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Webucator's Free Managing Web Design Projects Tutorial

Lesson: Functionality Model

Welcome to our free Managing Web Design Projects tutorial. This tutorial is based on Webucator's Managing Web Design Projects course.

Understanding the information that needs to be gathered, shared, and stored for later use is essential to the building of a complete project. Although you may not be the one responsible for data storage, understanding the process will help you as a designer to build the proper shell for the data to be displayed.

Lesson Goals

  • To understand a data plan.
  • To understand the data-gathering process.
  • To use data best practices.

Data Planning

Creating a Data Map

The storage of information within a website is equally important as the visual look of the site. Just as the visual look of a site can lead or deter users to or from a site, if the information is hard to reach, users are unlikely to make a repeat visit to the site.

Purchase Table Structure in AccessPurchase Table Structure built in Microsoft Access.

Page Content and Security Table Structure in AccessPage Content and Security Table Structure built in Microsoft Access.

Data Gathering

Gathering and Combining Data

Data may exist in many sources and the use of a website is a great way to display and share information from many sources. Various technologies may be used to gather this data and make it searchable. Securing this information is essential to the integrity of the data.

Each of these midlevel technologies helps the database, usually a SQL Server, or a MySQL database, that is stored in a hosted environment translate the request from the web browser into a language the database understands. The response is then translated back into a language the web browser understands.

  • .NET - a Microsoft operating system platform that incorporates applications, a suite of services, and tools to enable productivity: a medium-level learning curve.
  • PHP - a server-side scripting language designed for web development: a time-consuming learning curve.
  • ColdFusion - a commercial rapid web application development platform owned by Adobe: an easier learning curve.

Data Best Practices

Creating a Good Data Solution

Data solutions depend upon the resources and technologies available to you. If you are not comfortable creating a data solution from scratch, you may use premade solutions like Content Management Systems (CMSs) such as Joomla, Drupal, or WordPress. These sites usually have very few requirement on your part. Some of these responsibilities would be to provide a host environment that supports a MySQL database and upon installing the services, the data source and code pages are built for you. The price you pay for the ease of data creation and connection is often seen in the slim level of customization that you may do in each site.

Having said that, these systems are very flexible and a great way to start if you lack the full design team to fill each role. There are many other types of services as well as the ones listed above. Make sure to do all of the research and look at the sample sites provided by each service to see if you find the proper level of flexibility and operation comfort level for you.

If none of the "out-of-the-box" solutions meet your needs, you will need to turn to a professional-level solution involving a custom database, custom design, and a midlevel technology to combine the two (PHP, .NET, CF).

Database Questions

Duration: 15 to 25 minutes.

In this exercise, you will answer a few questions about database technology and making connections.

  1. What are a midlevel technologies and what are they used for?
  2. Name as many mid-level technologies that you can.
  3. What are some of the "out-of-the-box" solutions that you may use?

Solution:

  1. Mid-level technologies are used to help the database, usually a SQL Server, or a MySQL database, that is stored in a hosted environment translate the request form the web-browser into a language the database understands. The answer to the question is then translated back into a language the web-browser understands.
  2. .NET - a Microsoft operating system platform that incorporates applications, a suite of services and tools to enable productivity: a medium learning curve. PHP - a server-side scripting language designed for web development: a time-consuming learning curve. ColdFusion - a commercial rapid web application development platform owned by Adobe: an easier learning curve.
  3. Joomla, Drupal, or a WordPress site to name a few.