Modern websites are a far cry from the static text and graphics showcases of a decade ago, Today almost all popular and successful websites today, be it online shopping portals, lead management systems, surveys, event registration, reservation, and ticketing systems, social networks, entertainment sites, eCommerce websites implement web based applications.

Web applications are computer programs. These programs allow website visitors to submit and retrieve data to/from a database over the Internet using a preferred web browser. The data is then presented to the user within the browser as information is generated dynamically by the web application through a web server.

Web application development is not necessarily an easy task. A properly developed web application must undergo a series of actions to ensure success.

The 5 Step Software Development Cycle

The software development life cycle normally comes with some standard processes which can be managed by a well-trained development team. Like software, web site applications is also developed with a certain methodologies. Let us look at the steps involved in most any web site development projects.

1. Analysis:

As the web site is going to be a part of a system, It needs a complete analysis as, how the web based application is going to help the present system and how the site is going to help the business. Moreover the analysis should cover all the aspects especially what are the performance expectations of the finished product. Another key aspect of the analysis is identifying and understanding the targeted audience and their respective demographic.

2. Identify Specifications:

After the analysis, preliminary specifications are drawn up by covering up each and every element of the requirement. This specification document is then used by the design and development team as a master plan ensuring the ongoing understanding of the project requirements.

3. Design:

The Design step includes the creation and design of all the pages implementing the application features as design elements to be programmed later by the coding team. In most of the cases customer may be interested in viewing two or three design versions. Revisions are displayed via the web project board for the customer to view. In optimum project management processes, customer comments, feedback and approvals are submitted to a project management board for easy review and retrieval by all relevant parties. Throughout the design phase the team should develop test plans and procedures for quality assurance. It is necessary to obtain client approval on design and project plans. Once approved the approved coded designs are provided to the Programming team for development.

4. Development:

In parallel the Database team will develop the database with all the data structures. Unlike traditional design the coder must be familiar with the interface as the code should not change or alter the look and feel of the site or application. It is important the programming team and the designer interact and communicate well in order for the programmer to thoroughly understand the design. The coders should always produce necessary testing plans as well as technical documentation. The end-user documentation can also be prepared by the coding team, which can be used by a technical writer.

5. Testing:

Unlike software, web based applications need intensive testing, as the applications will always function as a multi-user system with bandwidth limitations. Some of the testing which should be done are, Integration testing, Stress testing, Scalability testing, load testing, resolution testing and cross-browser compatibility testing. Both automated testing and manual testing should be done without fail. For example its needed to test fast loading graphics and to calculate their loading time, as they are very important for any web site.

There are ideal testing tools which assists quality assurance testers. After the testing is completed a live Beta testing is necessary for web sites and web based applications. After uploading the site a final testing is conducted.

Successful businesses have made intelligent use of web application development to enhance their business prospects. However web application development should be handled only by firms who have the experience and technological understanding to undertake challenging application development .

Once your company requires an online application look for a web development with a strong portfolio of clients that have an industry reputation. A strong website development company can make any website effective.

from http://www.webdesign.org/web-design-basics/website-usability/page-1.html

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