Building A Web Application – Securing Web Presence

As mentioned previously, my wife is starting up a non-profit and will need a website. As a supportive husband, I have volunteered to develop a web presence for the non-profit. This will be taking up most of my free time. It should make for some interesting blog posts. So this is the first in a series of post related to building out the site. Let’s get started by securing our web presence and making our technology choices.

Web Presence

My wife already had decided upon a name for the non-profit. Next we needed to secure the domain name, and register the social networking sites. This is really important. You would not believe how many of the names (domains, twitter handles…etc) are taken. I think that most of the time people snatch these up and sit on them with the hope of having the next big domain name that Microsoft needs. So it is important that you register your names as soon as possible.

My web site is hosted with GoDaddy and so I used GoDaddy to secure the domain name. They are always running specials so getting a domain name registered is cheap ($1.99 domains on their site today). You should also consider who will host your site. Most of the time, a hosting provider will register a domain name for free (or almost free) just to get your hosting service. Since I already have a hosting account with GoDaddy, I will continue to use their services. Keep in mind the hosting decision is tied heavily upon what technologies you will use to develop your site (see below).

Social networks are a really easy way to spread the word and develop a community around you or your organization. Registering early with these social networks will reserve your brand name within the internet community.

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We also registered names with the following social networks:

  • Twitter – You can share what is happening with the world in 140 characters or less. It is amazing how big Twitter has become. There are so many people on Twitter. This ranges from everyday people like me (@rcravens) to subject matter experts and even mega stars. Once you have a Twitter account you can begin “tweeting” or sending out short status messages. Anyone who is following you will be able to keep up with your “tweets”. The more followers you have the more your message will spread.
  • Facebook – This is another great site for sharing content to a wide range of people. Facebook has a “wall” where you can post status messages (much like Twitter). In addition, Facebook provides space for sharing photos and much more.
  • YouTube – YouTube provides space for you to broadcast videos to a community. There is a lot of video content already on the web and a lot already hosted by YouTube. People can log into your account on YouTube and view videos that are important to you.

Securing the web presence for any organization is a very big deal. Trying to get easy to remember URLs or Twitter names is difficult. Most of the short and descriptive names are taken.

Technology

There are many technologies that can be used to develop web applications. Because my strengths are in the Microsoft stack, I will leverage the ASP.NET MVC framework for this web application. As mentioned earlier, I already have a GoDaddy account that can host this technology. So the technology stack that I will be using is:

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  • IIS 7 – Internet Information Server Version 7 will be serving up my web pages. I already have this set up with GoDaddy so adding a new domain to my current hosting account should be easy.
  • ASP.NET MVC – I will be using this framework to develop the web application.
  • Other – There will be other applications / frameworks that will be leverage to build out the complete web application. For instance, we will be using a blog engine to generate blog-like content. In this case it does not make sense to develop my own. I will use something well developed that allows non-technical people to publish content. There will also be a need to securely collect donations. This again will require an outside service to integrate with a financial institution.

Summary

This project could take a couple of months. As I progress, I will try to capture in posts the decisions and design. Next time I will address high level design of the web site.

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