and interactions of the web applications by Comentum's Creative and Usability teams of experts. Once the Application Interface and Interaction Models are approved, Comentum's creative team design the interface for the web application.

7. Web Application Development

The application's Design Interface is turned over to Comentum's Development Team who take the following steps to develop the project:

  • Create the Web Application Architecture and Framework
  • Design the Database Structure
  • Develop / Customize the Web Application Module, Libraries and Classes
  • Complete the Development and Implement all Functionalities - Version 1.0

8. Beta Testing and Bug Fixing

Comentum's vigorous quality assurance testing help produce the most secure and reliable web applications.

Version 1.0 of the Web Application is thoroughly tested and any program bugs are addressed and fixed.