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  1. #1
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    design or develop first?

    hello,

    just wondering if I should go about designing my site first before implementing any back end capabilities. i like to keep things organized and plan ahead. It would seem to make sense to create the static site first but i am somewhat unsure if I were to design first and end up redesigning to fit everything I plan on adding later, in terms of dynamic content.

    any feedback should help clear my mind, and i should also mention this is my first attempt at combining front end, and back end but i have done both seperately heh, thanks to all who reply.

    andy

  2. #2
    SitePoint Zealot loathsome's Avatar
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    For me this is a matter or personal preference. I usually create a mock-up of how I want the final result to be, implement the back end, then finish everything up.
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  3. #3
    SQL Consultant gold trophysilver trophybronze trophy
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    the first thing you should do is wireframe the user interaction to understand what actions the user will take and what responses the back end must make

    then design the database to support the interactions

    then design the site

    then develop the backend and site in tandem
    rudy.ca | @rudydotca
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  4. #4
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    I would say a lot of it has do be done together. You must havev at least an idea of the site you want, but as you put it together many developmental issues may change your mind.

  5. #5
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    I think it depends on what you kind of stuff you're wanting to do with the backend stuff but I preffer designing first so that Ican see what the user is going to see when the backend stuff happens.

  6. #6
    Programming Since 1978 silver trophybronze trophy felgall's Avatar
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    The approach you take probably depends on whether you are more of a designer or more a developer. A developer would tend to do the back end first without worrying too much about exactly how the page will look until after they know that it all functions properly. A designer would probably get the page looking exactly how they want and then worry about how to get it to function correctly. If you have separate people performing each of these tasks then all that needs to be done first is to define the interface between the two so that the two almost separate parts can be done separately in the knowledge that they will fit together once both are done.
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  7. #7
    SQL Consultant gold trophysilver trophybronze trophy
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    Quote Originally Posted by felgall View Post
    ... all that needs to be done first is to define the interface between the two so that the two almost separate parts can be done separately in the knowledge that they will fit together once both are done.
    so... basically you agree with me

    i said "wireframe the user interaction" and you said "define the interface" but we both said that this must come before page design or back end development
    rudy.ca | @rudydotca
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  8. #8
    Programming Since 1978 silver trophybronze trophy felgall's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by r937 View Post
    so... basically you agree with me

    i said "wireframe the user interaction" and you said "define the interface" but we both said that this must come before page design or back end development
    Is that a difference in terminology between a designer and a developer talking about the same thing?
    Stephen J Chapman

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  9. #9
    SitePoint Enthusiast ck88's Avatar
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    As in everything in this life, when you want to do something there are many things needs to be taking into account before implementation stage.

    For instance, if you want to cook spaghetti, what would you do first? Obviously, it would be waste of resources to start boiling the water before making sure you have all the ingredients you need.

    It's all about clear and full understanding of your objective. Once you have this, it's much easier to device suitable strategies to achieve desired outcome.
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  10. #10
    Django Jedi neron-fx's Avatar
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    I personally stick to these 18 golden rules and work like this in everything that I do (skipping any steps that aren't relevant to a project). To some this would seem anal but I am just very very particular and like to ensure that there are minimal things to go wrong on launch.

    You will notice that I leave all designing, CSS and visual testing until last. This is due to the fact that durig development I am often asked to add extra features or more UI elements to the app, and so dont want to waste time messing around in Photoshop everytime the client adds in an extra drop down. I prefer to do it last when all the functionality is in and working and I can just lay my styles around everything else (I seperate all logic from styles anyway so its actually easier.)

    1. Database Design and Architecture - On paper
    2. App Design i.e. flow, actions, plans for functionality - On paper
    3. Setup Dev and production environments
    4. Create Database - On Dev
    5. Write all core logic and functionality - On Dev
    6. Write all testing units to test every piece of logic and functionality - On Dev
    7. Test and Debug in all browsers -On Dev
    8. Upload to production servers but make inaccessible to public
    9. Test and Debug in all browsers on Production Servers
    10. Create Designs and Concepts in Photoshop
    11. Create, slice up and optimise all graphics
    12. Write CSS, Make sure all XHTML and CSS is standards compliant and accessible - On Dev
    13. Test again on Dev but this time for visuals (all browsers 800x600 - 1280x1024 resolutions)
    14. Migrate to live servers (again not accessible to the public)
    15. Test visuals on live servers
    16. Migrate fully to live servers (allow access to 5 people for User Active Testing
    17. Fix all bugs found and make amends given
    18. Launch to the public.
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  11. #11
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    I personally prefer to design first. A poster above mentioned drawing your site out on paper first, which is always the first thing I do.
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  12. #12
    SitePoint Zealot tjyobazee's Avatar
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    It depends on the person. For sometime, I have been designing the front-end first based on how I see the user-interaction would be.

    Recently, I have been developing back-ends first because I was experimenting on some application framework.

  13. #13
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    I think you'd better design first. Then in the process of developing , you can adjust the design based on specific circumstances .You can improve it and in the end get the good result. We can do one thing with a lot of ways not just take one that was mentioned before, as long as it can help us to do things better, we can take it.

  14. #14
    Django Jedi neron-fx's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tony0930 View Post
    I think you'd better design first. Then in the process of developing , you can adjust the design based on specific circumstances.
    Hi Tony,

    I see where you are coming from, but personally that bugs the hell out of me I love designing pages as much as the next designer (Im a developer primarily however). But the one thing I cant stand is having to go back and re-do an entire layout (Or Photoshop concept if you havent got as far as laying out) because my client wants "an extra drop down here". Or if they say: "could we possibly move that menu to the bottom of the page?"... now Im a patient man, but Photoshop can eat patient men for breakfast

    I like to develop first, get all the functionality in and working and signed off with the client (so I know any changes made will be miniscule). Then I put together Photoshop concepts based on the signed off functionality and get those signed off with the client. Once Im sure that the client is completely happy, only then will I begin putting the pages together in terms of style.

    That is just my personal preference that I have learned through hard previous experience. I save time this way, get the client a project they are happy with on time and can charge a good rate because I have not spent hours re-doing entire layouts because the client does not like

    Still everyone is different maybe a pure designer could put in their 2 cents worth?
    Neron-Fx
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  15. #15
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    A couple of months ago, I would have said without hesitation "Design first". The main reason is that I enjoy designing more than coding I think, and so if I have the design in place before I begin coding, I get a lot more motivation seeing the site come alive. I wouldn't get that same motivation and enjoyment if I was writing code for a site that looked like it had been made in word.

    However, for my latest project at work, I started on all the core functionality first. The framework I guess you could say. Getting all this out of the way before designing, allows me to see my design (when I take it from Photoshop to HTML/CSS) come to life much quicker and hence I get a greater sense of motivation and joy as I steam ahead putting all the pieces of the puzzle together.

    So I guess what I'm trying to say is, go with a development process that's most enjoyable for you.
    Last edited by Wardrop; Jul 18, 2008 at 05:10.

  16. #16
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    This is my general rule of thumb approach:

    1. Sitemap - create a tree structure of how everything leads and links to each other.
    2. PPP - purpose per page - after creating the sitemap, detail what each page will contain
    3. Flat layout mock up - no coding and no heavy graphics. Basically figure out where each page part is going to go to.
    4. Design - all heavy graphics and images go here.
    5. Code - front-end and back-end work.
    6. Test - sometimes you have to go back a few steps. That's ok, s'long as it isnt the main sitemap.
    7. Launch.

  17. #17
    SitePoint Wizard creole's Avatar
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    I design the site first, keeping in mind the required functionality and behaviours.

    Then I develop the site, writing any structural code, CSS, javascript, or ColdFusion.
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  18. #18
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    we designed zurpit.com first in photoshop and then sliced it up and did the hardcore coding.

  19. #19
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    Smile

    I prefer to design first as with php, aspnet, coldfusion there is very limited restrictions if any at all that would keep the backend development having a problem with the design scheme. At times it is just a simple redesign of a specific area to adhere to the changes. Just a preference is all though as there are more than one way to skin a cat they say.

  20. #20
    SitePoint Guru rageh's Avatar
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    people begin with what they like most. If you are design-oriented, you begin with design and if you are a coder, you will begin with coding. Personally I start coding right away. I can't help. But it is usually a short-cut version of what neron-fx eloquently explained, putting the designing part on the back burner.
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  21. #21
    I hate Spammers mobyme's Avatar
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    We tend to wireframe it first and then get the backend working flawlessly before moving on to serious design. I think we do it this way purely out of habit as it's quite hard to think of any significant benefits by doing it this way.
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  22. #22
    SitePoint Zealot Nick Burd's Avatar
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    Personally here is my method.

    1. Draw and design the sites appearance.
    2. make a site map along with a database map...
    3. start developing the basics of the site
    4. start developing the "dynamics" of the site and integrate them as you would for a database driven website.

    for the planning stage for the db I like to use mysql workbench.. pretty much plans it all out for you or allows you to do so.

    here is the link http://dev.mysql.com/workbench/

    Sound like a good plan?

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  23. #23
    SitePoint Enthusiast kceleb9's Avatar
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    Well... to be perfectly honest - you really have to do both at the same time. Design -- especially of the UI is critical - to get a strong feel for what you want.

    You see people posting all the time asking about one back end software or another - and everyone tells them - well what do you want on your site - let that drive you. The newbie is often left bewildered.

    Design is what gets you to your fundamental requirements - but it can also only take you so far - you have to start wrestling pretty early on with the "back-end" especially if you are going to use anyone elses code - be it commercial or open source - as you will run into limitations - and you will have to decide how much of the "perfect design" you are going to have the time, and resources to go for.

    Remember - dont try to do it all in one release - it is always good for active users to see you improve your site later - so putting something off - does not mean you will never do it.
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  24. #24
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    Getting links is the essential part to any site, Sometimes the most ugly sites make an awful lot of money. The desire to vitalize a principle function of any site you create will determine its profitability in terms of cash-- and therefore convenience.

    Diferent people tend towards design and differnt people tend towards development. Extemes of both and neglect of either can put your site at risk in terms of overasll sucess (meaning, making money off it/ or getting hits).

    Thus, a balance is required.

  25. #25
    SitePoint Member antaramedia-com's Avatar
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    The general rule is Design first, then develop. But if you're using iteration design, you can design & develop at the same time.
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