The Basics Of Web Development

For the business owners and marketing heads finding an experienced web developer, one that can bring your vision to life, can be an extremely difficult task; particularly if you have no knowledge of what web development is and what it involves.

Understanding web development is no easy task but often, it is OK to skip the details and instead come to grips with just the basics. Web developers take years to develop their talent (no pun intended) and you, yourself may never quite get there so instead don’t set the bar too high; just focus on the basics because a little can go a long way.

To put it simply, web development has one main focus; to make a website do the stuff that it is supposed to do. Whether it is for the internet or a private intranet network; for a one page website or a large site offering a multitude of applications and services it is your chosen web developer who will be in charge of the construction of your website. Often working with a team of in-house designers, a developer will provide the functions and features that are expected; rather like an architect bringing a scale model to life, with an in-depth knowledge and understanding of coding.

Coding is a complex subject that even I will not claim to have full knowledge off but to put it simply (which is probably the best that I can do) it is the way in which developers describe the functionalities of a website to the browsers. Coding is a language so to speak, that tells a browser what each part of the website is supposed to do.

With years of programming skills and an understanding of coding tools such as JavaScript, HTML and CSS; web developers can describe the content and design of your website to ensure that it is correctly interpreted. So whether you are after a simple website that offers a little of your company information or an e-commerce website that offers users a great shopping experience that can even be ‘tweeted’ about; your web developers will lie at the very root of your success.

In many cases, developers will have skills in graphic design and possibly even SEO but more often than not, they will work with a qualified designer and a team of other online marketing specialists to ensure that whatever it is you want from your website, whatever experience you wish to provide your customers and the results you wish to achieve; you can easily do so.

When searching for a web site development team or a single web developer, it is not vital to have any in-depth knowledge. By simply ensuring you are aware of the basics and the results you desire; finding the perfect person to work alongside your business, needn’t be such a frightening thought again.

Qualities To Look For In The Offshore Web Development Service Provider

If you are planning to outsource your web requirements then it is very important that you hire the right offshore web development company for your project. Hiring the right IT partner for your projects is most important as a wrong decision at this stage can be very harmful later. It is very important that the company you are partnering with has proven capabilities and expertise required for developing the solutions for your requirements.

While you can’t always be 100 percent sure about the service provider’s capabilities but still there are some qualities that you should be looking out for in the offshore web development service provider whom you finalize for your project.

A One-Stop Service Provider: Whether it is a simple website or a large enterprise management system, the vendor should be capable of delivering all of them with highest level of quality. For this it is necessary that it has well equipped development centre with state of the art infrastructure, technologies and resources capable of developing high-end solutions. The one-stop service provider will help you in saving both money and time as you won’t have to go out searching for an offshore web development company every time you have a new requirement. Moreover, by working closely with a single services you develop a sort of mutual understanding and they tend to understand your business goals and objectives much better. Thus, solutions can be aimed more precisely to achieve better business processes and greater benefits.

A-Z Care Of The Project: Web development outsourcing should be aimed at providing most effective and client friendly services. This requires the services to be capable of taking care of each and every aspect of project development with equal expertise. Make sure that they have each and every capability such as the architecture design, coding, testing, quality analysis etc. They should be able to customize their services according to your requirements and could also offer proper advice in case it is required.

Combination Of Expertise And Experience: You should be looking out for vendors having strong domain knowledge and experienced in developing web applications based on various different business requirements. The right mix of experience and expertise will ensure that they are able to understand your needs and requirements easily.

Quality Standards And Company Credentials: It is very important to partner with a service provider having high quality standards that are approved by some higher authority. Make sure that the web development outsourcing company is an ISO 9001:2008 certified company. Further, it will be most beneficial if you can find a service provider having CMMI Level 3 or above recognition.

Web development outsourcing is a very vast and rapidly growing IT segment. This has given rise to some very capable and effective offshore web development service providers whereas there have also emerged some low quality services. As a client it is your responsibility to make sure that you are partnering with the right development partner in order to receive most effective solutions. Keep the above points in mind while searching for the service provider and base your research and investigation upon them.

Top 8 Firefox Add-Ons for Web Development

As a web developer, you can never have enough tools to help make web development faster and more efficient. Mozilla’s Firefox web browser has a feature called add-ons (similar to extensions or plugins), which add extra features to the browser. Note: Not all add-ons are available for all OS platforms. The add-ons discussed here are compatible with Firefox 11, OS X Lion 10.7.3.

Firefox 11 by default already has very impressive tools for web development. It includes (descriptions from the Mozilla website):

  • Web Console – Lets you see logging messages from your JavaScript code, JavaScript and CSS errors and network activity. Search and filter to find just the events you need to look at. Plus, you can directly interact with and explore your page via JavaScript.
  • Page Inspector – Peek right into the styling of any Web page by visually selecting the page element that you’re interested in.
  • Scratchpad – Scratchpad lets you write JavaScript code that can interact directly with the contents of a Web page.

With these powerful tools already included, there are actually even more features you can add to Firefox for even more power. Here are my favorite add-ons specifically used for web development:

  1. Web Developer 1.1.9 – Also known as the Web Developer Toolbar (WDT), this add-on installs various web developer tools to the browser. It will allow you to quickly disable any JavaScript, CSS or image files on website. The toolbar also gives you easy access to any cookies, meta tag information, and forms on the web page you are viewing. One of my favorite features is the ability to auto fill forms for form testing. The “name” of the form element will be used as the form value, so when testing a form with many fields, this feature will save you plenty of time. The truth is, the WDT has so many different features, I haven’t been able to use them all yet!
  2. Firebug 1.9.1 – Firebug integrates with Firefox to put a wealth of development tools at your fingertips while you browse. You can edit, debug, and monitor CSS, HTML, and JavaScript live in any web page. It’s like the built in Web Console and Page Inspecter but with more features. Some developers will debate on which is better, WDT or Firebug. From my experience, WDT is more suited for front end designers that do a lot of CSS coding and Firebug is better for JavaScript/AJAX debugging and web development. I say use them both.
  3. MeasureIt 0.4.10 – Draw a ruler across any webpage to check the width, height, or alignment of page elements in pixels. This ruler is one of the handiest add-ons I’ve used.
  4. Firesizer 1.7 – Allows you to resize the window to specific dimensions. This add-on shows the dimensions of the current browser window in pixels.
  5. HTML Validator 0.9.5.2 – Adds HTML Validation to the View Page Source of the browser. The add-on is based on Tidy and OpenSP, both algorithms that were originally developed by the Web Consortium W3C. The details of the errors are seen when looking the HTML source of the page. If you care about your code being valid, then try this out. Although the WDT has a HTML validator feature, those validation results are shown to you from an external website, rather than being shown along with the page’s source code.
  6. Rainbow 1.5.1 – This add-on has a color picker and eyedropper + saving colors. It allows you to try out colors with drag and drop. Want to know the hexadecimal notation (HEX) color of a particular blue that is in a jpeg image without needing an image editor (like Photoshop)? With Rainbow, it’s no problem.
  7. Lazarus: Form Recovery 2.3 – Lazarus securely auto-saves all forms as you type, so after a crash, server timeout, or whatever, you can go back to the form and get the form data back. If you have a lot of forms that need testing and would like to use actual form content, this add-on will make it a less tedious task.
  8. FireFTP – FireFTP is a free, secure, cross-platform FTP/SFTP client for Mozilla Firefox which provides easy and intuitive access to FTP/SFTP servers. If you are experienced with FileZilla, FireFTP will be familiar.

And of course, the latest version of Firefox can be downloaded from the Mozilla website.