Media Systems

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Design is the process of filling in the plan. Here we make our choice of technology, and how it fits together. We decide which web browsers we'll support (all of them, unless there's a very good reason) and what we'll assume about our user's computers. We get a good idea, at this step, what the sit eis going to look like and decide what applications the project will require, and if we'll buy them, adopt them as open-source, or write them from scratch.

If a project requires a database, the design of the database takes special care. It's difficult to change the design of the database once the site is established, so it's important to do it right the first time and design it to make the project grow and change over time. Database design can make a big difference in performance -- both right away, and in the ultimate performance should we try to speed up the site in the future by adding more hardware.

There are a lot of other details to think about -- what should we do consistently in the user-interface to make the site easy to use? It's worth thinking about the kind of URL's that the site uses: if a URL looks like "http://www.honeylocust.com/x.php?article_id=77" people would have a hard time remembering and copying it and some search engines might refuse to crawl it. A URL like "http://www.honeylocust.com/articles/77" makes a lot more sense. We've learned a lot from our own and other people's mistakes, and can help keep you from making them.