Building a site – Part 1

I built a small web application and I’m going to write about the design and thinking that went in to building it. This will be spread over several posts. If you want to skip all the reading the finished site is – http://waidmonitor.com.

1. Building a Site – Idea to Implementation

It all began with me asking myself ‘What am I doing?’ after a long day of work. The day had flown by and I had not completed anything I wanted to complete when the day began. I couldn’t understand where the last 8 hours had gone. I joked I should write an application that records what I do.

For some time I’ve become increasingly interested in Cloud computing and I’ve been looking for a small project that I could experiment with some cloud technologies. This seemed like a perfect fit – I would record my daily usage to the cloud, along with thousands of other users, perform never-before-attempted data mining, output reports and it would be a hit!

It started with me creating some mockups of the graphs I wanted to see. I knew I wanted something visual. I don’t want to be scanning through some spreadsheet of information. UI is definitely not my area of expertise – Steve Krugs “Don’t’ make me think” is the extent of my UI design skills. My initial sketches sure left a lot of unanswered questions, but it was a start.

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Next I picked the core technologies.

  • ASP.NET MVC. This is what the charts would be displayed on. It’s an all round awesome framework and one I’ll use for just about any web project.
  • high charts (google’s top result for “javascript charts”)
  • WPF. This sounded more exciting than Web Forms. I’m picking the technologies so I’m going to pick fun ones.
  • Azure SQL Server. Sweet. SQL Server massively scalable (or so I thought)!

Obviously lots to do, but I now have the requirements, the tools I just need to build it!

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