The Design of Software (CLOSED)

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Examples of well-designed webapps?

My dev experience has been primarily with back-end Java and desktop Swing apps.  I've been asked to web-ify a Swing app I wrote and am trying to come up with good page designs.

The original app is MDI.  Most screens have a conventional master/detail flow, with the detail screens then spawning modal windows when drilling down into properties.  I think the flows would need to be redone to work well on the web but I don't have a clear idea as to how, since I'm so used to working with Swing.

Anyway, can anyone recommend publicly available examples of moderately complex web applications that use standard web technology (i.e. no flash, etc.)?  Any other tips?

Tuesday, December 06, 2005
There are a number of books out there that describe BAD web interfaces, and I think they're more useful than examples of good webapps.

"Web Pages that Suck: Learn Good Design by Looking at Bad Design" by Vincent Flanders and Michael Willis was the textbook when I was in school (about the time the web first started to take off).  But again, this book focuses on the interface, and variations of it basically say "here is website X.  We hate it because it forces the user to do Y which is stupid and counterproductive; the user should be able to do Z instead."  In other words, it lets you learn from others' mistakes.

As for the back end part of it, I can't really recommend one because the language and frameworks all emphasize one thing or another at the expense of everything else.  Err... there are some decent Java Model-View-Controller books, but I haven't really seen a good language independent MVC book (or any of the other basic web programming approaches).
Anonymous Coward
Tuesday, December 06, 2005
Is there any real reason the swing app cannot be turned into an JApplet and used via the web?
Tuesday, December 06, 2005
There aren't any! :-)

But seriously:
I find anything Google does is very well-designed. There's nice minimal layout, clever workflow design, and complex features presented in a simple way. For instance, try using Google AdWords or AdSense to see this.

Jira bug-tracking software is easy to download and install (as an evaluation version) and I find it to be pretty well-designed.

Flickr, and the online free mail services like Yahoo and Hotmail, and have all spent years refining and streamlining and often the best thing you can do is adopt their approach to a specific screen if you have something similar, on the logic that they have smart people who spent a lot of time getting it right.
Imminent Send private email
Wednesday, December 07, 2005
Don't worry about what it looks like - just componentise, componentise, componentise... then, when you've written the basic application, give it to a web designer to play with for a week, and have them make it look good.

I have transfered a complex VB app (losts of grids and master-details) to the web (ASP.NET) in this way, and it was very successful! (But, your boss has to understand the stratergy, and accept that it will look TERRIBLE until that last week of development!)
Syd Egan Send private email
Wednesday, December 07, 2005
microsoft exchange webmail is the best one I know of.

It even has AJAX and the back button works.
Wednesday, December 07, 2005
Actually I dont know it is strictly a web app.
Wednesday, December 07, 2005
Have you tried it using Firefox?
John Topley Send private email
Wednesday, December 07, 2005
I agree, exchange works great ... in IE.

Its a mess in FireFox.

Argh :(
Thursday, December 08, 2005
Flickr is nice for the basic upload and view images part, but everything else is confusing.
Zach M.
Tuesday, December 13, 2005
Outlook Web Access has always looked good in firefox for me, but I haven't worked at a company that has used it for a while.

Are you using an older version of it or have they made the newer versions not work in firefox?

At one company I worked for, the exchange webmail even looked better in firefox than in IE.
Zach M.
Tuesday, December 13, 2005

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