An End-User Development Perspective on State-of-the-Art Web Development Tools

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Department of Computer Science, Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University


We reviewed and analyzed nine commercially available web development tools from the perspective of suitability for end-user development to compare and contrast alternative and best-of-breed approaches for particular problem areas within web application development (Getting Started, Workflow, Level of Abstraction, Layout, Database, Application Logic, Testing and Debugging, Learning and Scaling, Security, Collaboration, and Deployment). End-user development involves the creation of dynamic websites with support for features like authentication, conditional display, and searching/sorting by casual web developers who have some experience creating static websites but little or no programming knowledge. We found that current tools do not lack functionality, but rather have a variety of problems in ease of use for end users who are nonprogrammers. In particular, while many tools offer wizards and other features designed to facilitate specific aspects of end-user development, none of the tools that we reviewed supports a holistic approach to web application development. We discuss the implications of these problems and conclude with recommendations for the design of improved web development tools that would lower the entry barrier into web programming.



Human-computer interaction, Multimedia & hypertext, Software engineering