La Mesa Web Designs and Development
La Mesa, California
lmwd information header image
Handling Information

Handling information is done by applying information gathered from our client’s Business Needs and Requirements documents to a web interface and database. The information is created, read, updated and deleted by the program that runs within the web site that connects the web interface with the database. The web site is like a software program that is accessed over the Internet and can be used by anyone that visits the web site. Actually, the only difference between creating a web site using N-Tier architecture, that is, the User Interface, Business Logic Programming, and Database, and creating stand-alone software, such as business applications that can be used within an office, is syntactical – the software needs to be programmed differently to be accessed on the web. Of course, this is not the only aspect of web development that is involved in creating a web site. The web site needs to use attractive graphics, consider loading time over the Internet, and basically be quite efficient, however, as far as handling information this is how it is done:

Goal

The overall web site goal is determined by the client’s needs and requirements. The goal is a simplified version of the Business Needs and Requirements document, which outlines what the client wants to achieve through the web site.

Input and Output Data

The information that needs to be handled is categorized and grouped into input data and output data. The input data is information that is entered into the web site, and the output data is reports about that data.

Data Tables

Database tables are created to manage the data. The tables are then refined to avoid redundant data, to accommodate data that can be scaled in volume up or down over time, for web site security, and for the most efficient interaction with the web site interface and coding. The tables are organized in such way using standard documents called Entity-Relationship Diagrams (ERD), and using database keys that interact between tables and can be accessed from database queries to return results organized from different data tables, according to what is required by the user. This is called a Relational Database. For example: sales by country, jobs in production, etc.

How the System Handles Data

Two standard documents are then put together to handle the User Experience and the Data Flow:

  1. Use Case Scenarios – this is a series of simple forms listing the actions taken by users of the system to efficiently and accurately enter data into the new system. This is done to streamline and simplify the process so users can quickly and easily use the new system. It is obtained from actual users or their representatives, and produces the process that is the most effective for users of the system and the flow of data from obtaining the data to be input to accessing reports from the system. This is how the system handles the data from the user.
  2. A Data Flow Diagram (DFD) is then designed depicting the user interfaces (screens) that will access the data, the data stores and the flow of the data. It includes descriptions for the screens, such as “admin logs in” or “manager enters data”. This can include several levels to expand upon the data stores or reports. This is how the system handles the data itself.
Storyboard

Once these documents are prepared, a web site Storyboard is designed showing the levels of the User Interfaces connected by menus.

Wireframes

From the Storyboard, each User Interface is designed as a Wireframe drawing, using placeholders for content, buttons, data displays and the like. ASP.Net provides the ability to design Master Pages, which act as a template for the User Interfaces, so the web site is consistent in its look, feel and interaction with data throughout the whole project.

Database Set-Up with ASP.Net Schema

The database itself is set up on the hosting server. ASP.Net Shema is applied to the database. This provides complete encrypted security for user roles and authentication and authorization (log in, etc.), and is a standardized Microsoft best practice. The data tables and SQL stored procedures are then added to the database.

User Interfaces Prototype

The User Interfaces are then built, using the wireframe drawings as a guide, and placeholders are used for the prototype.

Business Logic and Functional Prototype

The Business Logic programming (code-behind) is added to the pages for interactivity, and a functional prototype of the web site is then sent to the client for approval.

Testing and Debugging

After the client approves the web site, actual content is added and test data is entered into the site for testing and debugging the final system. When the testing and debugging is complete, the test data is removed and the finished web site is delivered to the client with a document describing use of the system.