April 17, 2018

Mapping a right web application development process flow is a key to success for a project of any size. Despite the fact that the development of the web-based app is pretty similar to the regular desktop application development it has some differences that may impact the overall process and make it more complex in some aspects. In this article, we are going to explain each stage of the web application development process, name key specialists who can take part in the project and map their area of responsibilities.

List of the Contents

 

We already have touched this subject in one of our latest articles about the average cost of the web app development. One of the key takeaways from that research is that we have to determine the web application development flow first in order to understand the cost. The development of a web application requires a process, creating a great web app requires a strong one. There are some fundamentals when it comes to the web application development process.

web application development process shceme illustration

FIRST DISCUSSION

The first step aims to give an overview of the problem we want to be solved and/or our needs. If the needs aren’t well understood it will lead to a failure in building a web application that aims to serve the purposes. The following questions have to be answered once this first step is done:

  • What are the underlying needs behind the application to be built?
  • What problems should the application solve?
  • What needs do the application fill? What will be the impact on our business?
  • How will the application be used?
  • What could be the consequences of the delay in building the application for our business?

REQUIREMENTS ANALYSIS

In the previous step, the goal was to identify the objectives of web application implementation. The objectives can be complex, the business logic being often quite complex in general. It is then important at this stage that these complex objectives can be broken down into more manageable tasks and therefore easier to implement, validate, and test.

At the end of this step, the following tasks should have been completed:

  • Reformulate the underlying needs and goals
  • Think in terms of steps needed to complete the project
  • Identify each different feature and module
  • Break down every goal into simple tasks
  • Consolidate the different analysis and approaches in a document so that a validation can be carried out.

TIMELINE AND COST ESTIMATION

Experience is a good ally when it comes to making a good estimation. If a similar task has been done before, it becomes easier to give an accurate estimation and time tracking becomes our reference. From the previous step, we are able to have all the pieces we are going to put together from end to end. For each task, we analyze its complexity and do a classification.

  • Perform a complexity analysis on each task
  • Classify each task
  • List all required development for each task: UI, logic, test.

THE DESIGN, CONCEPTION, AND PLANNING

The estimation gives us an idea of the time needed to complete the whole project. During this step, our goal is to answer the following questions: who is doing what and when? What is the best technical approach?

  • Order each task in order to know which one should/must go before another
  • Analyze dependency between all the tasks
  • Identify every task that can be done in parallel
  • Elaborate a timeline according to available resources or in case it is possible to have all the resources we need, identify the number of resources needed and then plan the project.
  • Make an architectural choice.

 

Generally, at this stage, a financial and technical side of the web application development is settled down and we have an idea of the budget.

THE DEVELOPMENT

This is the most well-known step. Once the product requirements document is established, the development phase can start. The goal of the development phase is to create an application that meets the needs identified in the previous steps, and as the needs generally evolve and new ideas of implementation may arise during the implementation phase, it is generally advised to use a methodology that allows flexibility and proactivity.

With each iteration in Agile methodology, we make sure that development is achieved towards the goals defined in the product requirements document.

The product requirements documentation should be used to implement all features, an efficient development approach should be chosen in order to make sure the codes are behaving as expected by the specification document. TDD is one approach that aims to make sure that tests are dressed to test and simulate real behavior. Testing helps actors involved in the development process understand the code purposes and makes the hand out process easier. A good code coverage has proven to minimize bugs and is a proof of a good design for an easy post-production support and maintenance, easy system evolution.

THE TESTING PHASE

This phase is also called the User Acceptance Test. During that phase, test group of users validates the set of feature and report bugs if any, if there are changes to be made, they can be discussed with the project manager who will advise about the best way to take inputs and feedbacks into consideration.

THE DEPLOYMENT AND POST-PRODUCTION PHASE

Once every feature in a given release was validated and all the bugs reported fixed, the deployment phase can start, it may be a first launch or deployment of a new release, this is the moment when the web application will run in its real environment.

Some behaviors only appear in a production environment such as load balancer performance, it is important to allow times for support and maintenance in order to fix any bugs or performance issue that are discovered after the application went live.

New ideas for extension may appear once the application is up and running, post-production phase is the best moment to talk about other needs.

The table below summarizes the lifecycle and expected output/delivery from each step.

Conception and designFunctional and Technical Specifications + Proposals
DevelopmentDocumented source code on a repository
StagingDocumentation
ProductionDeployment guide

WHO IS INVOLVED IN THE WEB APPLICATION DEVELOPMENT PROCESS FLOW?

From the web application development lifecycle we can identify the required participants in order to run this project smoothly. They are:

  • The project manager: manage the project through its completion, mend the gap between the non-technical and the technical teams
  • The product owner: the person who will be responsible to validate that the deliverables meet organization’s expectations and needs
  • Back-end developer
  • Front-end developer (UI/UX)
  • Quality Assurance Tester
  • System Administrator

Project phase/
Participants
Project ManagerUX/UI Developer (front-end)Back-end DeveloperQA TesterSystem Admin
Technical and functional conceptionxxxx
Developmentxxxx

Deployment in the testing environment/UAT
xxxxx

Deployment in the production environment/ Support
xxxxx

IN CONCLUSION

Having a web version of your software product or enterprise system is a must in 2018. It is no longer question whether your software has to have its analogs with the same functionality running in the cloud and available for users across all the web browsers and mobile devices. Many software products those days are created only for the browsers. Software development teams, even those who are experienced in desktop applications development, can meet unexpected challenges when it comes to the web-based applications development. In the modern environment, it is important to understand the differences that come with the web application development process flow.

We hope this short article has shed some light for you on that process. You can contact us directly via the form if you have any challenges with your web app development, need a quick estimate of development costs or you are looking for the experienced offshore software development company to work on your project.

What is your winning approach to the web-based app’s development? If you’ve enjoyed this article and you’ve found it helpful – click “Share” buttons below and join the discussion in the comment section.