Small Business Web Development Software

There are numerous options you can choose when looking into finding small business website development software. The final choice is influenced by your specific needs. As small as your business can be, there are some features you simply can’t do without.

Web Database Development

This is an example of a feature that you should include from the start. Before you pick software, you need to evaluate your needs for a custom database. This will help you develop a website that is data base driven and tailored to the exact needs of your business.

One thing to keep in mind is that web database development can be quite trick and so you need to make sure that the software you choose is user friendly and “smart” enough to deal with all the issues. This includes browser compatibility, client/server interaction and the database performance issues.

Website Development Software

I know that you are probably looking for software that does not only focus on the database. You can find small business web development software that you can use to easily create web pages, add buttons, force users to complete capcha fields and even allow data entry forms and save all to a database.

A good example is Adobe Dreamweaver. It is good small business website development software for any one with little or no much knowledge on web design and coding. By this I do not mean that you do not need to take a few days trying to get around it. In fact I personally bought a Dreamweaver book and took 30 days reading and practicing. You can also try our Frontpage but it is too basic for my liking.

Web Developer Start Up Kit

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.

Choosing a Web Development Framework

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!