Custom Web Development: From Planning to Programming

custom web developmentAre you developing an online application? Do you need to add new functionality to your website that HTML can’t offer? Custom web development using languages like PHP, JavaScript, and ASP can make creating powerful web applications simple.

In this guide, we’ll look at the steps involved in custom web development, from the planning and goal-setting process to selecting the best language and developers to complete your project on time and within your budget.

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What type of project are you developing?

custom web developmentIf you’ve never developed an online application before, the normally quick process of selecting a programming language can be quite challenging. A huge range of web programming languages are available, ranging from the simple to the complex.

There’s no ideal programming language for every project. However, based on your team’s experience, the type of project you’re developing, and your budget, you can select a programming language that’s capable of achieving your goals.

Are you working with a team? If so, ask your developers which language they have the greatest level of proficiency in. Do they love Ruby on Rails? Are they experts in PHP development? Do they love to build web applications using Python?

Successful web applications have been built using almost every language. Facebook, for example, is powered by PHP. Instagram and Pinterest were developed in Python, while websites like GitHub and Groupon were built using Ruby on Rails.

The programming language you use to build your website will have a huge effect on the amount of time it takes to build. Choose your programming language carefully in order to maximize your team’s productivity and minimize your budget.

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Putting together a web development plan

custom web developmentOnce you’ve selected a programming language, it’s time to build a web development plan. Your plan should include specific milestones and goals related to certain parts of your web application, as well as the different phases of its development.

If you’re developing a large web application, you’ll need a detailed project plan that takes costs, time, and other factors into account. Think of your development project like a construction project and work on it piece by piece and stage by stage.

Think carefully about which parts of your project depend on other parts. Does your design need to be ready before your code? Does your development team need help with certain aspects of the project that will require outsourcing?

If you’re a non-technical project manager, you’ll want to speak with your developers during the planning process to learn about their needs. Your project may need to be developed in a certain order for every component to work together successfully.

Your developers might also like to work with specific frameworks, which can speed up development. Knowing all of this information prior to project launch makes it far easier to hire contractors or change the project’s scope once you get started.

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At the very least, you’ll need to prepare a work structure and list of milestones prior to starting work on your project. Learn more about project planning for the web and other environments by enrolling in our Basics of Project Planning.

Outsourcing your custom web development

custom web developmentAre you launching a large development project? Outsourcing certain aspects of your development can be incredibly helpful, especially when your project involves large amounts of repetitive code that can easily be completed by contractors.

Without the right strategy, however, outsourcing can often turn into an expensive and frustrating headache. When you outsource to reduce your development costs, you can often increase them by having to spend time fixing badly written code.

Because of this, it’s important to have an outsourcing strategy ready before you hire any programmers for your project. One of the best ways to judge programmers is by assigning them a small test project prior to starting on your real work.

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Outsourcing your development is generally a good idea when you’re using popular coding languages. There are tens of thousands of PHP developers, for example, out there willing to work for prices that can substantially reduce your project’s cost.

When you need specialized skills – or developers skilled in an uncommon language – outsourcing can quickly become an expensive process. If your project uses a web programming language that’s not very common, try to keep development in-house.

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Testing your web application before release

custom web developmentEvery developer knows that it costs much more to fix a mistake after release than it does to fix it while your project is still in development. Before you launch your new web application, you’ll need to carry out functionality, UI, and security testing.

Functionality testing is simple, albeit time consuming. Go through your app to see if your forms, links, and buttons all work properly. Report any errors to your team for correction before your product’s initial release.

User interface (UI) testing is slightly more complicated. You’ll need to check if your app functions properly in all web browsers, as well as making sure that it complies with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines.

Does your web application collect sensitive data from consumers like emails, credit card information, and addresses? If so, you’ll need to perform in-depth security tests to make sure their data is safe from hackers and malicious software.

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Finally, if your web application is designed for a mass audience, you’ll need to carry out load testing to make sure it can handle mass use. Learn how to tune your server for optimum performance in our blog post on SQL performance tuning.

Are you ready to get started?

From simple mobile applications to complex business-to-business web applications with multiple user levels, custom web development is a diverse discipline. However, all projects – no matter how big or small – use the same basic tools and processes.

Whether you’re building the next Instagram or Facebook or coding a quick and easy application to automate part of your workday, being able to plan and executive web development projects is an incredibly valuable ability that anyone can learn.

Use the tips, tactics, and strategies outlined in this guide to make sure your next web development project is a success. From social networks to B2B apps, get started and build the next big web application of the decade.