The World Wide Web continues to provide a foundation for the development of a broad range of increasingly influential and strategic technologies, supporting a large variety of applications and services, both in the private and public sectors. There is a growing need for management and decision makers to gain a clearer understanding of the application development process, from planning through to deployment and maintenance. This module will give you an insight into architectures, protocols, standards, languages, tools and techniques; an understanding of approaches to more dynamic and mobile content; and demonstrate how you can analyse requirements, plan, design, implement and test a range of web applications.
What you will study
Over the last few years the internet and the World Wide Web have provided the basis for the development of a range of strategic business solutions.
As web technologies have entered the mainstream of IT development a wide range of applications in sectors such as marketing, selling, purchasing, banking and publishing have been deployed, positioning the Web in the relationship between providers and users.
This module starts with a focus on the foundations of web applications, including protocols, standards and content handling. It builds on these by exploring application architectures, components and alternative application designs before considering how applications and content can be made more dynamic and mobile.
The module is made up of four blocks and a project.
Block 1 Foundations of web technology
The first block covers the basic technologies on which the Web is founded. Aspects covered include: historic development of the Web; 'architecture' and basic client server architecture; protocols such as HTTP; content markup (HTML, CSS, XML) and issues of accessibility and usability; standards and standardisation organisations (W3C, Internet working group); and security (firewalls, HTTPS, certificates).
This block of the module covers all of the basic foundations on which the remainder of the module builds.
Block 2 Web architectures
After examining the different approaches to web application architecture, Block 2 focuses on how the components of the client-server architecture can deliver dynamic content to web pages.
While this block considers a range of programming languages and their roles in developing applications, it does not teach programming and you are expected to have already acquired these skills.
Block 3 Mobile content
Block 3 examines the trend toward more portable content and content customisation and also explores mobile content and applications. It considers aspects such as Web 2, content streaming (RSS), content manipulation (DOM, XSLT, etc.) and approaches to delivering content to mobile devices. You will also undertake the development of a mobile application using specialised mobile content and applications software.
Block 4 Developing applications
The final block explores how applications are planned, designed and developed by IT professionals, examining project planning, application design, development environments and tools as well as application deployment and maintenance.
At the end of the module, you will carry out a substantial project applying the skills and techniques from each block.
There are no formal entry requirements to study this module.
However, as this is an OU level 2 module you’ll need a good knowledge of the subject area obtained through any of the following:
- OU level 1 study
- equivalent work at another university
- experience as an IT professional
The programming skills developed in Introduction to computing and information technology 1 (TM111) and Introduction to computing and IT 2 (TM222), or Object-oriented Java programming (M250), would be ideal preparation, especially if you’re not familiar with basic programming.
TT284 covers a range of web technologies at a depth appropriate for an OU level 2 module. We’ll expect you to engage with the whole networked learning environment: online module materials, tutorials, module forums and practical activities on the server.
You must be prepared to spend significant amounts of time online each week. The stop–start nature of the work could make it difficult for you to measure how much time you’re actually devoting to the module. Also, students work at different rates, and some students need longer than others to get up to speed.
Attitude is extremely important – you’ll inevitably discover some dead ends and these can be demoralising unless you cope with them constructively. Have an open mind: if one approach isn’t working, try another; if you think you’re on the wrong track, contact your tutor or post to the forums.
If you’re returning to study, you might find it helpful to look at our Skills for OU Study website and to read The Good Study Guide by Northedge, (The Open University, 2005).
This module is presented fully online within The Open University's virtual learning environment (VLE), which gives access to the study materials in electronic format, online forums and other online resources. There are no printed texts: all the study materials will be available online from the website.
You may wish to use a headset, with a microphone and earphones, to talk to your tutor and other students online during some of the module activities.
You will need
In order to successfully run the module software, we recommend that you have a minimum of 1GB of memory (RAM) on the computer that you will use for your studies.
If you have an Apple Mac or Linux computer – please note that for Block 4 and the end-of-module assessment (EMA) of this module you can only use it by running Windows on it using Boot Camp or a similar dual-boot system.
A computing device with a browser and broadband internet access is required for this module. Any modern browser will be suitable for most computer activities. Functionality may be limited on mobile devices.
Any additional software will be provided, or is generally freely available. However, some activities may have more specific requirements. For this reason, you will need to be able to install and run additional software on a device that meets the requirements below.
A desktop or laptop computer with either:
- Windows 7 or higher
- macOS 10.7 or higher
The screen of the device must have a resolution of at least 1024 pixels horizontally and 768 pixels vertically.
To participate in our online-discussion area you will need both a microphone and speakers/headphones.
Our Skills for OU study website has further information including computing skills for study, computer security, acquiring a computer and Microsoft software offers for students.