Unit 35 Web Applications Development

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Introduction


Aim

 To enable learners to understand the concepts of web applications and apply the skills to develop and test web applications using server-side technologies.

Unit abstract

The internet has emerged as a dominating area of IT development. The ever-expanding applications within the global community that communicates, trades and exchanges information (seamlessly) has meant that the Internet and its associated technologies is a rapidly growing and changing area that requires in-depth knowledge as well as a wide range of skills. These web technologies have also been used to develop e-Commerce, intranet, extranet and social networking systems to meet the needs of modern businesses and associations. Learners should already be familiar with website design and management, and will be able to apply their own web development skills to this unit. Learners will enjoy extending their web development skills by understanding the concepts of web-based applications using server-side technologies. This unit takes client-side web-development one step further by introducing server side application development. This unit focuses on server-side technologies and how server-side scripting can be used to create sophisticated web-based applications.Learners will understand the concepts of web-based applications using one or more different server-side scripting languages, such as ASP, JSP and PHP. Many web-based systems also include database systems, which enables data to be processed dynamically. Learners will gain experience of developing web-enabled database systems, using SQL statements combined with server-side scripts to manage the process of information.Learners will develop skills in specific techniques and also able to select when and where they are most appropriate, basing this decision on client and user needs. They will also ensure that their applications comply with the relevant legislation and guidelines.

Learning outcomes


1 Understand the concepts of web application development

  • Users: types eg expert, regular, occasional, novice, special needs; requirements, eg psychological, cultural, social and environmental, health and safety, education and work
  • Site analysis: purpose eg communication, real-time information, commercial, government,education, business, entertainment, downloading/uploading, web storage; fit for purpose, eg meets organisational and site objectives; planning, eg storyboarding, structure, hypermedia linkage, search engine key words, graphical design, user interface, audio/video sources, animation, text design; maintenance, eg plans, logs, disaster recovery, testing.
  • Accessibility: features eg alternative text, resizable fonts, support for screen readers,adjustable fonts
  • Legislation: laws, guidelines and standards, eg Disability Discrimination Act, Data Protection.Act, E-Commerce Regulations Act, W3C validation, copyright and intellectual property rights
  • Functionality: functions, eg shopping cart, reserve order, manage user profile, web content management, upload files
  • Scripting languages: server-side eg ASP (Active Server Pages), ASP.NET, PHP (Hypertext Preprocessor), JSP (Java Server Pages), Cold Fusion, Perl, Java Applet, Flash; advantages eg faster processing time, data processing, data storage; client-side eg JavaScript, VBScript
  • Security: security requirements, eg user accounts, account restrictions, procedures for granting and revoking access, terms of use, system monitoring

2 Be able to design web applications

  • Identification of need: nature of interactivity eg online transactions, static versus dynamic;client needs and user needs, eg image; level of security, eg user/administrator access;development timescales, support and maintenance contracts, costs, visibility on search engines; end user need eg appropriateness of graphics, complexity of site, delivery of content.
  • Design tools: concept designing, eg mood boards, storyboarding; layout techniques eg frames, tables, block level containers (DIV), inline containers (SPAN); templates; colour schemes; screen designs, use case diagrams, pseudo code; other eg outline of content; database design, eg data flow diagrams, entity relationship diagrams.
  • Database design: documenting the design; back end design, eg defining relationships, normalisation, naming conventions; front end design, eg user interface, security measures.

3 Be able to implement web applications

  • Structure: layout of pages; navigation; format of content and cascading style sheets (CSS); page elements, eg headings, rules, frames, buttons, text and list boxes, hyperlinks/anchors, graphical images, clickable images/maps; interactive features, eg catalogue of products, shopping cart; images and animation
  • Content: proofed, correct and appropriate; reliability of information source; structured for purpose, eg prose, bullets, tables
  • Development: mark-up languages eg HTML (Hypertext Mark-up Language), DHTML (Dynamic Hypertext Mark-up Language); client-side scripting languages eg JavaScript, VBScript; features and advantages of software languages; web authoring software tools
  • Tools and techniques: navigation diagram eg linear, hierarchy or matrix; building interactivity tools, eg pseudo-code for client-server scripting; adding animation and audio/visual elements; ensuring compliance with W3C; meta-tagging; cascading style sheets
  • Server-side interaction: manage and process data, eg client, server; action events, action responses, login/logout
  • Server-side scripting languages: ASP, JSP, PHP, Cold Fusion, Perl
  • Database connectivity: common methods of using/accessing databases on a web server eg SQL (Structured Query Language), MySQL, ODBC (Open Database Connectivity), JDBC (Java Database Connectivity), ADODB (ActiveX Data Objects).
  • Web-programming concepts: objects, eg response, request, application, session, server, error, file system, text stream, drive, file, folder, dictionary, ADO; components, eg email, file,file uploads, date/time; syntax, variables, procedures, forms, cookies, sessions, applications.

4 Be able to test web applications

  • Review: functionality testing (user environments, links and navigation); content; check against user requirements; user acceptance; audit trail of changes.
  • Mechanisms: browser compatibility testing, platform testing, script-language testing; valid HTML, server-script and database-script code; checking functionality against requirements, check internal and external hyperlinks to other web pages and media content (web files, web documents, images), error detection, error messages, dry running.
  • Feedback: record feedback, eg surveys, questionnaire, interviews; analyze feedback; present results
  • Supportive documentation: test plan (test data, expected results, actual results); test results; programmer guidance; user guidance (instructions)
  • Testing by: types eg administrator, user, automated scriptsa

Resources


  • Hurwitz D, MacDonald B – Learning ASP.NET 3.5 (O'Reilly Media, 2008) 978-0596518455
  • Nixon R – Learning PHP, MySQL, and JavaScript (O'Reilly Media, 2009) 978-0-596-15713-5
  • Parsons D – Dynamic Web Application Development Using XML and Java (Thompson Learning,
  • 2008) ISBN-10: 1844805417
  • Schwartz R et al – Learning Perl (O’Reilly Media, 2008) ISBN-10: 0596520107
  • Stobart R – Dynamic Web Application Development Using PHP and MySQL (Thompson Learning,
  • 2008) ISBN-10: 1844807533

Websites

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