Enhanced Application Modeling Techniques for Web Applications

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2003

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Madison University

Abstract

The concept of Application modeling is a basic and essential component to the design and development of any computer-based application. Application modeling ensures that an application is developed to meet standards that have been set for level of Performance, Maintainability, Scalability, Reliability and Security. Application modeling is not restricted to only large-scale enterprise applications. Its scope covers a range of all applications from single user simple spreadsheet applications to Large Scale Web Applications that are accessed by millions of users at the same time all over the World by using the World Wide Web.Application modeling is mostly a subject that is totally ignored or not used to an extent that its benefits are realized and hence it is often overlooked after the first few weeks or totally confined to a very small subset of the whole application. This can have very drastic effects to the overall design and effectiveness of the application once it is put into production.Different types of Applications have been developed over the passage of time starting off with the large-scale applications, which ran on large Main Frame computers to applications designed to run on dumb terminals systems. Later, a new trend was born with the arrival of the Personal Computer and a new era was seen in computing.The Desktop Enterprise application has been a very common type of application, which covers the aspect of thick clients installed on various user terminals all communicating with a central database via some fast connection Link. These applications have been in use for many years now. However, the latest trend, which has been seen is the development of Web Applications. These are applications that are not restricted to a certain geographical area but are available to the whole world if needed. Of course, these applications can be restricted in access if required and only be run and used within an organization on an Intranet or be restricted to a certain number of organizations running on an extranet. But, whatever the case the scope and range of web applications is certainly much more than any other typical applications, which have been developed in the past.As we have seen above, Web Applications are the most common applications in development these days and even after the fall of the “dot com” era their utility and demand keeps on growing. Due to these factors my dissertation will concentrate on this type of application.As we have already discussed, Application modeling is crucial to the design and development of any application. But when we come to Web Applications, especially ones that will be running on the World Wide Web, it becomes even more crucial because the range of users can grow from a few hundred to millions in a very small space of time. Hence, modeling the application to meet the required needs of Performance, Reliability, Scalability, Maintainability and Security become even more crucial. Another factor, which is as much important as the above five mentioned factors, is the Usability or User experience. The first five factors mentioned above will not be of much use if the user of a particular application cannot easily find the information he or she is looking for or cannot easily complete the task he or she wants to perform. Hence, modeling an application from the point of view of these six factors, is very crucial to the success of any application, especially web based applications. Throughout my dissertation I will be looking at the various factors of Application modeling with reference to Web Applications, mainly the web applications designed for world wide web users as these exhibit the most crucial requirements of an efficient modeling solution. Why I call this dissertation “Enhanced Application modeling techniques for Web Applications” is because I will move ahead of the standard and conventional modeling technique used today where only certain subsets of an application, mainly the middle and data tier, are clearly modeled. I will try to engulf the whole application with special emphasis on the presentation tier and model it to meet the requirements, which are defined as the ultimate goal to be achieved by the end product. I will also highlight the benefits that are achieved by modeling each of the three tiers of the web application as compared to the traditional method of modeling only two tiers of the same application.

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