What it Takes to Develop Enterprise Web Application?Written by Elena on July 12th, 2016
Got an enterprise web application development project at stake? This guide covers all the essential preps and pillars of building a robust, secure product.
The demand for enterprise web application is close to surpassing the supply.
The modern economy is going more and more digital; new devices and platforms emerge with the speed of light, and users demand for friendlier, more powerful cross-platform solutions. As Gather has highlighted in their recent report:
“The increasing variety and complexity of data and the ubiquity of the Internet of Things are bringing about a new digital imperative. Every business is now a digital business. Every business unit is an innovation center. Every project is a digital project. This means a radical shift in priorities and perspective (when it comes to web development).”
What it means for you as an enterprise is that your new product should satisfy hundreds of thousands of separate requirements – from security and administration to intuitive user-experience and maintenance. The whole project may seem like a tangled ball of yarn.
However, fret not. In this guide, we’d like to outline all the essential prep stages and key decisions you’ll need to make when approaching an enterprise web app development project.
6 Pillars of Successful Enterprise Web Application Development
If you are considering to launch a new online service or product, you should start with clearly defining the end goals and business value it will bring. Create a list of exact processes your software should be able to accomplish; routines in should help you get rid off and the exact set of functions it should perform.
Next, get a quick estimate of the possible development costs. In general, depending on the complexity of your end product and company location the standard developers’ rates range around $100-$180 per hour for nearshore (Canada, The UK and US market on average); $30-$50 per hour if outsourcing to Eastern European markets (Ukraine, Poland, Romania) and $4-$15 if you choose a low-budget company from India, Vietnam or China (but the quality of work would be respective). The final project pricing will also include website design, UX and wireframing, quality assurance services, maintenance etc.
You may want to consider outsourcing the development, rather than attempting the project in-house as assembling a dedicated team will likely cost you more time and money. Additionally, a 3rd party provider can offer you a fresh perspective on all your in-house processes and proposed better ways of streamlining them within the software product.
Now let’s move to the core essentials of enterprise app development.
Advanced Security is Essential
Cybercrime is on the rise. Hacker attacks and malware become more sophisticated. Yet, most enterprise web applications are still guilty of neglecting the common security standards and contain serious vulnerabilities.
According to a recent report conducted by HP, whooping 86% of web applications tested had serious problems with access control, confidentiality and authentication. In fact, 52% of those applications were prone to such common hazards as Cross-Site Scripting and SQL Injections.
In other words, most enterprise web applications suffer from notorious, yet easily preventable security vulnerabilities. If you want to succeed with your business in the modern landscape, you need to put security on the top of your list. User experience is now everything and poor security measures are alienating you from the potential customers.
How To Get It Right
Our enterprise web development company has created a set of guidelines we use to build-in bulletproof security into each of our products. Here are some of the standard practices we deploy:
Testing Inputs Rigorously
Your website code opens a potential path into your machines. If your software pulls any kind of data from the Internet, inevitably someone will try to sneak past you.
Here’s a classic example of how SQL injections happen. A web form on your enterprise website may simply ask user to type their ZIP code, then those characters are turned into an SQL query. Yet savvy hackers can add extra characters that expand the scope to be more than a simple search. When your software grabs all the input data, it ends up feeding the SQL directly to the database and your problems start from here.
Always make sure that the company you work with takes code review and testing very seriously. Yes, this process is time consuming, but programmers should check their code vigorously. That’s exactly why we’ve introduced peer-to-peer code review practice at our company – this way a different programmer can take a fresh look at the code, review and vet it with higher accuracy.
Additionally we recommend using DALs to prevent SQL injections. Adding an additional abstraction layer over your databases will make the majority of SQL injections fail. However, this option can be a bit expensive in development, as every single database call will require modifications and interpolations at the DAL layer. At our company we standardly use Hibernate Framework.
Passwords Are Not The Most Trustworthy Authentication Method
The truth is – people forget passwords, deliberately choose too simple ones and reuse them over and over again. However, your options here are slightly limited:
- You can choose to en N-factor authentication by adding text message verification for certain types of actions. Yet this poses additional difficulties from the end-users perspective, as some text messages often can’t be reach, people forget their cell phones and don’t find the procedure convenient enough.
- Cryptographic keys are another not that user-friendly option as those get lost even more often than a cellphone.
- Tracking IP addresses that can be used to login to the service can be an option. You can send polite additional verification emails for the unknown ones.
Build a Secure Password/Secret Question Storage
You can discover a huge collection of stolen passwords and login data with a quick Google search. But you don’t want to be your user’s data among that, right?
When building web-based solutions, we implement the following guidelines for building protected data storages:
- Use a cryptographically strong credential-specific salt
- Do not limit the character set and set long max lengths for credentials
- Design password storage assuming it may be eventually compromised
Opt for SSL Certificate from Day One
Building a web enterprise website that doesn’t support SSL in 2016 isn’t extremely wise. SSL ads an additional layer of encryption to secure the connections between a web server and browser. The protocol uses public key cryptography, which harnesses the power of two keys consisting of long string of random numbers to encrypt the transferred data.
These were just a bunch of essential security measures our company uses to develop web app for enterprises. We can provide full protocols per request before starting the project.
Now, let’s move to the other key elements of web app development.
Responsive Website Design is The New Norm
Responsive and adaptive web design was among the hottest trends in enterprise website development last year. Basically, the two concepts serve the same purpose – delivering applications that display a separate page for each device type (PC, laptop, tablet smartphone).
The term “responsive” is usually used in relation to websites, while adaptive is the right term for web applications.
Mobile usage has exploded in the past decade and mobile traffic has already surpassed desktop traffic in 10 countries worldwide including the USA. Today, you are not really sure how the user will access your web application – from a phone, tablet or PC. You don’t want to deliberately cut yourself off some potential revenues and compromise user experience by building a non-adaptive web app in 2016, right?
Additionally, new types of devices are rolling into the market including all sorts of wearables, Google Glass and Oculus Rift to name a few.
Full-screen navigation design is growing in popularity as well. This feature allows to drastically improve user-experience on small screen devices – when your users comes across a registration/payment form and taps it, the form automatically jumps to full-screen size for easier usage.
Do consider all of the above during the pre-development stage.
Settle on The Right Kind of Technology
Web application development entails two main categories of coding and programming required:
Client side coding (front-end development) – the type of code that will power up your website and will be interpreted by web browsers. In fact, any website visitor can view it by enabling the appropriate feature in their browser. Our enterprise website development service assumes using some of the following technologies:
- Bootstrap 3
Server side coding (back-end development) – this type of code in interpreted and executed by the web server. Typically, it’s not accessible by general public for some good reasons (re-read the security paragraph). While our company suggests opting for enterprise application development with Java as the most robust and stable technology, we have vast experience in dealing with other technologies as well:
Feeling confused with the options available? No worries, we can advice the best particular technology to power-up your application or go through the advantages of Java development in details.
Choose Among The Most Appropriate Web Application Frameworks
Web application frameworks stand for a set of program libraries, tools and components organized in an architecture system, which allows programmers to build and maintain complex enterprise web application projects using a more efficient approach.
Different frameworks are designed to streamline development and encourage code reuse by pushing forward folder organization, structure, libraries, documentation and guidelines.
Advantages of Using Web Application Frameworks
- Program actions and logic are separated from CSS and design files, meaning your website design goes smoother as our professionals can edit the interface and implement changes without additional help from an engineer.
- Each build is based on the module, libraries and tools, which allows developers to share libraries and implement complex features in a faster, more efficient pace.
- The end code is of higher standards, more consistent and requires less testing afterwards.
Adopt The Right Web Applications Lifecycle Model
Web application lifecycle stands for the process of developing a custom web application and involvement of the multiple teams assigned on the project. Each web development company sets forth its unique style of operations. In our case we vouch for Agile approach to software development.
In a nutshell, this approach entails reducing the number of project management processes; placing more value on collaboration and efficient teamwork; automating the max amount of processes without compromising the quality and staying flexible enough to changes imposed during the development project.
You can learn more about all the ins and outs of using Agile methodology from this post written by our CEO.
Settle on The Best Web Application Development Process
At this stage we’ll sit down and review the proposed approach to application development to make sure your product is delivered on time and without any flaws.
The standard routine typically looks the following way:
- Developing roadmap documentation – defining web application, purpose, goals and direction.
- Researching and defining the audience scope.
- Creating functional product specifications or feature summary document.
- Technology selection, settling on technical specifications of the product
- Third party integrations analysis and selection.
- Web application visual guide, design layout and wireframing.
- Entering database structure design and application development.
- Quality assurance and testing.
- Maintenance and further tech support (if required)
These are the essential pillars of successful enterprise web application development. This guide should have provided you with the core steps to conduct prior to signing off the deal with a development company.
If you are interested in hiring Romexsoft team for a similar project, do reach out through our contact page or click on the form below.