To have a top-notch web application you don’t need to be an expert in web app development. You have Syndicode team that is proficient in creating web apps since 2014. And today we’re going to show you the whole web app development process step-by-step. We spent many hours improving our skills and knowledge and created many outstanding web apps to share our experience with you.
Basically, web application or web app is a client-server software application in which the client (or user interface) runs in a web browser.
1. Custom web application development
Сustom software development is the process of creating a software that is specifically tailored for the specific group of users or an organization. Custom software (‘bespoke software’ or ‘tailor-made software’) is made to ensure that all your particular requirements are met.
Why do we talk about custom software development? Custom software is aimed to produce the most efficient system as it can provide support for the specific needs of the business. Along with better efficiency and customer service. That is not available in most off-the-shelf solutions. Web apps are no exception.
Custom software development for startups or enterprises, as it is provided by skilled developers of Syndicode, helps you fulfill your business requirements with the ever-changing trends and evolving technology. Because professionals know what tech stack is the most efficient nowadays. But you are not attached to a certain technology. Functions on the first place.
Also, if you need to improve something, custom software development approach is here to give you the best or most well-targeted service improvement. But let’s narrow down all the pros to the bullet-pointed list.
Сustom web app development pros:
- You get what you need.
- Custom web application can be very flexible.
- The best features within budget.
- Custom tech stack.
- Minimized information security risks.
- On-demand updates and fixes.
- Customized reports of specific events.
What web apps bring to your business?
Apart from the entertainment, we used to associate applications with, they are utmost important for a business segment. The web lets millions of businesses use it as a cost-effective communications channel. However, effective engagement is only possible with the ability to capture and store all the necessary data. Data should be processed and presented to the user.
To handle the storage and retrieval the information web applications use a combination of server-side scripts, and client-side scripts to present information to users. This way users can interact with the company via online forms, content management systems, shopping carts and more. Applications allow to proceed effective work: employees can create documents, share information, collaborate on projects, and work on common documents regardless of location or device.
How web applications are different from websites?
Sometimes people can’t take these two notions apart. So let’s define what is a web site and what is a web application.
Basically, a website can be static or dynamic (based on some database of content). And web application is interactive, with some kind of built-in functionality.
Here are the main differences:
- The website is a complete product which can be seen on your browser. The web application can be a part of a website
- Functions of a web application are much complex than functions of a website. A website just shows collected data and information while web application maintains the whole website
- A website is a source of information while web application works interactively
- A website works on a web browser and a web app runs and used on a computer
- The website is easily ascertainable through any operating system and device, only by using URL. But the web app should be downloaded and installed first for proper work
If this part is clear, let’s move on.
2. Web application development tech stack
No doubt, that choosing a tech stack that your app will be based upon, is one of the most important things to consider. The choice depends on some factors and we are going to scrutinize them.
2.1. Main technologies in web app development
As we look at the process form the perspective of a developer, we will reveal the backend first and look closer to the variety of applications and programming languages developers usually use more often.
Some of the most popular programming languages used in web app development and their major frameworks are:
- Ruby (Ruby on Rails)
- Python (Django, Flask, Pylons)
- PHP (Laravel)
- Java (Spring)
- Scala (Play)
Node.js and Asp.net are also commonly used for backend programming nowadays.
The frontend in web application development is everything users see on their screens and these are the main frontend tech stack components that we use:
- Hypertext Markup Language (HTML)
- Cascading Style Sheets (CSS)
Also, Bootstrap is a useful framework for managing HTML and CSS while JS has many libraries to make web pages more interactive.
2.2. Ruby on Rails web app development
Why Ruby on Rails is perfect for web app development? Ruby on Rails is an open-source framework that can be used for web app development of any complexity. It is a dependable routing system that follows software rules and patterns. We utilize this technology during the web app development process.
Here in Syndicode, we use Ruby on Rails as our framework of choice. And we can explain why.
With the use of Ruby on Rails, the resulting web app has lower risks of:
- data theft
Some of the coding principles involved in the Ruby on Rails web app development process include DRY pattern, convention over configuration, active record pattern, and model view controller. Convention over configuration, for instance, will make the programmer no need to spend a lot of time configuring files to start the process. Ruby on Rails already comes with a set of conventions that make the process faster.
Everybody knows why Rails is good for fast prototyping and loved by programmers. But let us remind you of some of its benefits which make them great for web app development.
- With Rails, developers can automate many tasks. Rails set up routes for you.
- Writing from scratch with Ruby on Rails can give you a set of conventions that would encourage better architecture
- Due to a leaner code-base, modular design and using existing plugins, Ruby on Rails web application can be launched two times faster.
- Rails users have no need to know regular expressions to define routes as they do in Django, for instance.
- Plenty of supporting Rails libraries will help you with any web application you create
- Rails encourage good coding practices with test suites, tools to analyze your code.
- Moreover, for medium size database sites, RoR is exceptionally easy to deploy and manage remotely.
These are the main benefits of web app development with Ruby on Rails. We bet that you know examples of famous web applications that chose Ruby on Rails as their frameworks. GitHub, Basecamp, Airbnb, ASKfm, Goodreads, Kickstarter and more… Read about them in our article: 10 famous RoR web applications.
3. Web app development process
Eventually, we came to the web app development process section! Let’s go step-by-step.
3.1. Requirements gathering and discovery session
The first and one of the most crucial stages of the web app development process is the discovery session. This is the act of gathering key project information so you can gain a high-level understanding of the project. In most cases, this is done by getting the answers to specific questions.
During the Discovery Session project team representatives and the client should:
- explore the subject area;
- examine the client’s business processes;
- learn the client’s expectations from the new product;
- identify bottlenecks;
- describe high-level solutions to the expected or existed problems;
- identify priorities and form a backlog;
- create the roadmap of the project.
Here you can download the Discovery Session Cheat Sheet for Web and Mobile development by Syndicode with the list of possible features that should be implemented in the product.
Created on the base of the Discovery Session data, there should be information about technical design that includes:
- Project outcome features
- Customer journey
- Customer statuses
- Transaction statuses
- Integrations with external services
- Infrastructure with production, storage, staging, caching and monitoring details
- Technologies and components with the information on the source code repository, production, staging and development environments, CI and CD processes described
- Development process steps
- Security and privacy information including physical and data security
- Database schema design
3.2. Business analysis and development planning
p.s. Don’t forget to validate your business idea before the initial start! It is the process of gathering evidence around different ideas through experiments and practice to make fast and clear decisions. The purpose of this process is to try the idea in the real world before building the final product and launching the online marketplace or a website. Here are the 6 points why you should validate your business idea.
Next step is software development research and writing mindmaps that are aimed to understand the current tech trends and main characteristics of the technologies meant to be used in this particular project. All the difficulties and best practices count. Apart from the tech side, project manager and business analyst do research about implementation and maintenance prospects. SWOT for current competitors should be prepared as well. After this research, we usually create a plan for the software development process and wait for the client’s approval. A mind map is a diagram used to visually organize the needed information. The main ideas are connected here directly to the central concept, and it has branches coming out from those major ideas.
3.3. Software and infrastructure architecture
IT infrastructure architecture is one of the stages and activities we need to apply for successful application deployments. IT infrastructure heavily affects the performance, availability, and security of software applications. It helps to reduce the development cost and properly manage your web apps.
In IT, this obviously works to meet information technology business requirements, which considered to be very complicated. IT infrastructure refers to the:
- hardware (servers, computers, data centers, switches, hubs and routers, and other equipment),
- software (ERP, CRM, productivity applications),
- network resources (network enablement, internet connectivity, firewall, and security) and
- services required for the existence, operation, and management of the IT environment. This part includes human users as well:
- end-users with access to any IT appliance or service.
IT infrastructure allows an organization to deliver IT solutions and services to its employees, partners and/or customers. It is usually internal to an organization and deployed within owned facilities.
IT infrastructure covers the client and server nodes of the hardware configuration, the infrastructure applications running on them, the services they offer to applications, as well as the protocols and networks that connect applications and nodes.
Talking about software architecture, we keep in mind software quality attributes and their impact on your business. All the requirements and future needs should be decided before the initial development and considered by the software architect or lead developer. Technologies for web app development are also defined at this stage.
Backend development handles the functionality of web applications. Every interaction in the human-computer system is possible thanks to backend development. Backend development refers to the server-side of development where you are primarily focused on how the site works. It is code that manages user connections, connects the web to a database, and powers the web application itself.
As we mentioned before, here in Syndicode, Ruby is our language of choice. Ruby on Rails (Ruby’s main framework) backend development helps the workload become easier for the architects and developers through the collection of pre-packaged codes that make the development of the backend seamless and fast. It makes the entire programming a lot speedier and more profitable.
Talking about frontend development we mean everything you can see on the screen. Look, feel and design – that are the 3 main parts generated by code for your digital product in frontend development. Frontend development is focused on the client side of development and responsible for seamless user experience.
Considering the project’s purpose, our web app development tech stack includes a variety of languages and technologies.
- We use Ruby on Rails backend development for most web apps.
- We use Node.js for backend development of real-time web applications, chat apps, workforce, and facility management apps, web portals and field service apps.
- For general web app development, we use PHP. One of the strongest and most significant features in PHP is its support for a wide range of databases.
- React.js is one of our favorite technologies to develop fast, scalable and simple user interfaces. We use it for stock trading and e-commerce solutions, web-based video conference apps, and other frontend services. React allows developers to create large web apps that can change data, without reloading the page.
Software testing is the process of checking developed software for any mistakes or bugs. This helps to validate and eventually verify the product as to whether it is ready for the market.
(QA) Quality Assurance is a set of activities for ensuring quality in software engineering processes. This stage ensures that software meets and complies with the defined or standardized quality specifications. QA is a process that checks the developed software to ensure it meets the desired quality measures.
Why QA and testing are so important in web app development? Because there are several software quality attributes that heavily affect the product itself and the business behind, and testing helps to ensure these attributes performed well.
The QA process is structured as follows: at the stage of planning (workshop) the company finds out the nuances and makes adjustments to the client’s “wishes” taking into account the specifics of the technical implementation, collects additional information, clarifies the requirements for the product. After the designers are ready with the design, the developers conduct a test of UI and UX and inform the client how to fix it and then give it back for revision. At the development stage, the developers start testing the product itself including the creation of test documentation (test cases, check sheets, test plan, acceptance tests).
All the stages are followed by project/product management that greatly affects future client-developer communication and the final result. Product managers always face complex situations such as having to understand the environment in which the product resides, or resolving a request for a feature in an already existing environment. In any case, it’s better to have a clear understanding of the main approaches and principles you can apply to reconstruct and resolve these complex situations.
That was a brief look into web app development process, but to find more details we recommend you check our material about stages of custom software development process.
3.6. Ruby on Rails web app development process
Here in Syndicode, we define every milestone for web app development. But in 99% of cases we specify our web app development process for Ruby. Because this framework is a popular choice for many web apps nowadays. The tasks for developers are simplified with Ruby, so here we have only 8 steps of Ruby on Rails web app development process.
This guide on web app development process is very basic. Certain other activities such as migration, integration, maintenance, and updating additionally must be followed with due diligence, depending on the business requirement and objective of the software. And Syndicode does these all as well!
4. Hiring web app development team benefits
The team of dedicated developers, of course, will be faster and proficient when it comes to comparing your own possibilities with those who work in software development for a long time. Moreover, by outsourcing web app development you can concentrate on the initial business process and deliver the technical part to professionals. Outsourcing web app development brings you a lot of benefits:
- Increase in business profitability.
- All efforts on the main business.
- Engaging other best practices.
- Reliability and stability.
- Scale business flexibility.
And here are the main criteria for choosing a reliable web app development team/company:
- Experience. They need to have at least several years of successful work to gain enough proficiency
- Portfolio. Better for them to have at least several neat projects in the portfolio to show what they can do. Testimonials from previous clients are welcome
- The number of developers. There is no need in hundreds of programmers. But the complete team should provide all your needs. And depending on project size (if we talk about web app development) you should have at least 5 programmers working on it
- Technology and innovation in the core. Make sure they are working with up-to-date cutting-edge technologies
- Experience of distributed teams. That matters a lot if your team works remote or you travel while the project in development.
All these qualities can be found in Syndicode. If you have any questions about web application development, don’t hesitate to ask us. We’ll be glad to help you.
While web app development is a complicated process, you shouldn’t be afraid of new options and technologies to make your business more efficient. Consider hiring dedicated engineers from Ukraine and choose Syndicode!