Using the Right Web Application Development Software

There is an old adage – use the right tool for the right job – and nowhere is that adage more true than with application development software. For many that is easier said than done – finding that right tool usually involves suffering through a string of failed projects – projects where someone tried to force the wrong tool to do things the right way.

Making things worse is that many vendors claim their products are all you need to develop web applications. However, as many have discovered, claims and reality are two very different things when it comes to development tools. So the big question becomes “How does one avoid having their web-apps fall into development hell?” The simple answer can be found in the first line of this post – “use the right tool for the right job.”

However, finding the right tool can be a challenge, one that most app developers don’t have the time or resources to pursue and that creates an even bigger problem. A problem that leads to inaction and ultimately derails any hope of creating what may be the most important application for your business.

Luckily, the world of web application development software is a large one and hundreds, if not thousands, have already done a lot of the leg work vetting the tools that actually create worthwhile applications. Leveraging the leg work of others is the key to expediting web-app development and finding the tool that does what is needed.

Some of the key elements to look for in a Web-App development tool include:

  • Visual Integrated Development Environment (IDE)
  • Rapid Application Development (RAD) environment
  • The ability to insert / add custom code
  • Ability to create / run applications across multiple platforms
  • Multiplatform application server
  • Integrated Debugging Tools
It is those elements that help to define what makes up a good tool and helps to thin the heard when finding that tool. Yet, there is an even better way to identify what tools to use and that comes from looking at case studies – real world examples, where others have suffered through the development process to create a viable web-app. Simply put, we can learn from the hard work of others and that brings us to the real reason for this blog post – a case study where an organization was able to conquer their web-app woes using Alpha Five.

How Defiant PC ended up choosing their web application development software

Defiant PC was faced with a sticky situation, one where their customer self-service applications were creating more confusion than solutions. Defiant was responsible for creating custom websites that powered customer ecommerce solutions – while the solutions worked, they were growing in complexity and were burdensome to scale. What’s more, the apps associated with those websites were difficult to modify, learn and manage, which in turn created a support nightmare for Defiant.

Simply put, Defiant was faced with a situation that many companies transitioning to the cloud (or web based services) run into – a problem created by using tools not originally designed to deliver web-applications. As Defiant added more tools to the mix to meet new requirements it became evident that there had to be a better way – a development methodology that offered an integrated approach, rather than piecing together multiple tools from multiple vendors, which ultimately harmed productivity and quality.

After sampling many products and experimenting with many programming languages, the company found that most available solutions were either too basic or too advanced to meet their requirements. Eventually the company found Alpha Five, which was able to do what was needed – in fact, the company rapidly created an integrated solution, complete with Web pages, back-end MySQL database integration, and reporting functions. The prototype site had all the desirable features that the previous script-based incarnation supported, plus added features that Alpha Five’s fully integrated approach made possible. For Defiant there choice of web application development software was the correct one.

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About Author

Dave McCormick
Dave McCormick

Dave has a long history with Alpha and has a deep understanding of developers and the information they need to make informed decisions. He has developed numerous videos, print tutorials and other materials that make the developer's job easier. Dave joined the company in 1992, and served as support engineer, technical writer, and documentation department manager. Between 1998 and 2005, Dave was at Stumpworld Systems and was product manager for Online Merchant/Online Merchant Gold, which became the best-selling e-commerce application in the U.S. retail market. Prior to rejoining Alpha in In 2006, Dave started A5-Online, a hosting provider for Alpha Five Web applications. Dave received an Award of Achievement from the Society for Technical Communication for the Alpha Five User's Guide in 1995. He holds a bachelor's degree in management information systems from the University of Arizona.

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