The internet has come a long way from being a collection of websites offering static, rarely changing information. Today, Web 2.0 tools and applications are used everywhere, allowing a high level of interaction for users with information transmitted over the internet.
Web 2.0 services such as blogs, tweets, RSS feeds, podcasts and live chat are all commonly seen on any manner of websites and are considered as essential for creating the rich, interactive experience that computer users today demand.
The use of mobile devices by both consumers and in business has expanded dramatically and smartphones have come into common use that significantly advance the capabilities of users to access online tools.
They are routinely used in today’s world for users to access internet services. Mobile services are increasingly being integrated into websites and this will be a key feature of website design in the future.
The increasingly feature-rich design of websites will present a challenge for any web design agency, but for a micro agency with fewer than ten members of staff, accessing all the tools needed can be a costly affair.
Plus, Web 2.0 tools and applications have even greater security implications than previous-generation applications. Apart from social engineering exploits, designed to trick a user into giving away too much information that can be used against them, or into downloading malicious software that could compromise their machine, Web 2.0 applications can be easier to hack into than their desktop bound cousins.
Among the reasons for this is that some of the newer programming languages used to write Web 2.0 applications allow more of the business logic to be exposed to users - and hence to hackers as well - such as access controls and session management logic.
This can allow attackers to manipulate the program in order to gain access to the information being transported. Many micro web design agencies will lack the in-house resources or expertise to deal with these problems and they are unlikely to have the budget to outsource them.
According to one source, Flyte, which offers web marketing services for small businesses, the future of website development revolves around the platform used for the development work.
A good platform needs to bring together all the tools needed for website development in an integrated manner, including the security controls required for protection against threats.
This is where a programme such as WebsiteSpark from Microsoft will be of help to micro web design and development agencies in building next-generation websites.
The framework that is included in the programme is ASP.NET v3.5, which provides features such as model-view-controllers to make testing of applications easier and AJAX scripts for creating interactive web applications.
It also has security controls built into the framework, which are also extended to media services provided in Windows Server 2008. As a further option, developers who are more comfortable with PHP scripting can download the software for Windows free of charge, including a SQL driver, providing more options for building, testing and securing dynamic websites.
Whatever new tools and applications will be developed in the website design and development space, the wide range of tools provided in the WebsiteSpark programme, along with the community of developers, web professionals and partners that it provides access to, will aid micro design companies in maintaining competitiveness with their larger counterparts.