Step One in the web development process is to plan the flow of your website or application. it's very important to create a clear and concise plan of your website prior to development.
The first step to planning is establishing the purpose of your website. For example, is the site meant more for informational purposes, such as showcasing a product or service? Or is it meant to interact with your users and dynamically adapt to their preferences and browsing habits?
This is an important consideration because it will ultimately determine the infrastructure your site needs, in order to accomplish your goals.
If you are still unclear on the difference between a static informational site and a dynamic interactive site. Let's take a look at an example.
The site Flexzilla.com, sells a specialty Garden Hose product. This site is fairly simple, it showcases the product and provides information to potential buyers. The site does not interact or require any information from us (besides a basic contact form), nor does it customize its interface based on our browsing behaviors. It is a static site with a few pages intended to inform customers on its product.
Now let's take a look at a much more complex, dynamic website such as Amazon.com. This website sells over 200 million products in thousands of different product categories. The site has a customer portal that allows us to configure settings that will custom tailor the shopping experience based on our interests. Amazon also likely has a variety of other seamless tracking mechanisms to monitor our browsing behavior and display products that we would most likely purchase. This is a truly dynamic website that interacts with its users to customize the browsing experience.
As you probably guessed, if your intention was to create a dynamic user interactive web application, your system configuration and resource requirements would be entirely different than a static website. We will discuss the differences in requirements as we progress through the course.
Once you've established the purpose and goals of your site, you can begin mapping out a flow chart of the sites navigation. This flow chart is simply a hierarchical structure of each page and it's interactions with other pages on your website.
Let's take a look at a very basic site structure for a sample Real Estate Brokerage's website:
Here we have:
This is a very simply structure for demonstration purposes. We will be exploring much more complex structures as we progress through the course.