Thursday, April 29, 2004

Redesigning my Login / User Management system

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about my redesign of a secure website: last week I realised I was in a bit of trouble. Some time ago I set up a system for external clients to be able to access parts of our internal network. This 'system' of course underwent some redesign in the process of finding out which features were necessary, and then and again something new came in our minds which had to be incorporated in it. All in all it looks we didn't quite think the design through from beginning to end upfront. Now I realise that the system I made (built on IIS 5.0 and using good old-fashioned ASP), was not really that flexible. Database calls were lying around deeply nested within HTML layout code; references to .css files were sometimes made several times. And I'm using multiple web pages in cases where one page, extended with some Session / QueryString variables will suffice. That way, you don't have to set up a new page or every other report some client wants. But just one page for one report or even a generic page for all required reports. It took me a while to realise (with some outside conviction as well) that I'd better start again from scratch. Lose all old stuff, start thinking it through thoroughly, draw a database plan by hand, etc. All-in-all: start from scratch. And that's what I'm doing right now... to be continued, probably.