Project Management

What is your biggest Web development pain point?

While the tools have quickly adapted to helping developers write code for the Web, they are nowhere near perfect. Take this quick poll to let us know your Web development pain point.

Web development as we know it today (in other words, not using CGI) has been around for about 10 years. While the tools have quickly adapted to helping developers write code for the Web, they are nowhere near perfect. Whether it is testing the code, dealing with cross-platform inconsistencies, or trying to relate server logs to the cause of errors, every Web developer has a pain point. Let me know yours by taking this quick poll.

J.Ja

About

Justin James is the Lead Architect for Conigent.

35 comments
PainPoint
PainPoint

The Biggest PAIN POINT I hear about is regarding the performance of multi-tiered web applications. They work well in your development lab (100 base T networks), as well they pass the typically limited load-testing... yet when these applications are fielded, the performance is POOR and guess what happens? ... The Network team is blamed! Endless finger-pointing battles ensue while the customer end user experience suffers. Connect w/ me if you have problems like this or other IT or application performance issues for Application Performance Management and (funded) especially projects related to Server Virtualization / Data-Center migrations, etc. Thanks, Andy Fields www.twitter.com/PainPoint * I solve IT PainPoints *

fedm235
fedm235

The hyperlink from the TechRepublic Web Developer email newsletter, 30 Dec 2008, title "Web Developer: Best of 2008," brings me to this survey/blog. Good to know that everyone gets things wrong once in awhile! Now if I can only find the "Best of 2008" article...

chaz15
chaz15

Internet Explorer 8 is by far the biggest culprit and pain point. Text in tables sometimes simply isn't displayed properly, worse, unable to debug problem. Resizing the table just makes matters worse. Set up in Dreamweaver CS3. Can only hope Adobe issue a patch for Dreamweaver. I know IE8 has a compatibility mode, but all who access the website with IE8 would need to set compatibility mode for my site. It also at first appearance in IE8 looks like sloppy design or coding, which it certainly is not!!!!

mikifinaz1
mikifinaz1

To many people rely on GUI programming tools and don't know how to actually code.

dshamim
dshamim

I have had some difficult experience debugging a distributed app on windows communication foundation, browser inconsistencies are next on my list, esp. with code generated by ASP.NET

Kevin Humbles
Kevin Humbles

For me there is no worse revelation about a project than to find out that after all the work is done it will be reviewed by "the commity". They of course approved the site's specifications before the project begins, but by the end of the project no one on the board remembers any of this and want something entirely different. Oh how I could go on and on about this type of job. I personally would rather debug javascript without any sort of debug tool than to be involved in such projects.

cegaspar
cegaspar

For me the biggest web development pain point is to develop a consistent and easy to use user interface. HTML, CSS, JS and the inumerous browser inconsistencies are not enough for those who wants to build a interface as mature as the user expects. (I think that their expectations are based on what they already use on other plataforms/systems).

Guitarzan8
Guitarzan8

Inadequate requirements. It's the foundation of dev. Users assume you know their jobs and needs without telling you, you assume you know the business process and discover that there's much more to this system than what was described to you. Close second would be developer's permissions by an over zealous network security nazi. Possibly that's his bosses fault for not seeing that relaxation here on the developers would generate more app dev.

dogknees
dogknees

Until the platform delivers at least the functionality we had in Window 10 years ago, with the same amount of work to develop an app, it will remain broken. Give us a mature platform that natively supports windows, toolbars, proper menus, context menus, dialog boxes, MDI interface,..... Not a text based platform that tries to pretend it's not.

Waldemar Axdorph
Waldemar Axdorph

Sorry, I got the message that the message wasn't posted. Ignore this please.

Waldemar Axdorph
Waldemar Axdorph

IE! Most things renders weird and the javascript engine sucks, specially the debugging tools, I mean, "Error on line x." That's it?!?! It's pathetic that so much doesn't work in IE. I will never run IE as my standard browser, only for debugging and even then I get claustrophobic! IE

Waldemar Axdorph
Waldemar Axdorph

Sorry, I got the message that the message wasn't posted. Ignore this please.

The 'G-Man.'
The 'G-Man.'

Carefully explaining a point to web developers only for them to come back with something different with the comment "this would work better". It is then down to me to tell them perhaps,but now it causes repercussions throughout X other related systems. Think outside the box for a change! This despite telling them exactly, to the note, what was required.

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

is there are so many intervention points from reworking a class surfaced through IIS to cacking about with an included javascript, any system not under rigid technical control, turns in to a series of cascading kludges with horrifying rapidity.

generaltso
generaltso

You know how this works. The customer complains the site is broken because it "does X" or "doesn't do Y". You explain you were given very specific requirements that do not include or prevent those items from occurring. The customer walks away thinking it is broken.

Slayer_
Slayer_

When most of our clients want the most out of their hardware, our solution is the best :).

Stan.Williams
Stan.Williams

We have a developer, college educated, current on technology and sharp enough to do the work. This guy is claiming we need a host of third party tools, code generators, etc. He needs a good mentor to pick him up, spank him and remind him only cost justified purchases that don't threaten longevity are acceptable. But there is no mentor, only an unqualified director that reuses this kids buzzwords as if they are the best idea in the world.

yoursolns
yoursolns

I agree... if browser inconsistencies are the biggest problem, there's a lot of people out there who need to spend a little time educating themselves on writing proper code. This should be the least of your troubles.

Stan.Williams
Stan.Williams

Network security Nazi? Inadequate requirements? Not getting an application that fits your design? I agree with all but there is another rat chewing through the fabric out there - SOX (Sarbanes-Oxley). The dungeon masters where I work have taken "separation of duties" to a new level. I've worked where sensitive information required no one had complete control. I can also understand a certain amount of security and separation to insure no one can hold you hostage, however, it can get beyond ridiculous. I am not in a software shop, don't write for the DOD or NASA and not involved in any of the bank fiascos surfacing as of late. So why is it, for a simple application, I have a Business Relation Mgr., Designer, Architect/DBA and QA? I did it all on my own before and actually made some deadlines. Now, when the environments are deeper broader and cary a longer learning curve I have at least four other people to wait on or work around. I'm getting aesthetic changes from QA! They shouldn't have a vote on aesthetics. My designer asks me to design a link that instantiates lotus notes when I could send the email directly from the application (and that's just a simple kind of cute one). The list goes on. Somebody is making things more complicated and for no good reason. I'm just picking on SOX because that's where it started for us.

don.gulledge
don.gulledge

Every time MS has to move into a new direction, the first thing they do is change the language into a lessor primative one like VB so they can control the market and basically monopolize the playing field. The Internet is no different in this strategy and they've played hardball all along to keep Java from becoming king until they develop their primative language like C# to control it all. I'm really tired of always going back to square one and throwing away completely workable mature languages. I'd like to see someone come along and kick MS's butt. I think I'd jump on their wagon in a second if they didn't operate just like MS. Innovation seems to only innovative if Bill Gates says so, just like their commercials. Their commercials make as much sense as their software these days. It would be great if someone took java and moved into a 3gl with all the tools and widgets one needs to build like at the very end of the DOS age. But one thing is for sure, MS isn't going to do anything that would allow the average guy to compete with anything they have on the market. That's why MS is a monopoly and should be broken up like AT & T because evolution will never occur until that happens.

fidlrjiffy
fidlrjiffy

Asking what is the biggest problem with web development is like asking someone what's the biggest problem with rubbing two sticks together for fire. The answer is there are a million better ways to make fire so why are you bothering with the sticks? Just to make one thing clear let's call it browser-based application development. When you want a content-based website accessible by anyone and the interactive and processing requirement are low then this archaic medium, being the lowest common denominator, is the right choice. Otherwise, it's just a holdover from the requirement that everything be "web-based" from back in the bad old days (yep, just about 10 short years ago). Yes, it is sometimes remarkable what a hardworking and obsessive developer can do with the most minimal and crude of tools. But really, what's the hardest thing about web development is like asking where it hurts most when you stick yourself with red-hot needles. Eyeballs for sure but it's really relative misery, right? I have great hopes for Silverlight, Flex, AIR, and such because they hold the potential to deliver real software on a ubiquitous platform. They have quite a ways to go; the learning curve for Silverlight and WPF is about as near to vertical as anything I've ever seen. Web development is like the dancing dog; it's not how well it dances, it's that it dances at all, and also bites.

magillj
magillj

IE is the pits. None of my other pain points compare to those caused by IE

radbasa
radbasa

IE is the biggest headache! We can get good output on Safari, Firefox, and Opera using STANDARD HTML, CSS, and Javascript. But IE is always there to ruin things. And it's bad enough that it's there, it's also inconsistent with itself. Then you get bad error messages that don't tell you anything at all.

Realvdude
Realvdude

they give you code that does the job in the most inefficient manner possible. The programmers I ended up managing, lacked basic understanding in such constructs as selects, loops and the OR function is javascript. Their mantra was if functionality existed somewhere else in the application, just cut and paste it. It made testing a nightmare, when the code they copied needed to be changed, they could never find everywhere they copied it to in the first three tries looking.

Lightsabre
Lightsabre

G-Man: I agree with this statement. It's a balance of managing customer expectations and the developer's creativity. A good spec can eliminate some of the gaps that developers can take advantage of. However, if you're like most shops, a spec only captures a moment in time and customers most always stretch scope anyway. Ugh! Applications always run better without users. But then we wouldn't have jobs...

webgov
webgov

It never ceases to amaze me how some customers, believe that they should not have to pay more for work outside of the scope of the project -- like a complete redesign after the site is completed according to the contract.

Justin James
Justin James

Another favorite of mine is customers not remembering their own requests. You know, after you go through their needs, do a mock up, get them to sign off on it, and then they ask, "why does it multiple that by 2? That really should be multiplied by 3!" and you want to strangle them because you asked them 10 times if they wanted it multipled by 2... J.Ja

herlizness
herlizness

> it's an old story and it's all about jobs; I once got assigned an "architect" for a project and he sent me a long revision to my hardware requirements ... like about $250,000 worth .. so I called him and asked where he got it. Without any pause (or embarrassment) he said, "the Compaq salesman drew it up" oh well ... cumulatively, all of this stuff is why I want OUT of the business, period.

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

All I see now, is an attempt to get back to the richness of ActiveX, without it's alarming number of security deficits. Technically, given that we can work round the statelessness of Http we could have what we want. The big players don't want it though. They want to leverage their product through the chimera of rich web applications. Unfortunately for them, that means running alien code client side or massive pre installed client libraries or hugely inefficient, fragile and chatty sever side. It's about time they gave up and started looking at the problem from weakness number 1, http does not meet the need.

Mad-H
Mad-H

Yup, my first thought when I read the qustion was "internet explorer". I developed a complex AJAX system, it all worked fine in firefox (which I used, but most of the company ued IE) but when I poked IE at it loads of things didn't work properly. Plus the fact that if you are doing a lot of dynamic work you need to allow for IE memory leaks when you code the pages (the book I used actually specified this, which made me sigh even more). The other classic thing was I found an IE bug and so wrote to MS listing the bug, how to recreate it reliably and a work-around I had found which I thought might help their progammers to find the bug and the reponse I got was "thank you for contacting us, a local support technician will contact you to help you with your problem". So I wrote back to them saying I didn't need help and I was giving them help and I got a similar response, so I gave up at that point - some people can't be helped.

The 'G-Man.'
The 'G-Man.'

IT Pros only had, from MS, to name a few Windows... Windows 3.x Windows 95 Windows 98 Windows NT Windows ME Windows 2000 Windows XP Windows Vista & all the Service Packs...

marcgervais
marcgervais

As both of your comments are definate pain points, they are not, however, specific to web development. From someone who used to do a lot more web development than he does now, my biggest pain point was debugging all of the JavaScript being used. I hope there are better tools for that now...as I've just been handed a new web project spec.

dolthead
dolthead

A few of my colleagues run on NetBeans/tomcat so they can step through their code. But I cannot STAND the SLOW UI response times in NetBeans (and other Java-based tools). I would LOVE to step through my Java/JSP code in a native windows editor/JVM/debugger. (BTW, we deploy to apache/tomcat, so don't send me suggestions for dev tools CHAINED to proprietary server-side solutions. And I have a screamin dev machine, so don't tell me to upgrade my box, either.)

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