Code Generators for Rapid Web Development

As a web developer, one thing that helps me to rapidly develop web applications is to use a common application framework that is flexible and robust. Additionally, I like to use code generators to build code for custom applications I build for my client. My most powerful code generators, create code for interacting with the local database dedicated to my website.

Normally, it is bad practice to repeat code when doing development. However, there are certain instances when this can be beneficial and assist in creating dynamic web applications. Here, we will discuss some of the many applications that I have found useful and how you can apply them to your own business.

Object-Oriented Classes

One way I enforce code reuse is by using object-oriented design. For my data access layer I create an abstract class which contains the common functionality. Next, I create derived classes which implement the specific methods which are needed for the entity model (usually a database table).

These derived classes have different fields which represent the fields defined for the table. They also contain mappings for the primary keys, any related fields that are retrieved from related tables, and custom methods for querying the database. The idea is that all of the database calls are encapsulated in the data access layer classes.

These derived classes have enough similarities between one another that it made sense for us to build a code generator to create these files from the database schema.

How to Generate Code in Your Intranet

On our intranet, we have the code generated connected directly to our database management scripts. When an administrator is viewing a table schema, they have a button on the bottom of the screen to generate the code for our data access layer. When the user presses this button, the code is immediately generated and the user can click anywhere on the code to select the code block and copy it to the clipboard.

The process of generating code is surprisingly simple. We simply retrieve the schema from the database and from that we define all the macros that are needed to substitute into a code template. These macros include things such as the script name, database table name, primary key fields, public fields, private fields, and a generated class name.

The code is output to the screen as pre-formatted text. Below this is a web form where the user may tweak any of the macro values that were generated. After making changes to these values, they can click a submit button which regenerates the code using the custom macro values. Of course this step is optional. The user may simply choose to copy all of the program code and paste it in their code editor and continue making changes that way.

Table Administration

In my website administration panel, I have a lot of pages that are built for managing database tables. I have a very capable library which handles all of the heavy lifting for paging through a table of records, creating a new record, editing and deleting a record. This is an object-oriented class that takes a variable number of parameters.

To create a new administration area, I just need to instantiate this class, define all of the required properties, and then call a method called “Process”. The resulting file is usually no longer than 25 lines of code. Creating these files doesn’t take very long when done by hand. However, I knew that creating a code generator for these server-side scripts would save us a lot of time.

Again, the key to accomplishing this goal was to first read the database schema for a table to get all of the field definitions. From these definitions, it would be a simple matter to create the code from an existing script template. I just define macros for all of the properties I need to substitute in the template. As the table schema is read, I build these properties which are later substituted in to the template.

Special Considerations

When generating code, it is important to keep in mind how the script is going to be used. In my data access layer scripts, I know that they are usually two directories beneath the website root. Because of this, I know that any relative links need to go up two levels to get to the site root.

Another important area to consider is form validation. There are certain constraints you can place on a web form to limit the amount of characters a user enters into a text field. You can even make Boolean fields display as radio buttons labeled “Yes” and “No”. Date fields can display using a specialized date picker.

Other special data fields can be displayed based on the field name. For example, fields containing the word “Password” can be displayed as password fields. I use fields with the name “created” and “modified” to track when a record has been changed. Fields that have the text “email” could be validated to make sure they contain a valid email address. Also, fields that have the text “postalcode” could be tested for valid postal codes.

I try to build my code generator so it is as smart as can be. The thinking behind this is that the developer can easily remove extra code that was added if they find too much validation is being done or the wrong type is done. The more work you can save for the developer, the better off you will be in the long run.

Your Web Development Solution!

Website designing has made its mark in the world of internet business. There are countless websites to be found on the World Wide Web these days, which in turn has boosted the importance of web development even more. All successful business ventures want to run a successful website, and the ambitious businessman of today wants to improve his prospects through the internet. No wonder the field of web development has flourished so easily.

Building an attractive, eye-catching, and user-friendly website has greater appeal to users than a plain and boring one. It is in this area that a web designer plays the most crucial role. Only websites with great designs can manage to win the best users and subscribers, vital to any venture’s success. A good website ensures to bring clients straight to the business and push it to its maximum potential.

Complexity Of The Situation:

A web designer needs to have thorough knowledge and understanding of the complex process of designing a website, and should be able to transform the employer’s internet aspirations into reality. It is a better decision to hire a professional web designer to fulfill the purpose of making your business’s website rather than using a template provided by a domain provider.

Outsourcing your requirements to other countries is also not a good idea, as the language and cultural barriers might not get your message across to your potential users and might also not be targeting them properly either.

What Can Be Done?

The most feasible option is to find a web designing agency that enables you to voice your requirements clearly. They might ask you to name some of your favorite websites or your favorite color schemes in order to get an idea of what you really want. A good web designer would always be prepared to listen to what you want. Being clear about your requirements from the start would not only result in a swift execution, but it would also reduce chances of the hassle of redesigning and reworking on the web site. Who wouldn’t want to have their work done the first time around?

In order for this to happen there are a number of steps that work well and are appealing: You need to be very clear about your requirements and your website should be in tune with that of your business. The website should be user-friendly and easy to navigate

When choosing a designer, do a bit of research on their experience and view their portfolio.

Web Development Tips That Will Lead to Develop Successful Websites

When you use a website for business, it should be geared to attract visitors and coax them to take action instead of visiting and leaving. In order to do so, the website need to be developed in such a way that visitors should come to your site and spend some time there. The longer they stay the better is the likelihood of their making a purchase. Therefore, it is important for web development professionals to know what they need to incorporate in a site to get the best use out of it. The following are some of the aspects they should think of.

Friendly user interface

Your website has to be friendly to the visitors. The content should be legible and the color scheme should be attractive. At the same time, it should give the impression to the visitor that yours is a comprehensive website. The page should be uncluttered and simple in appearance.

Navigation

Easy navigation is an essential requirement for a website. The reason is that your main aim is to get the visitor to make a purchase. Therefore, let him go all over your online shop. Most visitors to shops when walk around will find something interesting to buy. The same way, when a visitor navigates through pages of the site, he might make a purchase also. As such, you need to have the links to different pages prominently displayed to make your visitors navigate your site easily.

Content

Most visitors to websites look for information. Therefore, good content is a must for any website. Content is the factor that decides how long a visitor will stay and how often he will revisit. In case you have good content your visitors will stay on the site and will read your content. Subsequently they might visit your product page also looking for information. There, they could make his purchases also. In case you update your content on regular basis, your visitors might revisit. This way you could improve your traffic with good content. Avoid long descriptions and provide facts in a concise way to attract them.

Tags

Tags are a good search engine optimization tool. It is necessary to have proper tags to get the attention of the search engine crawlers. Title tags and meta-tags are two important types of tags. You must have different key words in different pages in order to exploit the advantage of using tags.

Shorter loading times

It is the graphics and animations that affects the loading times of web pages most often. Therefore, you need to limit your graphics to a level that your website could open within 7seconds. If it takes longer you should bring the file size down in order to help your site to open in a shorter time. No web surfer will tolerate too long opening times.

The above are only a few of the lot of tips a web developer should concentrate on, in order to produce a website that could bring revenue to its owner. Only when you are able to develop successful websites, you could be happy about your web development skills.