Web Application Development
If you need a web-based system to manage your inventory, schedule events, collect online donations, provide reports, deliver online courses, or process information in a specific way, you need a custom-built web application. Give us a ring - we can help!
We start the development process by working closely with you to plan the functionality of your web application. If we’ll be integrating the web application with other systems such as credit card gateways or social media websites, we perform thorough research and analysis at this time. We're always careful to ensure that the features we plan will not take too long to develop and put the project beyond your budget.
After defining your needs in detail, we then create wireframes, or simple line drawings of the various elements of the application, that will make it easy for you to understand how the various pages will be laid out and linked together. It will be easy for you to understand what we are planning and provide your input. We might also create a working prototype and test with users and focus groups if timelines and budgets allow.
In some cases, we’re willing to break out the Discovery phase into a separate contract, enabling you to choose whether to continue working with us for the later phases.
We always develop web applications with proper coding practices and techniques. Here's how we do it:
- Staging server
We use "staging servers" that contain a mirror copy of our client's code. Any changes to the code is launched on the staging server first, where it is tested thoroughly before being launched to the live system.
- Application framework
We often develop our code using a “framework,” or a system that makes it easier to develop and extend web applications. In our latest several projects, we have used popular and high-performance open source PHP frameworks called CodeIgniter and Yii. Frameworks contain several benefits, including making it easier for multiple developers to modify, upgrade and troubleshoot the code in the future.
- Code repository
We always store our web applications' code in a library called SVN. Whenever developers need to modify some code, they update it in SVN to ensure that it can be tracked and rolled back to previous versions, and does not conflict with other developers' changes.
This is an area that's often overlooked by web developers, but is critical towards ensuring that the web application will be easy to manage, troubleshoot, and extend in the future. We employ brief “inline documentation” (inside the code) as well as more complete documentation using an external system that our clients have access to. This way, the system is easy to support and extend – even if you end up using developers outside of Emerson Media in the future.
- Quality Assurance
When developing the specifications for this project, we develop a long list of “test cases” that describe every piece of functionality and how it should work in every situation. Our developers run through this list before launch to ensure that everything works as intended.
Sample Web Applications
Here are some of the web applications that we have developed. You can view more in our portfolio.
Secure Billing System
Our client, a large vendor of organic fruits and vegetables in the greater Boston area, needed a secure system through which they could bill their many clients on a recurring basis. The system needed to be stable, reliable and compliant with recently introduced strict industry regulations. We designed and built a system that they use to conduct a large volume of credit card transactions on a regular basis.
Interactive Website and Story Map
We designed and custom-built an interactive website for a multi-year, NIH-funded study of children and youth who were perinatally infected with HIV. This website provides resources, information and an interactive "Story Map" feature to young adult participants in an effort to keep them enrolled in the study. The system also interfaces with a web-based survey tool which is used by the study for secure data collection and research. This is a members-only website, but you can see some screenshots here.
Custom e-Learning System
Asigra, a Toronto-based technology company, needed an e-learning system with specific features that did not exist elsewhere. The company engaged Emerson Media to create an e-learning application with the exact features they needed for their business. Asigra now uses this system to deliver specialized training content to hundreds of people who are part of their global network of resellers.