Web engineering

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The World Wide Web has become a major delivery platform for a variety of complex and sophisticated enterprise applications in several domains. In addition to their inherent multifaceted functionality, these Web applications exhibit complex behavior and place some unique demands on their usability, performance, security and ability to grow and evolve. However, a vast majority of these applications continue to be developed in an ad-hoc way, contributing to problems of usability, maintainability, quality and reliability.[1][2] While Web development can benefit from established practices from other related disciplines, it has certain distinguishing characteristics that demand special considerations. In recent years, there have been developments towards addressing these considerations.

As an emerging discipline, Web engineering actively promotes systematic, disciplined and quantifiable approaches towards successful development of high-quality, ubiquitously usable Web-based systems and applications.[3] In particular, Web engineering focuses on the methodologies, techniques and tools that are the foundation of Web application development and which support their design, development, evolution, and evaluation. Web application development has certain characteristics that make it different from traditional software, information system, or computer application development.

Web engineering is multidisciplinary and encompasses contributions from diverse areas: systems analysis and design, software engineering, hypermedia/hypertext engineering, requirements engineering, human-computer interaction, user interface, information engineering, information indexing and retrieval, testing, modelling and simulation, project management, and graphic design and presentation. Web engineering is neither a clone, nor a subset of software engineering, although both involve programming and software development. While Web Engineering uses software engineering principles, it encompasses new approaches, methodologies, tools, techniques, and guidelines to meet the unique requirements of Web-based applications.

As a discipline

Proponents of Web engineering supported the establishment of Web engineering as a discipline at an early stage of Web. First Workshop on Web Engineering was held in conjunction with World Wide Web Conference held in Brisbane, Australia, in 1998. San Murugesan, Yogesh Deshpande, Steve Hansen and Athula Ginige, from University of Western Sydney, Australia formally promoted Web engineering as a new discipline in the first ICSE workshop on Web Engineering in 1999.[3] Since then they published a series of papers in a number of journals, conferences and magazines to promote their view and got wide support. Major arguments for Web engineering as a new discipline are:

  • Web-based Information Systems (WIS) development process is different and unique.[4]
  • Web engineering is multi-disciplinary; no single discipline (such as software engineering) can provide complete theory basis, body of knowledge and practices to guide WIS development.[5]
  • Issues of evolution and lifecycle management when compared to more 'traditional' applications.
  • Web-based information systems and applications are pervasive and non-trivial. The prospect of Web as a platform will continue to grow and it is worth being treated specifically.

However, it has been controversial, especially for people in other traditional disciplines such as software engineering, to recognize Web engineering as a new field. The issue is how different and independent Web engineering is, compared with other disciplines.

Main topics of Web engineering include, but are not limited to, the following areas:

Modeling disciplines

  • Design Manufacturing of Steel Plant equipments
  • Process Modelling of Web applications
  • Requirements Engineering for Web applications
  • B2B applications

Design disciplines, tools and methods

  • UML and the Web
  • Conceptual Modeling of Web Applications (aka. Web modeling)
  • Prototyping Methods and Tools
  • Web design methods
  • CASE Tools for Web Applications
  • Web Interface Design
  • Data Models for Web Information Systems

Implementation disciplines

  • Integrated Web Application Development Environments
  • Code Generation for Web Applications
  • Software Factories for/on the Web
  • Web 2.0, AJAX, E4X, ASP.NET, PHP and Other New Developments
  • Web Services Development and Deployment

Testing disciplines

  • Testing and Evaluation of Web systems and Applications
  • Testing Automation, Methods and Tools

Applications categories disciplines

  • Semantic Web applications
  • Ubiquitous and Mobile Web Applications
  • Mobile Web Application Development
  • Device Independent Web Delivery
  • Localization and Internationalization Of Web Applications


Web quality



See also


  1. Roger S Pressman, "Can Internet Applications be Engineered?" IEEE Software, Vol. 15, No. 5, Sep/Oct 1998, pp 104-110
  2. Roger S Pressman, "What a Tangled Web we Weave," IEEE Software, Jan/Feb 2001, Vol. 18, No.1, pp 18-21
  3. 3.0 3.1 San Murugesan, Yogesh Deshpande, Steve Hansen and Athula Ginige, "Web Engineering: A New Discipline for Development of Web-based Systems," Proceedings of the First International Conference of Software Engineering (ICSE) Workshop on Web Engineering, Los Angeles, USA, 1999. Also published in Web Engineering: Managing Diversity and Complexity of Web Application Development, San Murugesan and Yogesh Deshpande (Eds), LNCS 2016, Springer Verlag, Berlin Heidelberg, 2001Athula Ginige and San Murugesan, "Web Engineering: An Introduction," IEEE Multimedia, Vol. 8, No. 1, January 2001, pp 14-18
  4. Gerti Kappel, Birgit Proll, Seiegfried, and Werner Retschitzegger, "An Introduction to Web Engineering," in Web Engineering, Gerti Kappel, et al. (eds.) John Wiley and Sons, Heidelberg, Germany, 2003
  5. Yogesh Deshpande, and Steve Hansen, "Web Engineering: Creating Discipline among Disciplines," IEEE Multimedia, Vol. 8, No. 1, January 2001, pp 81-86
  6. JKU » Webwissenschaften - Master. Jku.at (2014-04-18). Retrieved on 2014-04-28.
  7. iWMC » Academic Program - Web Engineering. iWMC.at (2014-04-30). Retrieved on 2014-04-30.


  • Robert L. Glass, "Who's Right in the Web Development Debate?" Cutter IT Journal, July 2001, Vol. 14, No.7, pp 6–10.
  • S. Ceri, P. Fraternali, A. Bongio, M. Brambilla, S. Comai, M. Matera. "Designing Data-Intensive Web Applications". Morgan Kaufmann Publisher, Dec 2002, ISBN 1-55860-843-5

Web engineering resources

  • "Engineering Web Applications", by Sven Casteleyn, Florian Daniel, Peter Dolog and Maristella Matera, Springer, 2009, ISBN 978-3-540-92200-1
  • "Handbook of Research on Web 2.0, 3.0, and X.0: Technologies, Business, and Social Applications", San Murugesan (Editor), Information Science Research, Hershey – New York, October 2009, ISBN 978-1-60566-384-5
  • "Web Engineering: Modelling and Implementing Web Applications", edited by Gustavo Rossi, Oscar Pastor, Daniel Schwabe and Luis Olsina, Springer Verlag HCIS, 2007, ISBN 978-1-84628-922-4
  • "Cost Estimation Techniques for Web Projects", Emilia Mendes, IGI Publishing, ISBN 978-1-59904-135-3
  • "Web Engineering - The Discipline of Systematic Development of Web Applications", edited by Gerti Kappel, Birgit Pröll, Siegfried Reich, and Werner Retschitzegger, John Wiley & Sons, 2006
  • "Web Engineering", edited by Emilia Mendes and Nile Mosley, Springer-Verlag, 2005
  • "Web Engineering: Principles and Techniques", edited by Woojong Suh, Idea Group Publishing, 2005
  • "Building Web Applications with UML" (2nd edition), by Jim Conallen, Pearson Education, 2003
  • "Information Architecture for the World Wide Web" (2nd edition), by Peter Morville and Louis Rosenfeld, O'Reilly, 2002
  • "Web Site Engineering: Beyond Web Page Design", by Thomas A. Powell, David L. Jones and Dominique C. Cutts, Prentice Hall, 1998
  • "Designing Data-Intensive Web Applications", by S. Ceri, P. Fraternali, A. Bongio, M. Brambilla, S. Comai, M. Matera. Morgan Kaufmann Publisher, Dec 2002, ISBN 1-55860-843-5
Book chapters and articles
  • Murugesan,S and A.Ginige, A. "Web Engineering: Introduction and Perspectives", Chapter 1 in "Web Engineering: Principles and Techniques" (Suh, W. ed.), Idea Group Publishing, 2005. http://www.idea-group.com/downloads/excerpts/01%20Suh.pdf
  • Pressman, R.S., 'Applying Web Engineering', Part 3, Chapters 16-20, in Software Engineering: A Practitioner's Perspective, Sixth Edition, McGraw-Hill, New York, 2004. http://www.rspa.com/'
  • Zheng, G. "Web Engineering Overview: A Historical Perspective", in Encyclopedia of Networked and Virtual Organizations, edited by Goran Putnik and Maria Cunha, IGI Global, 2008
Special issues
  • Web Engineering, IEEE MultiMedia, Jan.–Mar. 2001 (Part 1) and April–June 2001 (Part 2). http://csdl2.computer.org/persagen/DLPublication.jsp?pubtype=m&acronym=mu
  • Usability Engineering, IEEE Software, January–February 2001.
  • Web Engineering, Cutter IT Journal, 14(7), July 2001.*
  • Testing E-business Applications, Cutter IT Journal, September 2001.
  • Engineering Internet Software, IEEE Software, March–April 2002.
  • Usability and the Web, IEEE Internet Computing, March–April 2002.