What is involved in designing an Enterprise class Web based application?

Designing and Architecting an Enterprise class web based or cloud based application presents a lot of challenges with respect to the application design to organizations. It is important that organizations understand each of these challenges in detail along with the possible mitigation plan to overcome the challenges. Foremost of the common challenges that need to be addressed include

Data Security

Being an Enterprise class application, it is imperative that lot of sensitive data is going to be part of the application and it is important that data is secured and reliable. Again when you are trying to build a large web based banking application or a data sensitive healthcare application this aspect becomes the most primary parameter to be addressed.

High Availability

This will become the most important challenge to address when your application is high revenue oriented one. Typically online billing systems or auction platforms will demand this need.

Application flexibility and Scalability

A lot of care has to be taken to ensure that whatever application design you are considering for your solution is highly flexible and scalable. You need to ensure that it is going to be very easy to incorporate new features and modules to the existing application on the fly without causing any major disturbance to the existing set of features

Application Performance and Speed

You will need to understand the impact of load on network, web server, Database server and concurrent hits on the web application and accordingly consider the performance initiatives during the application design. Especially if you are trying to design a B2B or a B2C portal or a large retail e-commerce application that is going to be deployed across several countries, this point becomes your most important aspect to consider.Of course the above are just the key parameters that we have listed but a lot of other challenges and parameters that you might want to consider depending on the type of application you are trying to build.

How to choose the right technology platform?

Now that we have discussed above about the foremost challenges to be understood while designing and architecting an Enterprise class web based application, it is important to further understand what should be the technology platform that you should adopt for your application

There are both proprietary and open source development platforms available out there and depending on what your organizational and application goals are, you should chose the platform accordingly

Today across the world enterprises are leaning towards using open source against proprietary platforms in developing their applications. Some of the key reasons why organizations are prone to use Open Source are

– Over years open source platforms have become more organized and industrialized and hence are more dependable.
– As there is no usage or license fee for development or deployment, using open source reduces the total cost of ownership (TCO)
– With a large community developing free plug-ins and third party applications, development cycle time is reduced there by resulting in reduced Enterprise IT budget spending.
– Above all, open source platforms provide very high level of customizability as against the other proprietary platforms
Within the open source you will have several options to choose like you can adopt to use a non framework based development or a frame work based development approach.

Why should you choose a MVC based Framework?

Since we are talking about designing and architecting a enterprise class web based / cloud based application it is understood that the application has to be built from ground up and a lot of custom business logic need to be incorporated within the application. This demands using a Framework for development.

Also I believe using a MVC based Framework over a non MVC one has its own benefits especially when it comes to large enterprise applications. I clearly see some distinguishing benefits of using a MVC pattern based framework like

– In a MVC framework the business logic and GUI portions can be handled as two independent verticals without any co-ordination hassles. This further results in a robust development
– MVC Framework renders development by breaking the application into three different components namely Model, View and Controller which helps in creating and maintaining each component in isolation.

Some of the most popular MVC based open source frameworks available are
Zend Framework
Codeignitor Framework
Cake PHP Framework
Symfony Framework
Yii Framework

Of all the above listed popular open source MVC Frameworks, Zend Framework is the most popular and widely used.

Zend is an object oriented, open source web applications development framework. Zend is widely used to develop secure, reliable and scalable web applications. It has huge extensible coding library with all helpful components like UI design patterns, MVC implementation which supports PHP templates and layouts. Zend Framework supports all databases like MySQL, Microsoft SQL Server, Oracle, PostgreSQL etc.

Advantages of using Zend Framework

• Zend PHP based Framework being open source is cost effective and provides rapid web development solutions
• It supports all the features of the latest version of PHP including PHP 5
• Completely Object Oriented
• Zend has a rich library of functions which are helpful in dynamic website development
• Highly developer friendly because it is easy to use and has flexible architecture

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