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Web Site Development Process
Like the traditional software development, the process of web site development can also be divided into different life cycle steps. This can help to format the team effectively, and the standards and procedures can be adopted to achieve maximum quality. This article explains the steps of development which can be possibly arranged as a process of web engineering. This is just a guideline to help you, to know, how a process can be done. The steps may vary from application to application. Write me your suggestions and comments on this article to Benny@macronimous.com
Note: Throughout this text, The words web sites, web applications, web based applications and Intranet/extranets are interchangeable.
A system development process can follow a number of standard or company specific frameworks, methodologies, modeling tools and languages. Software development life cycle normally comes with some standards which can fulfill the needs of any development team. Like software, web sites can also be developed with certain methods with some changes and additions with the existing software development process. Let us see the steps involve in any web site development.
Once a customer is started discussing his requirements, the team gets into it, towards the preliminary requirement analysis. As the web site is going to be a part of a system, It needs a complete analysis as, how the web site or 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 on how the web site is going to join the existing system. The first important thing is finding the targeted audience. Then, All the present hardware, software, people and data should be considered during the time of analysis. For example, if a company XYZ corp is in need of a web site to have its human resource details online, the analysis team may try to utilize the existing data about the employees from the present database. The analysis should be done in the way, that it may not be too time consuming or with very less informative. The team should be able to come up with the complete cost-benefit analysis and as the plan for the project will be an output of analysis, it should be realistic. To achieve this the analyst should consult the designers, developers and testers to come up with a realistic plan.
Input: Interviews with the clients, Mails and supporting docs by the client, Discussions Notes, Online chat, recorded telephone conversations,Model sites/applications etc.,
Output: 1. Work plan, 2. Cost involved, 3. Team requirements, 4. Hardware-software requirements, 5. Supporting documents and 6. the approval
2. Specification Building:
Preliminary specifications are drawn up by covering up each and every element of the requirement. For example if the product is a web site then the modules of the site including general layout, site navigation and dynamic parts of the site should be included in the spec. Larger projects will require further levels of consultation to assess additional business and technical requirements. After reviewing and approving the preliminary document, a written proposal is prepared, outlining the scope of the project including responsibilities, timelines and costs.
Input: Reports from the analysis team
Output: Complete requirement specifications to the individuals and the customer/customer's representative
3. Design and development:
After building the specification, work on the web site is scheduled upon receipt of the signed proposal, a deposit, and any written content materials and graphics you wish to include. Here normally the layouts and navigation will be designed as a prototype.
Some customers may be interested only in a full functional prototype. In this case we may need to show them the interactivity of the application or site. But in most of the cases customer may be interested in viewing two or three design with all images and navigation.
There can be a lot of suggestions and changes from the customer side, and all the changes should be freezed before moving into the next phase. The revisions could be redisplayed via the web for the customer to view.
As needed, customer comments, feedback and approvals can be communicated by e-mail, fax and telephone.
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.
In parallel the Database team will sit and understand the requirements and develop the database with all the data structures and sample data will also be prepared.
Input: Requirement specification
Output: Site design with templates, Images and prototype
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