Before you begin planning Web-based applications, answer the following questions:
1. Who is your audience?
You can make assumptions and demands of employees and distributors, for example, that you could never make with customers.
2. What is your audience’s bandwidth?
Don’t dumb-down applications to accommodate a small percentage of low-bandwidth users. Instead, rely on caching methodologies that will yield a robust application that can be deployed to low-bandwidth clients and accessed directly by higher-bandwidth users.
3. What type of application are you building?
HTML is highly capable of delivering relatively static content with minor user interaction but not so good for sophisticated business applications.
4. Are you replacing an existing system?
Users will expect more and better functionality and performance.
5. How much data is involved?
Using an intelligent client approach enables data to be compressed at the server and decompressed at the client. This can reduce response time by up to 95 percent for large queries.
6. How much interactivity is involved?
For application navigation and simple forms, HTML is a good choice. To enter or analyze data, an intelligent client is required.
7. What are your overall response-time requirements?
Prototype solutions for functions that may exhibit poor response.
8. What are your printing requirements?
For robust printing, employ a printing framework that allows functions to render themselves as printable with minimal coding.
9. Do you control the client?
To accommodate many operating systems, browsers and connection bandwidths, you may have to use an HTML user interface. If you have more control of these elements, you’ll have more choices.
10. Does the processing or data to be used in the application already exist in the enterprise?
People creating Web apps are often outside IT and aren’t aware of existing data and software assets, or view them as inaccessible. Redundant databases are created and duplicate codes are written to support the Web initiative?a maintenance and data integrity nightmare.
SOURCE: Donald Berman, president, CS Strategies