Designing & Maintaining Large Website Projects
Website projects vary from simple one pagers with no interactivity to full on dynamic content spanning thousands of pages with millions of members, sales, data etc.
I have the philosophy of always building with the larger scale in mind as you never know when a project may take on a whole new scope, and its better to be prepared than left pulling your hair out. So how to we build for scalability and maintainability?
Below we have some of the best things to remember when creating websites with scalability in mind.
Create maintainable code
Creating simple CSS classes for things such as buttons, links, sidebars, headers etc. that can be used throughout your sites will save you a mountain of time in the long run. Instead of creating images for every buttons for example, using a simple button CSS class that can be built upon where needed saves a lot of pain in future when developers need to add new buttons.
In addition thinking about your menus, if your menu fits perfectly on the screen as it is, what will you do if suddenly your company wants to add 3 new items to the end of this. Either leaving a lot of space for growing into or using a vertical menu may serve you better here.
Think to the future and be organised
In the future you may need to suddenly add a new arm or section to your business, which means you need to be very organised. Before you do anything think about your folder and naming structures.
Try to keep seperate folders for each of your seperate site parts, a folder for scripts, another for stylesheets, another for images etc. this can go as deep as you like with subfolders or seperate areas for admin and front end files but make sure you have a good structure that will be easily readable in 6 months time when you come back to it.
Naming files with useful names is one of the most useful things you can do, imagine coming back after 6 months and seeing an image folder with 1000 images in simply called ‘0001.png’, ‘0002.png’, ‘0003.png’. Maybe using prefixes will really help for example putting ‘footer_’ before every footer image or ‘menu_’ before every menu image. This helps you find them when listed alphabetically. In addition give descriptive names to your files after your prefixes.
Another great tip is to get your browser compatibility working early on and constantly checking as you add new functionality and styles etc. Waiting until you’ve finished a project can make it almost impossible to go back through everything and apply patch after patch to get it to work in IE6/7.
With these few tips you will make your life much more bareable in future when creating web projects.
If you want help tidying up and getting your websites future proof then why not get in contact with us here at Network Intellect.