Prototyping a web application
When you need to create a mock-up for a web application, how do you choose to proceed?
This is an interesting question someone recently asked me. What's the best way to prototype a web application which will be implemented in ASP.NET in the end. Roughly I can think about two ways:
- use plain HTML
- use ASP.NET and ASPX files
The choice is not that easy to make because both options have pros and cons.
For example, using HTML is much easier for someone who masters it, while asking that same person to use Visual Studio and ASP.NET is not really possible because the learning curve is still too high.
The prototyping phase requires the developer to be responsive, as much exchanges with the client as possible, and to go back and forth between the development and the sketching board. I feel that asking the dev to prototype in Visual Studio may add an extra burden to him/her. However, an HTML mock-up is mostly disposable, because we cannot simply rename the .html files to .aspx. To convert an HTML mock-up into an ASP.NET app requires much more work than this. Almost all the tags need to be reviewed, except of course for everything which is pure design such as tables, divs and CSS. That last point being true of course if you use CSS at the prototyping level. Otherwise you'll also have to clean-up the style stuff from the HTML tags and move it to a clean CSS file.
For someone who masters ASP.NET, coding the mock-up directly with Visual Studio seems to be the best choice.
How do YOU create your mock-ups? Who does it? Developers?
Maybe tools like Dreamweaver MX are a good compromise for a mix between HTML and ASPX. Some experiences this way?