Choosing Your Web Developer

Placing your business online should not be a strenuous or arduous task. It should be a reasonably enjoyable process whose end result should be increased leads for your business. The secret, is finding the right web developer, with the right skills, for your particular needs.

When deciding on who should develop your site you should consider the following:

1. Availability – Is the developer contactable? Will he/she be available after hours and on weekends if you have any issues or problems with your site?

2. Honesty – Will the developer give you truthful advice and recommendations, or just push the company line?

3. Customer Service – Will you be given a personalised service where the developer sees your project through from start to finish? Will this developer be the one who makes changes or additions as your business grows?

4. Services – Does your developer offer the full range of services necessary to get your business online? For example, do they offer Domain Name Registration, Website Hosting, Email, E-Commerce, PHP and MySQL (to run blogs, CRM’s and other database applications) and be able to market your website?

5. Pricing – The cost of having a website built can vary quite considerably.

Always ask for a quotation upfront.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions;

• Ask for a itemised quotation so you can see a breakdown of exactly what you are getting for your money.

• Will you need to pay a deposit?

• Are there any ongoing fees? i.e. Website Hosting.

• Do you charge a flat rate or charge by the hour?

• How long will the website take to complete?

• Will I have to pay for extras, and if so how much?

6. Quality – There is no point in paying big dollars (or even lesser dollars for that matter) for a site you are unhappy with or looks cheap and nasty. Always have a look at the developer’s portfolio. If they do not have one on their website, ask yourself why not? Don’t be afraid to ask to see previous works. Also, read customer testimonials. Even call those customers to get their opinion on the developer’s work ethics and abilities.

Although I would be extremely thoughtless to claim that these 6 points are everything you need to be aware of, I firmly believe if you include these points in when considering your developer you will find yourself one you are going to be happy with and that you will use for many years to come.

Importance of Content Management Services For Web Development

Website owners, irrespective of their business domain, often come across a problem of updating content in a systematic manner. Content management services are an answer to these problems. A CMS allows organizations to easily maintain and organize the data by providing a structured view of the resources. As an organization needs a regular update of its contents, there is always a necessity of a proper CMS provider. In simple terms, the content management system is a collection of procedures in which data can be nearly anything. It helps to simplify the management and publication of HTML content, like documents, images and other necessary things that is required for the website. The system refers to the programs on the web server, or to the hardware devices that is used for the facilitation of documents on a large network.

The need for such services is growing rapidly all over the globe due to the various benefits that they render, and to expand domestic business in the global market. Online business is becoming the latest trend for any small and medium scale organizations. To establish their business and capture the international market, small scale business organizations have started investing in the content management services to develop hi-end web applications. The content management service providers include special strategies, methods and tools for storing, compiling and preserving an organization’s important documents, unstructured data, paper documents and other content in an efficient manner.

The content management services are open source software which is useful to manage the content of the dynamic websites including, creating, storing, publishing and maintaining the websites. Cost is definitely a major factor. Business organizations which have low budget and are unable to hire these services, can easily update the web pages themselves. They need not hire a web developer every time a new content has to be updated online. For this a good management system has to implemented, which is not intuitive and requires much less training for its usage. This will help an individual who is not highly technical in terms of web technologies to put up new contents on the website.

As these small scale business firms have limited cash resource, there are a lot of price factors that they need to consider which can match up to the content management service requirements. It is also implied that you get what you pay for. In cases where an individual is unable to tackle issues that refer to the web standards, it is good to find a professional who can help to choose the right services that strictly adheres to such standards. Losing a chunk of audience is unacceptable. So updating regularly and fixing any bug problem is what these services are all about.

Semantic Web Development

Semantic Web Modelling Centre of Excellence

Introduction

Semantic Web Development and dealing with complexity is a tricky issue. Representing information is a problem where complexity can preclude any single approach. In order to find our way around large quantities of information it needs to be structured. But the information already exists and is still being created, so this makes it a moving target.

I’m sure such matters will be covered at the www2006 conference at Edinburgh .

The structuring of ontologies from the top down can be useful, but can only be achieved where the ontology developers have some control over the information. Much of web development and other creation of information is bottom up, in that there is no controlling authority. This is good for inclusiveness and speed of development, and something that encourages community, and encourages individuals to create their own content, which is a good thing. In his interview with the British Computer Society Tim Berners-Lee http://dig.csail.mit.edu/breadcrumbs/blog/4 answers a question on ontologies. He talks of a top level ontology that can be created to hold certain terms and the need to find out who is using these terms, so that other web pages and databases can be categorised. This would be achieved using URIs (Universal Resource Identifier) and RDF (Resource Description Framework). In answer to what Tim Berners-Lee hopes to achieve, he talks of this bottom up development that is going on, using blogs, and wikis etc and a possible approach of ‘web science’ – ‘the science and engineering of web based things that have a bottom up Web-like structure’.

I think this approach is highly relevant to my PhD research on user-driven programming, with University of the West of England (UWE – Bristol). Not everyone has the time to learn programming especially if their main expertise is elsewhere. They then have to ask others to do the development for them and this leads to delays and mis-understandings. The approach advocated here could enable visual creation of software by members of a community. Members of this community would not need advanced programming skills if other members with more advanced development skills could create a suitable interface for the creation of software. This could be achieved in a similar way to that used in visual web page creation tools, or word processor and spreadsheet software. Also the members who do possess advanced skills could provide ways of sorting, searching and navigating the programs created using the visual development tools. Members could work with either or both groups, according to their skills and interests.

A good first step would be to link communities and sites that have a mix of those with advanced software skills who want to encourage and enable others to learn to program, and of new starters who want to learn. This could involve those who are willing to try out new techniques to make it easier for new starters to train learn and gain experience.