Web Application Development: Guidelines and Strategies

In essence, web apps are dynamic websites that offer powerful functionality, like user interaction, database access and management, and extensive browser search generation. Running on external servers and not limited to a particular operating system or device, web apps are a great choice for businesses and are used today for a number of purposes from social networking and online shopping to banking services, education, and corporate management optimisation. Whatever reason you have for beginning a web app development project, we can assist you to do it well and maximize your results.

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Application Development for Businesses

The prevalence of digital solutions for enterprises today is inescapable, and there are many reasons why businesses are integrating technology into their workflow. Chief among them are:
  • Reduced costs and overheads because of more streamlined work
  • Improved productivity with automated and powerful web instruments for employees
  • Greater outreach to millions of potential customers
  • Increased and steady revenue streams from an expanded customer bases
  • Wider brand awareness and recognition as an innovative, modern company
  • Who Needs a Web App?
  • How Can I Create a Web App?
  • Software Libraries
Web applications bring benefits to their owners, but the ones who benefit the most are looking to make changes in several distinct areas:

- Workflow: Computing power can complete many routine and complex tasks that free up employees to focus on other areas, as well as optimizing schedules and work plans and coordinating multiple tasks, sales and projects.

- Access and function: The technology of yesterday, desktop computers, are far too limiting for the demands of today’s markets. Fortunately, a web app allows for greater mobility and flexibility in your transactions and dealings, in addition to the many new possibilities only available with new technology.

- Reach: The web is the quickest way to reach the largest number of prospective clients, in addition to being a platform that offers instant pathways for communication.

- Innovate: The brands we recognize today are not only among the best in their field, but also competitively find new ways to interact with their customers through the power of modern digital channels.

Web application development falls into two primary categories: client-side scripting and server-side scripting
Client-side scripting programs are web applications that run on the power of a user’s browser (the “client’s side”). Such applications have source code that is viewable with a right click on any browser and is usually created with a combination of several languages:

- Hypertext Markup Language (HTML)

- Cascading Style Sheets (CSS)

- JavaScript

- Asynchronous JavaScript


- Ajax

- jQuery (a JavaScript library for client-side scripting)

- My Object-Oriented Tools (MooTools, an object-oriented JavaScript framework)

- Dojo Toolkit (an open source JavaScript library)

Server-Side Scripting are web applications that run on external servers. The source code of these applications is private and not visible to users. The instruments and languages for these apps generally includes one or several of the following:

- Hypertext Preprocessor (PHP, often combined with various database servers, e.g. MySQL, Microsoft SQL Server)

- ASP.NET (an open-source web app framework from Microsoft)

- Active Server Pages (ASP, ASP.NET’s predecessor)

- Zend Framework (ZF, an object-oriented web application framework for PHP)

- Adobe ColdFusion (a rapid web development platform)

- Perl (a free general-purpose dynamic programming language, larged replaced by PHP)

- Ruby on Rails (a free web application framework written in Ruby)

- Python (a free high-level, dynamic programming language)

Modern programming relies on much of the work that has been done before. New technology often builds upon existing technology much more than replaces it. Programmers rely heavily on libraries, which are collections of standard resources, such as functions, templates, configuration data and more to quickly build functionality without having to completely reinvent the wheel every time. A library is a single storage place for all of the routine operations. On Windows machines, these are usually marked by a .DLL extension.

Frameworks in Web Application Development

Where software libraries answer the “what” of standard elements in app development, frameworks answer “how” to their arrangement and architecture, further standardizing the ways in which things are done for maximum effectiveness and efficiency. Frameworks for web applications are aimed at simplifying the engineering to facilitate the best structure, promoting recycling of sleek code, providing tutorials on efficient database and hierarchy structures, demonstrating the best architecture and much more.
  • Benefits of Web Frameworks
  • Coding Standards and Conventions
  • Why Use Coding Conventions?
Frameworks are included in most web design projects for several reasons:

- Frameworks separate Logical (program actions and Design (HTML, CSS) features, compartmentalizing the different segments of a project, which allows multiple teams to work on their elements independently without interfering with other elements before merging them together. A perfect example of this is allowing a visual design team to work on the aesthetics of an interface without the need for programmers.

- Web frameworks break code into modules that associated tools and libraries feed into, allowing a development team to rapidly implement sophisticated functionality into an application.

- Frameworks simplify the work of teams, establishing strict, readily understood standards that all programmers follow and eliminates confusion on shared projects, which are also easily updated to follow the latest guidelines and industry standards.

The web application programming industry has formulated conventions in coding that experience and inexperience coders alike follow, establishing uniformity across platforms, cultures, languages and much more. Coding standards and conventions relate to:

- Programming style

- Principles

- Folder structure

- Programming practices

- Indentation

- Formatting

- Classes

- Architecture

- And much more

There are many reasons to follow coding conventions, and chief among them are:

- Simplification of collaborative work with other developers working on the same project.

- Easy program maintenance and updating

- Widest range of device compatibility

How to Approach Web App Creation

Given how complex web app development can be, a number of different methodologies have been created for the most streamlined management of projects to produce the greatest results. Each development agency tends to follow a single methodology based upon the nature of the company, their workers and their scope of work. Some web firms use the traditional systems development life cycle (SDLC) method, like the waterfall model and others follow the Agile software development approach.

SDLC Models

Companies that follow the waterfall model, in which development occurs in progressive layers, building successively on top of each other. The typical order of this method is:
  • App discovery
  • Specification of requirements
  • Analytical research
  • Architectural design
  • Concepts and mockups
  • Programming
  • Testing
  • Code examination
  • Debugging
  • Implementation
  • Deployment
  • Maintenance
The Agile method for mobile and web development is more dynamic, with multiple teams working simultaneously on several components of a project in unison with the client. This method offers the quickest path to a viable, working product for a client to take to market, as well as permits changes at any point in the process, even in the final stages of development without the need for a massive overhaul of the product.

The Web Software Creation Process

  • Starting from Scratch
  • Testing Web Applications
  • Benefiting Businesses and Customers
Whichever method a software development company chooses to follow, there are some commonalities between all projects and strategies that are traditional parts of a development team’s work. Proper documentation gives an important record of all prospective and completed tasks, and clients can expect most companies to have some version of the following steps in their process:

- Project Outline (project purpose, objectives and strategies)

- Audience Research and Analysis

- Technical Specifications (functional specifications and hardware/software requirements)

- Summary of Features

- Workplans and Project Management Logs

- Interactive Prototypes

- App Wireframe and Architecture

- Web App Architecture (development methodology and plans for upgrades, optimization and growth)

- Market Research and Analysis

- Third-Party Services and Platform Selection (merchant account/payment gateway, external server, SSL certificate, distribution agreements, self-service checkout systems, website analytics tools)

- App Mockup (design layout, app prototype, interface, database design)

- Testing Logs and Documentation (quality assurance management, data security, cross-browser compatibility, load impact and stress tests for app performance, usability assessments)

- Post-Launch Support

Proper testing distinguishes good apps from great ones, because user confidence is instantly lost when applications do not perform as well as they should or as well as they were promised to. That can means the actual testing can take more time and resources than the designing and programming to be absolutely certain that everything is running smoothly. Whenever you conduct testing, you must always pay particular attention to:

- Code examination and bug testing

- Cross-browser compatibility

- Performance (stress tests and load impact tests)

- Application security control

- Quality assurance

- Usability

The ways in which web development improves business interactions does not only move in one direction. Web applications don’t replace businesses - they are amplifiers. What web apps do achieve is taking businesses to the next level by supporting existing staff and infrastructures with a solid online presence and extending the place of business into the digital realm.

Consumers and providers alike are changing rapidly in this technical era, and customers continue to demand the highest quality and and lowest prices on goods and services. Now they are also heavily influenced by the quality of their experiences. Your business will always decide how to handle price and quality, but a well-designed web application allows you to compete and win in that third realm.

Companies who have struggled in recent times have been able to turn that around with web apps, innovating to keep their businesses not only relevant, but successful in the face of shifting markets and new customer behavior. The possibilities are limitless on the web, so don’t hesitate to discover what new opportunities await you and your business by going online.