Mark Ramrattan, Jai Ramrattan, Nandish V Patel and Nabila Hussain
Web Information System Development Methodologies for today’s critical factors; Internet Speed and Web-based Aesthetics are in need of emergent analytical development tools. This paper proposes insights from an action research investigation into how the adaptation of methodologies from the Information Systems domain is insufficient in terms of meeting today’s Web Information System demands of continuously changing structures, processes and resources.
Information Systems Development Methodologies
The focus of this research paper uses the notion of an Information Systems Development Methodology or ISDM as a tool-kit of ideas, approaches, techniques and tools which web developers use to help them to translate actual organisational needs into appropriate Information Systems.
An ISDM is a: “recommended collection of philosophies, phases, procedures, rules, techniques, tools, documentation, management and training for developers of Information Systems”. (Avison and Fitzgerald, 2003a)
Revolution of Web
When the revolution of Web technology started, small businesses and individuals could also afford to create their own computer applications, including a Website. Google.com, Yahoo.com, Amazon.com are very good examples. They started as unknown companies to become some of the most renowned companies in the world. In fact, they had taken advantage of the Internet and Web technology to drive their business so that the Web now has become a strategic part of the business.
Therefore, Website and Web-based Information Systems development are placed at the forefront of new business systems development. Many companies have tried to have at least a Website and need it within a small number of weeks (time constrained environment). Although there are many Web development methodologies available to practitioners, they are not well-known, or are known but many avoid using them.
Undeniably, there are contrary and supporting statements on both sides of the argument on the benefits of adopting a methodology for web-based development. While it is beyond the scope of this research to study every available methodology, this research paper will focus on Web-based Information Systems Development Methodologies to establish greater understanding which are relevant to the problem.
Web-based Development Specifically Different
Firstly, the original purpose of Web-based development is to build an alternative type of medium that extends a channel of communication to online publishing purpose for internal and external stakeholders. In addition, the purpose of the Information Systems development is to facilitate business transactions and operation of an organisation.
Secondly, the development life cycle of a general Information System is a long term cycle, while a short term life-cycle of web-based development is quite common for many web-based projects.
Thirdly, the web is content intensive, and composed of unstructured information use; while structured information and its flow are the major focus of traditional Information Systems.
Finally, web-based development is a rich graphical approach, although it may be optional to most Information Systems development projects. Consequently, the methodology to development, needs to be discussed separately from the traditional Information System development.
In most cases, Web developers start to create a document on the ‘editor software’ without hesitation in order to make a design and analysis; this ‘ad-hoc’ approach can be problematic (Linden and Cybulski 2004). Similar to word processing applications, modern HTML editors allow Web developers to easily create, edit, update and publish the documents directly to their online sites. As a result, Web developers, who may have little or none technical background in system development, will nevertheless, be able to have an advantage and seamlessly create their own sites without hiring programmers.
Although some contents may appear functional, they may display the contents inefficiently within acceptable response timing. Misunderstanding of the method of usage may lead to suffering as this technique may not always be appropriate. Since the increased demand for Web-based content, there have been some very important issues that have arisen regarding Web-based development. Additionally, increasing volume of image usage and the demand for large scale documents are today’s primary concerns for most Web developers. Adoption of some kind of techniques (i.e. analytical tool) may help Web developers reduce these kinds of problems.
Although Powell (2000) mentions the needs for Web development methodology and also the adoption of Information System development methodology such as the Waterfall Model, Modified Waterfall and Joint Application Development (JAD) to Web-based Information System Development. There is no clear explanation of a procedure and method for doing so. However, there is recommendation of the site-building methodology for Web design and development guidelines for web developers.
Web-based Information Systems Development methodology has derived a concept from hypermedia development methodology. Usually, hypermedia is a combination of rich texts, graphics, audio, video, and so forth by using the concept of a hyperlink in order to provide a cross reference and navigation to other pages or sections of the application. Any hypermedia design and development methodology should be able to adopt the development of a Web-based Information Systems (Coda et al 1998).
Many methodologies exist for ISD since the 1970s and new ones are being produced. Both practitioners and researchers continue to create and recommend new methodologies to facilitate the development of the Information Systems application using new technology with a current shift to support the emerging areas of Web technologies and applications.
Prior to the revolution of Web technology, there were already existing Information Systems development methodologies available to practioners for web-based development projects. The major players during that period were often large enterprises, which were willing to pay huge sums of money for Information Systems development. The reason is quite simple, this was in order for them to gain a competitive advantage. To achieve this goal, methodologies had been adopted for the efficient development of Information Systems. The competitive advantage has changed with the introduction of the web-based platform, though today’s problem of Internet Speed and Web based aesthetics makes it more problematic.