Bespoke Web Applications
What is a Web application? It�s a business system or application delivered over the Web. It might be an internal expenses application used only within a company (intranet); a reseller purchasing application used with partners (extranet) or an online system available to members of the public like an eBay or a holiday cottage search site.

Deciding whether a website might better be called an application can be tricky but in general if the site presents forms and stores data in a database it�s a Web app.

IT Port has been actively involved with the development of bespoke Web-based applications for over six years. Over this period, the Internet has seen vast expansion � and the tools and technologies available for web development have evolved beyond recognition

IT Port has all the skills required to deliver your online system

  • We have strong expertise with Microsoft IIS and ASP.NET the leading Microsoft Platform for web-site delivery.
  • We are experts in MS SQL Server, used at the server side to manage the database.
  • We also have strong expertise in JavaScript and AJAX technologies necessary to deliver the interactivity required by web-site users.
Creating a bespoke Web application or online system is a significant software development project, which requires careful management. You can read here about how we work with you to understand your needs and make sure we deliver the system you want.

If you�d like to understand more about the technologies we use to implement leading-edge online systems and web-applications, please continue reading.

Hosting and Development Platforms
IT Port primarily uses Microsoft tools for Web-application development � which means we use Microsoft Server 2003, which includes Microsoft IIS / ASP.NET as the web-server. We generally use Microsoft SQL Server as the back-end database.

We use Microsoft tools primarily because we believe they allow us to be more productive. We can write the system code using C#, which is a very modern and powerful language.

The major alternative to Microsoft technologies is Linux. You may hear the acronym �LAMP� mentioned � this stands for �Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP�, and refers to a collection of technologies commonly used together on Linux-hosted web-applications. We appreciate that the Linux platform has some strong benefits � notably that components are mostly free � and we see good sites being developed using LAMP. But most of our customers still use MS products, and we�re happy with this choice..

In truth, the vast majority of developers have strong expertise on only one platform � so very, very few people are really in a position to say �this platform is better�. And the right platform may well depend on exactly what sort of application is being developed.

A new factor in this debate is Microsoft�s new SilverLight technology. We believe this will make the development of some types of web-application much, much faster. Please see below, or read our introduction to SilverLight.

Web Technology Overview
In the beginning, the web used HTML. HTML was originally a very simple way for people to write pages which included text, graphics � and links to other pages. The extreme simplicity of HTML powered it�s very quick adoption, and launched the Web.

HTML has since been massively extended, which has led to huge problems with browser compatibility which continue to cause Web-developers headaches on a day-to-day basis. The core problem is that HTML simply wasn�t designed for the purpose it is being used for � which means it doesn�t work that well.

In recent years, there has been a major push to find ways to develop �rich Internet applications� � i.e. websites which are significantly more interactive than plain-HTML sites, and provide users with more interesting and convenient ways to obtain information.

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