Softjourn

Web Development: 7 Areas to Consider When Planning a Project

Whether a website, web app, or other digital project, taking these seven areas into account when drafting a project plan will save you time and effort in the development phase

April 15, 2020 by Softjourn

Estimated reading time: 7 minutes, 20 seconds.

Having a new idea for a website or application is an exciting thing! But as with any type of project, a little bit of planning can go a long way. Product definition gives you not just an idea of everything you want to achieve with your idea, but also creates a roadmap of how you’re going to get there and what resources will be needed. 

Whether you’ve decided to go it alone or work with a consultant, there are a few things you should consider when designing a web application. Those of us here at Softjourn put together a list of considerations for planning a web development project.

The more you know about your end product, the better you’ll be able to select tools and systems to help you create said product. This knowledge will also help a consultant better meet your needs.

Two programmers discuss what they'll need for their next web application development project.

Architecture

The architecture of a website or web app is a pattern of interaction between various web application components, and can be broken down into five subsections: languages, API, frameworks, integrations, and topology.

While a stack is important because the different components will rely on one another to function, what’s more important is how well you use each item that you chose. There are pros and cons to every combination.

Here we’ll go through each subsection and delve into what to think about when choosing each.

Languages

There are more than 690 programming languages to choose from. And while it’s typical to believe something new is better than something old, that’s definitely not the case with programming languages; older programming languages have stood the test of time, are likely to be more reliable, and have a bigger community of support to rely on.

APIs

APIs, or application programming interfaces, allow for communication between different software. APIs are used by thousands of programs throughout the digital ecosystem, and are becoming an important method of connecting legacy systems and other programs with one another to create more efficient processes.

Traditional software design is focused on the user experience, because no one wants to use an unfriendly system whether they're an end user or a developer. But when APIs are created after a system is designed, it is beholden to a system's constraints and idiosyncrasies.

By developing with an API-First Design methodology, APIs are more than just a byproduct of an internal system. API-First Design establishes a contract for how your API communicates with other programs, even if the language behind a program is unknown.

Frameworks

A software framework provides generic functionality that can be customized depending on what end result is desired. Frameworks increase application reliability, and reduces programming and testing effort.

Every framework has its advantages and disadvantages, but there are still some core topics to consider when choosing a framework for a particular project. Much like with languages, developers are often inclined to go with what they know, but a familiar language, framework, or similar tool might not always be the best one for the job.

Integrations

Depending on the need or solution a planned web application is meant to resolve or provide, integration with existing systems is pretty much inevitable. There’s hardly a web development project today that doesn’t have some level of third-party vendor integration, whether for consumer features, connecting site analytics and marketing metrics, or integrating business process applications into a website.

With integration, organizations can create a seamless experience for their consumers. Authentication can come from numerous, verified sources; data can be consistently and accurately updated across multiple accounts. Time, effort, and money is saved by allowing automated processes to carry the bulk of tedious processes.

Topology

Topology awareness is incredibly important when it comes to orchestrating the deployment and life cycle management of different applications used in mission-critical processes to achieve maximum performance and efficiency. In a nutshell, topology is the understanding of where various enterprise applications are housed, how they're connected to one another, how often they're accessed and who they're accessed by, and their performance.

To reduce redundancies and identify gaps, topology can show where to overlay the needs of different applications in order to automate processes, like legacy, database-centric applications or modern stateless applications or complex network services, on a multi-cloud infrastructure.

Application and infrastructure topology awareness helps organizations deliver applications quickly, support essential business processes, make the most of data-centric apps using the benefits of cloud-native architectures, achieve greater ROI from existing infrastructure investments, and support cloud mobility.

Test-Driven Development

When building a web application, should you implement Test-Driven Development (TDD)? TDD is a software development process that relies on the repetition of a very short development cycle: requirements are turned into very specific test cases, and then the code is improved so that the tests pass. TDD can reduce time spent on rework because of the detailed and speedy feedback received, but it is not necessary in every situation.

It can be difficult to know when to implement TDD; different projects will have different needs. One important area where TDD should be applied is when new developers onboard a project. Performing TDD can ensure that refactored code is not breaking another part of the application.

Continuous Integration

Continuous integration (CI) is a crucial piece that can save you a ton of time in overhead with regard to tedious tasks, also saving developers from potential headaches. One half of the CI/CD equation (the other half being Continuous Delivery), CI allows developers to focus on building out features instead of doing monotonous tasks such as testing, building, and deploying regularly. When humans perform these tasks repeatedly, error can be introduced.

Automation turns software development into an assembly line, which in turn allows for results to be delivered in an incremental fashion. This means software and services are being continuously improved upon, allowing for their continued operation, and keeping customers happy.

Persistence

Persistence is important for understanding different data storage systems; this translates to choosing resources that will prevent substantial downtime or loss of data.

The most relevant type of persistence with regard to websites and web applications is session persistence, also sometimes called session stickiness. In this, a load balancer creates an affinity between a client and a specific network server for the duration of a session. With this, session stickiness creates a better user experience and optimizes network resource usage.

Many web applications need to serve personalized user data over the course of a session; without session stickiness, this means that the data would need to be maintained across multiple servers, which can be inefficient for large networks.
It's important to choose a load balancer that can meet your application and servers' needs, not to mention the audience you hope to serve.

Security

With the amount of information, number of connected devices, and growth of the internet worldwide, security is a high priority for anyone wishing to operate in a digital manner. Being unable to safeguard your consumer’s information doesn’t just mean opening others up to identity and other types of fraud, but also risking the difficult task of restoring one’s reputation.

Performance

Performance is typically something that can be improved upon after a website or application is developed and deployed; even with as much planning as possible, it’s not realistic to be able to anticipate any and all user interactions or other obstacles that might arise.

Deployment

Once the application is completed, it’s time to deploy! There are many cloud service providers to choose from, the largest of which being Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform. There are also many smaller service providers that offer tailored services that might work better for those working on a budget.

Cloud-based services grant you access to a lot of modern services and different geographical regions. While local data centers might be cheaper, clouds are a better alternative when it comes to growing your business.

Take some time to create a solid, documented deployment plan. By creating a checklist, you can ensure that your deployment goes smoothly, and you have time to resolve any speed bumps along the way by anticipating issues before they occur.

Conclusion

As with many technical projects, there’s a lot to consider. The more you can plan out in the beginning means less technical debt and cleanup, fewer obstacles to avoid, and a smoother, faster race to the finish so your product gets to market and is purchased by your target demographic.

Interested in talking more about web development? Softjourn, Inc. is a global technology services provider. As domain experts in Fintech, Cards & Payments, Media & Entertainment (with a special emphasis in ticketing), we apply our know-how to bring life to our client’s ideas.

We have several engagement models to fit your organization’s needs, and every project is paired with a knowledgeable and proactive project manager who keeps initiatives moving according to schedule and keeps you, the client, updated on all important information.

Our 200+ employees skillfully evaluate, identify, and plan innovative, creative solutions. We become a trusted partner by proactively collaborating on all design, build out, and deployment. Contact us today to give your ideas life!

Softjourn is a global technology services provider that finds custom solutions for our clients’ toughest challenges. We leverage our domain expertise in Fintech, Cards & Payments, and Media & Entertainment (with a special emphasis on ticketing), to apply new technology that brings our clients' growing needs to life. Contact us to discuss how we can make your idea a reality!