Building a Web Application: Intro
So you want to build a web application? Well, so do I. I've built them before and I'll build them again but I have a specific project in mind this time and I thought I'd share my experiences with you.
First, a little background...
I started learning the process of web application development when I got my first job at a web design agency. Mostly custom developed for whatever the client needed specifically. Updated news for the home page or maybe a newsletter section. Whatever it was, it worked well for that particular client as long as they never changed their format.
As you can probably already see, the leap from this to building a content management system (aka CMS) was a small one. The CEO and myself worked to map out a system with the functionality that we'd like to see in it then it went off to the developer who put it together. A decent application that we sold to a few of our clients.
It followed a familiar section/page concept. Which was great if you just needed a regular page. But as often happened, the client needed something more specific for a particular section and we found ourselves building a custom tool that the client could use from within the CMS.
When I left that company and started at H3Creative, a web and print agency, the idea again was to build a CMS. I used my experience to develop something that offered more scalability and flexibility. A more modular design that allowed a user to place a custom module anywhere in the site. Want a site map? Put it wherever you want. A photo gallery? Sure, drop it in! In the end, I created about 10 different modules. To say the least, I am quite proud of how it turned out.
Anyways, as fate would have it, I'm no longer there but I still believe in the concept! And after seeing elegant application such as Basecamp and Nathan's early beta of Jupiter, I've been inspired to move forward on my own project.
Start from the beginning
Throughout this project I'll try and explain some of the methodology and the reasoning for the decisions I make along the way.
In hopes of piqueing your interest, I shall leave you with this:
Read the next installment, The Idea.