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Choosing a Web Development Framework

August 18th, 2018

I recently had the opportunity to develop a small online booking system. This time round I was determined to make use of some development framework. Not for me the slow slog of writing all my code from scratch – surely we have moved beyond that now in web development?

The big question was – which framework to use? Since the advent of Ruby on Rails, development frameworks have become quite the flavour d’jour and there are now, well, maybe not thousands of them, but quite a few! The last time I heard there are about 80 development frameworks out there. I am not 100% user of this number, it could be a bit higher, it could be a bit more conservative (on the phpwact site you can find about 40 PHP frameworks listed). The point is, the web developer is now really spoilt for choice. Which is a problem in itself, since having too much choice can leave you dithering between different options.

This article is therefore about how I made my choice, which was CakePHP, and which factors I took into consideration.

Obviously, and certainly, I will get bombarded with “Why don’t you try X framework, it is really much simpler to use…” type responses. That is quite OK, to each his own! But this is the choice I made and I am sticking to it. Frankly, the idea of going through another learning curve gives me the heeby-jeeby’s….

I found that the selection criteria were not independent. In other words, once I have ruled out some frameworks due to some specific criteria, other factors came into play. It was therefore more a process of elimination than judging all the frameworks off a predefined set of criteria.

The first major selection point was: Ruby on Rails or not.

Obviously there is the attraction of using a brand new, hip, buzz-word hyped framework. You can’t go wrong with something that is getting so much attention… or can you?

Let’s look at some of the selection criteria that filtered out Ruby on Rails

1. Ease of installation and ability to run on shared hosting The problem is that most of my clients make use of a shared hosting environment. Can Ruby on Rails run on common-or garden variety type shared hosting? The answer was, I soon discovered – no. One needs to either have access your own private servers or run on a shared hosting environment that has Ruby on Rails preinstalled. Admittedly, there are a couple of them now starting up.

2. Minimize the learning curve Even though I knew that any new framework will involve a steep learning curve, I really did not have the guts to go through TWO learning curves – one for the language itself and one for the framework. I might still have been prepared to go through the learning curve though if it wasn’t for the fact that RoR requires special hosting.

So basically the decision was: Not RoR. And based on criterion 2, I decided to stick to a PHP framework, and not go for something else based on Perl or something else since I’ve been developing in PHP for the past two, almost three years. Having said this, it is all very well to say that CakePHP allows you to use your PHP skills – because it is an object oriented framework/MVC based framework it has its own rich language infrastructure. You still need to learn the CakePHP terminology and the learning curve is pretty steep!

3. Ability to run on PHP 4 Although PHP 5 offers more object oriented features, once again, not all shared hosts offer PHP 5 out of the box. I decided that I wanted to stick to a framework that will offer backwards compatibility and enable me to run on most of the servers that I, as well as my clients, host on.

My further criteria came down to:
4. Must have good documentation Under good documentation I count the following:

– User manual

– Examples and code snippets

– Screen casts and videos – although I do not see these as essential

5. Good support by the user community This, in combination with formal documentation is absolutely essential. All of these frameworks are pretty young and the documentation is also constantly evolving. Some documentation might be patchy in details. This is where the user support in terms of the community comes in. How active are the forums? Is there a bug tracker? Any other informal tutorials, write-ups, comments, blogs and other support?

6. Regular upgrades and bug fixes..but not so close to each other that the software becomes unstable and unusable. Backward compatibility is also important.

Version number of the software can be used to indicate maturity.

The following frameworks are quite popular (2007):

  • CakePHP
  • Seagull Framework
  • WACT – since ‘disqualified’ since the latest version now requires PHP 5
  • Zoop
  • CodeIgniter

The next step was a bit less scientific – but still fitted in with point 5 – how well is this Framework regarded? How much support does it generate in the ‘community’.

I scouted through forums and followed links and surfed the net and tried to get a general feel – and overall, CakePHP did seem to come out tops. A similar check that one can do is the following – do a Google search for each of the frameworks and see how many results are returned. This will give you a good idea of the general support, number of tutorials, number of forum posts and general ‘talked about’ factor for the specific framework. The results for this exercise can be seen here: http://www.tm4y.co.za/cakephp/ruby-on-rails-popularity-for-web-development.html

In summary therefore, the support for Ruby on Rails and the amount of information available for it is astounding and you will probably not go wrong if you decide to go this route. But if you want to stick with a PHP framework – CakePHP seems to be the route to go!

Web Developer Start Up Kit

August 17th, 2018

With the rapid advancements in the field of computers and with the boom of the Internet, Web sites are flourishing and so is the business of a Web designer. The demand for a Web designer is increasing day by day. A web designers’ job in today’s times is challenging as well as thrilling. Each company wants its websites and contents to be the best in today’s world when there are so many marketing geniuses promoting their businesses. Thus, a very creative and extremely professional web designer is required. A few start up tips for web designer include:

– First of all, find a university that offers courses online for web development or any website that provides tutorials for learning the course step by step along with some exercises.

– Secondly, you must also keep in mind your budget as well as your learning capacity. Always go for courses that offer you course within your monetary limit, and then the course content should be appropriate and suitable for you.

– Try to read more and more on your topic of interest. There are many magazines available out there in the markets which help you to build a good base concerning web development and it will help you to enhance your creativity. If possible, become a subscriber of the magazine so that you don’t have to run to the market every week to purchase one. Further, take part in the contests organized by those magazines itself, so that you get to know your skill at the national and international level.

– As you do more and more work and practice, you will come to know about the various techniques and the situations in which they can be implemented. Always keep trying your hand at something new. If possible, complete your chapter a day before the teacher teaches you in the university, so that you can clear your doubts if you have any. Then try your hand at developing some web content for some starter company. Find out a company which is just forming, so that you can get a job there as an intern. A combination of a new web developer as well as new company usually works out great, since there is no clash of egos as both are starters.

Thus, summing it all up, a job of a start up web designer is not a tough one. It’s just that it requires a good research in the beginning for choosing the right college, and constant practice.

Web Development Company – How Can It Help Online Business to Flourish

August 16th, 2018

In this day and age, the Internet proffers a marvelous benefit to the online business owners. The colossal reach on the global scale has enabled the Internet to be ascertained as a renowned marketing media. It proffers an inexpensive and trustworthy platform for the purpose of launching an online endeavor. It is irrelevant as to whether it is within the confines of their office or their home, as people can now effortlessly manage their online business, and this is independent of the site or the time zones.

Websites function in the capacity of the online marketing executives of the company. Thus, it is imperative to design websites which are customer-friendly so that it is capable of attracting the greatest number of visitors. Consequently, it is integral to avail the services of an adept web development company for the purpose of constructing an e-commerce website so as to capitalize on your possibility of online sales.

The web development firm remembers the business needs of the organization and in view of that customizes the website design. If the website deals primarily with online selling, it should necessarily sustain e-commerce. It should essentially possess an online shopping cart with additional eye-catching and user friendly features. A well incorporated shopping cart, safe payment gateway, single page checkout and capability to process multiple payments in multiple currencies are certain integral necessities of any e-commerce website.

The web development firm must necessarily take into deliberation the technical parameters such as scalability, reliability, load and stress bearing capacity prior to designing a website. This aids the website in handling efficiently colossal online traffic, which could occur during peak hours, and this is ensured minus the possibility of crashing.

Online shopping is now taking the place of the conventional cash-and-carry notion. The web development company is in a better position to ensure enhanced site architecture, navigation features and customized shopping cart so that the site visitors have a marvelous shopping experience. If you have an effortlessly reachable website along with a host of additional user friendly features, this makes it simpler for the shoppers to find and ultimately shop for their desired products or services within the shortest possible time span. A specialized web development company is aware of the ins and outs of the e-commerce website as well as the distinct requirements of the online shoppers.

If you have a well designed website, it would be infinitely more capable of attracting visitors and is also able to assist in the process of converting the maximum of hits into worthwhile online purchases. As soon as the positive word-of-mouth spreads, it leads to a viral effect and is thus more capable of attracting a greater number of visitors. With the passage of time, the website owners would be able to perceive on their own, a steady increase in traffic to their website and an equivalent amplification in the online purchases as well, and this would aid the online business in prospering.