The development of a dynamic website for Colaj.co.uk

Abstract

The Internet and the World Wide Web are attracting more and more businesses to have a presence in this incredibly dynamic environment. Colaj is a relatively new company specialised in PR and Marketing that wanted to start a new business idea in the form of a modern website that will act as a virtual collection for artists who create customised items, gifts, art and one-off products and allow them to have a platform to sell.

The main aim of the project was to investigate the latest issues and practices surrounding website development, to identify appropriate methods, tools and techniques to utilise in successful dynamic websites, with a focus on web-based frameworks as a platform that might favour a more agile web development.

The research found that Content Management Systems offer a solid development platform for building a website that meets modern trends in web technologies and also meets the client requirements. A comparison between the top three most popular Content Management Systems, Drupal, Joomla! and WordPress, outlined against the client requirements found WordPress to be the solution most suitable in this case.

The product delivered is a working prototype of a dynamic website ready to be used online, that makes use of WordPress CMS to build a system that allows the matching of registered users searching to either promote their products or to acquire innovative products.

The implementation of the system is presented, as well as the advantages offered by the chosen solution regarding the development process, website maintenance and administration using an advanced Admin interface, and testing. The website is tested using author self- testing techniques and the client testing of all functions to find out how they match the initial requirements.

A critical evaluation of the whole project is also present. The chosen solution proved to be a success, meeting the project objectives and the client requirements.

Finally, the author presents the conclusions following the completion of the research and practical work and makes some recommendations for future developments of the Colaj website.

Chapter 1: Introduction of the Project

1.1 The Colaj Company

Colaj.co.uk is a UK based company specialising in Public Relations and Media, Marketing, Photography and Video promotion and Web design based in Newcastle Upon Tyne.

At the moment, their presence on the World Wide Web is limited to a very basic static website and a Facebook page.

1.2 Colaj.co.uk website

The company is looking to invest money in a new business idea which will take the form of a modern website.

The website will act as a virtual collection of artists who create customised, handmade gifts.

The website will not only have to host a large number of participants but also support a variety of multimedia tools, connect to various social media platforms and be adapted for E-commerce usage.

The website should incorporate the following:

1. A dynamic website with a complex database interface to allow users to register on the site as an artist or as a potential client\customer.

2. Functionality to allow potential members to upload their information, photographs and links. This information will not be published directly on the website, as it will have to be checked and cleared by the manager (site administrator). For this the company also requires that a complex database is instated.

3. A search tool using key words to quickly identify relevant services, products, artefacts.

4. Ability to link to a payment system.

5. Pages to describe the Company and introduce the site concept, About Us, Contact Us.

6. Ability to connect to various social media platforms and use various tracking and
analytical tools.

7. Basic search engine optimisation.

8. Dealing with all aspects related to web hosting and website set-up.

Making use of as many free (Open Source) technologies as possible Colaj also intends to be able to do the following without the need for a specialised Web Administrator:

1. Easily update the content of the website using a simple interface.

2. Search for and remove inappropriate images, or other type of content

3. Moderate and manage the users’ comments from the guest book section

4. Maintain and update the website functionality without having to deal with low-level
coding.

The company already has a hosting company that will host the website. This imposes some restrictions in terms of the tools and languages used to develop the website, but the hosting company is keeping up with most modern technologies and it is hoped there will be enough scope for choosing the most appropriate technique without compromises.

1.3 Aim of the project

The Company proposed a project that would investigate modern web development techniques that can be used to build a dynamic website that can be easily maintained and updated.

1. Modern web development using web-based frameworks will be introduced and there will be a detailed discussion and critical analysis of a few major web-based frameworks, and particularly the use of Content Management Systems. Modern web development requirements, like responsive web design and dynamic pages, will be investigated in the context of the traditional approach where the system is created from ground up versus the implementation of a Content Management System that will allow a more agile development with a much better chance for easy maintenance and client understanding of the system.

2. The research aimed to identify the best web based frameworks and determine their relevance for the creation of a modern dynamic website that uses PHP to interface with a MySQL database.

3. Based on the research findings, a functional prototype will be implemented, using the techniques, technologies and tools identified.

4. The prototype will be tested and the test results along with the feedback from the client will create the bases for corrections and modifications before the final client evaluation.

5. A dissertation paper will be produced based on the project.

6. An evaluation of the entire project will also be produced.

1.4 Research methodology

For this project to be successfully completed and to answer my client’s requirement, a deep research will be carried out on modern web development technologies and tendencies. The research will include academic journals (IEEExplore, ACM.com, ScienceDirect and Information Technology and Libraries – ITAL), books, technical documentations and discussions with program lecturers.