Podcast 26: Technical considerations

Paul Boag

In this weeks show Paul and Marcus are joined by Chris and Mark to discuss the more technical aspects of launching a new website.

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What are the technical considerations you need to take into account before building your new website? Understanding things like the technical constraints faced by your users or inherent in your hosting environment, helps to define the functionality of your site.

Techno buster: RSS

Every site you visit these days seems to have those little orange RSS buttons. But what is RSS, how does it work and why should you consider adding an RSS feed to your site? Listen to this week’s podcast to find out more or check out the following post on web feeds.

Main feature: Technical considerations

In this weeks show we look at three main areas for consideration when developing a new site:

  • The technical constraints faced by users
  • The hosting environment where your website will reside
  • The integration with other business systems

Technical constraints faced by users

Probably the biggest set of technical constraints imposed on us when developing a website comes from our target audience. Factors like; the browsers used, available plugins, screen resolution, JavaScript support and bandwidth, all affect how a site is designed and built. Understanding the technical environment your users work in will dramatically alter the way you approach a web project.

Hosting environment

If you have an existing hosting platform for your site that cannot be altered, this will significantly change how your site is built. Different hosting environments support different sever side languages and databases. Also things like bandwidth capacity and streaming media services can impact whether you are able to provide rich media on your site or not.

Business systems

Integrating your website into existing business systems can be problematic. Whether you are endeavouring to tie your site into stock control / accounting systems, or ensuring it is compatible with legacy databases, backend integration can be a time consuming (and expensive process). However, if it is not properly addressed, poor integration can lead to data inconsistencies and a lot of re-keying of data.

Web resources: Backup and recovery

In response to a listener’s question, the team discuss tactics and tools to handle backup and recovery of websites and data. In particular, two tools were mentioned:

CVS is a file recovery and version control systems that can be used to manage changes to your site. As well as preventing one developer overwriting another’s work, it also allows you to rollback your website to any previous incarnation. However, be warned, this does not handle database recovery.

Although this is not strictly a backup or recovery tool, it is still invaluable if you have a distributed network of developers working on a project. By using peer-to-peer technology, it can ensure that all development files associated with a website are backed up over multiple locations. It has some great project management facilities too.