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Things are developing in web development

In the latest instalment in his SMB voyage of discovery column, Jason Slater turns his attention to web development.

This week I have been looking at some interesting applications for delivering and monitoring web-based and mobile applications.

If you run, or are planning to run, a web-based application you may know of the various challenges and pitfalls that await. The web and mobile development landscape is a new frontier for developers, full of unknowns, with things that are difficult to predict such as unplanned surges of traffic, and unexpected usage behaviours, which can lead to scaling issues.

Fortunately, it looks like many of the problem areas are finally being addressed with a number of pioneers leading the way with tools and utilities that can help.

First up is AppFirst, a SaaS based application monitoring tool, which can look deep into your web application to monitor behaviour to give a better understanding of where potential performance issues may be lurking. One of the benefits that AppFirst seems to have is that many of the analysis features operate in real-time (or very close to it) which gives a much wider window of opportunity for dealing with issues.

One of the major challenges developers face, of course, is ensuring their application reaches the widest possible audience. It is becoming rarer for IT departments to mandate particular vendors of equipment so the workforce may be utilising an array of different devices in their everyday work. With a broad range of desktop computers, laptops, netbooks, tablets and mobile devices in everyday use an application may need to be cross developed to support a number of operating platforms. This can be a big headache as costs can spiral.

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