A lot of our customers wondering how we are doing our things and how we succeed. Development process seems to be totally mystic and unperdictable for them. But the answer is pretty simple - planning and responsibility. Every application development order can be splitted into following phases:
- Roadmap planning
- Business requirements research
- Creating functional specification
- Third party vendors identification, analysis and selection
- Technology Selection, Technical Specifications, Web Application Structure and Timelines
- Application Visual Guide, Design Layout, Interface Design, Wire framing
- Web Application Development
- Beta Testing and Bug Fixing
Let's take a look at each phase in detail.
1. Roadmap Document: Defining Web Application, Purpose, Goals and Direction
This initial task is an important part of the process. It requires putting together the Web Application project goals and purpose. This step establishes your project's clear direction and helps you focus on setting and achieving your goal. The Roadmap Document will specify the Web Application's future plan and objectives with approximate timelines.
2. Researching and Defining Audience Scope and Security Documents
This task requires researching the audience/users, and prospective clients (if any), and creating an Analytic Report which includes the following approximate assessments:
- Type of audience for usability purposes:
Creating Statistic Reports on the percentage of users: elementary, average, advanced, the audience ages, and gender
- Type and level of access:
Creating an Access Report, specifying users' access of Intranet, Internet, Extranet - single-level, multi-level
- Type of audience for planning the security level:
Creating a Risk Statistical Document based on users' characteristics, zone's fraud level, application's industry security breaches, and history of the audience's security breaches
- Quantitative statistics on audience:
Creating a Potential Visitors Report, broken down by reasonable periodic time frames
3. Creating Functional Specifications or Feature Summary Document
A Web Application Functionality Specifications Document is the key document in any Web Application project. This document will list all of the functionalities and technical specifications that a web application will require to accomplish. Technically, this document can become overwhelming if one has to follow the Functional Specifications rule and detail out each type of user's behavior on a very large project. However, it is worth putting forth the effort to create this document which will help prevent any future confusion or misunderstanding of the project features and functionalities, by both the project owner and developer.
A typical functional specification will list every user's behavior, for example:
When a visitor clicks on the "Add to Cart" button from the Product Showcase page, the item is added to the visitor's shopping cart, the Product Showcase page closes and the user is taken to the Shopping Cart page which shows the new item in the cart. If creating a functional specification document is overwhelming to you, I recommend starting out by creating a Specification Document or Feature Summary Document by either creating the sample screen shots of the web application screens or creating a document that includes a summary list of the application's features, for example:
- Product / Inventory Summary Showcase: displays a summary of items for sale, stock number, item name, short description, one photo, price, and Add to Cart button.
- Product / Inventory One Item Showcase: displays the detail of one inventory item: stock number, item name, long description, multiple photos (up to 10 photos), price, and Add to Cart button.
4. Third Party Vendors Identification, Analysis and Selection
This task requires researching, identifying and selection of third party vendors, products and services such as:
- Merchant Account and Payment Gateway
- SSL Certificate (example providers: Verisign, GeoTrust)
- Managed Server / Colocation Server Provider
- Server, Network, Firewall, Load Balancer Equipment (may not needed if using a managed server - example: DELL, Cisco 5520 Load Balancer)
- Fulfillment Centers (example: Shipwire)
5. Technology Selection, Technical Specifications, Web Application Structure and Timelines
This document is the blueprint of the technology and platform selection, development environment, web application development structure and framework. The Technical Specifications Document will detail out the technology used, licenses, versions and forecasts. The Timeline Document will identify the completion dates for the Web Application's features or modules.
6. Application Visual Guide, Design Layout, Interface Design, Wire framing
One of the main ingredients to a successful project is to put together a web application that utilizes a user's interactions, interface and elements that have a proven record for ease of use, and provide the best user experience. This process starts out by creating the visual guide, wire framing or simply sketching out the user interface and interactions of the web applications by Comentum's Creative and Usability teams of experts.Once the Application Interface and Interaction Models are approved, Comentum's creative team design the interface for the web application.
7. Web Application Development
The application's Design Interface is turned over to Compactory Development Team who take the following steps to develop the project:
- Create the Web Application Architecture and Framework
- Design the Database Structure
- Develop / Customize the Web Application Module, Libraries and Classes
- Complete the Development and Implement all Functionalities - Version 1.0
8. Beta Testing and Bug Fixing
Compactory's vigorous quality assurance testing help produce the most secure and reliable web applications. Version 1.0 of the Web Application is thoroughly tested and any program bugs are addressed and fixed.