Application Design

July 18, 2004 at 10:27 am Leave a comment

When writing an application from scratch, the very first thing you need is a plan. You need detailed design specifications. After all, it’s hard to write a piece of software if you don’t know everything that you want it to do.

My first step in this process is to closely examine the existing market. Start with the Open Source projects out there, but you also need to look at commercial applications. These are usually more polished and have more features that professionals want, not just the geeky features we tech-types want. For some of these commercial systems you might only be able to get screenshots. And that’s fine, as all we are doing is design work at this stage anyhow. Once you’ve worked your way through a few open-source projects, you can probably figure out how a commercial package works simply by looking at screen shots.

Oh, and do not give up on a feature at this stage just because you can’t see how to implement it. Put it down anyhow, and research how it’s done once you are further along in the design process.

Once you’ve gotten your general spec list down, think about it.. Give it a few days and think a bit on it each day. Your spec list shouldn’t be something that you write down in 30 minutes and then start programming. It should be a well thought-out document, and it should be as specific as possible.

The reason that you should get this as set-in-stone as possible before moving forward is simple. It is much easier to code a project as a whole, with all pieces accounted for from the begining than it is to come back later and try to add pieces in. It is inevitable that you will want to do that, but the fewer “add-ins” you have of this nature, the better.


Entry filed under: Programming General.

HTML for the World Wide Web, 5th Edition Sample Spec sheet

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