Building Complex Websites

At The Bridge, we mainly build complex websites. By that I mean:

  1. They are bespoke. We don’t believe in reinventing the wheel, but often, in order to create a unique user experience, we need to modify, configure and develop to diverse requirements. This requires a very deep knowledge of the content management systemsthat we use (such as Drupal and WordPress), together with the ability to develop completely new modules.
  2. They require that the front-end interacts with a back-end database and processes. The processing and code that are required to implement the business rules may also involve integration with other systems such CRMs, analytics, and authentication.

In some cases, we need to build a system that has a user interface and business rules sufficiently unique and complex that the use of a content management system would be limiting.

All the usual decisions on UI standards, process flow and of course technical standards then need to be worked out and agreed with the client. Another implication of this is that we need to provide secure user authentication. Rather than attempt to build this from scratch, we chose to use Microsoft’s Azure AD (Active Directory).

Azure AD is Microsoft’s cloud version of the user authentication management AD that has been a standard feature of most in-house networks for many years. Benefits include:

  • Highly secure user authentication and management
  • Single sign-on to multiple applications. This allowed us to develop multiple applications, but integrate user access in a consistent way
  • API available for integration with custom applications

This last benefit (called Graph API) enabled us to build a customised front-end application, which could be used to manage user access across multiple applications, according to the client’s specific requirements.

In all of this, we are really building a completely bespoke system that happens to have a web front-end, rather than a standard public website.

The main differences from older style, internal desktop systems are the:

  • High standards of UI set by familiar public websites
  • Responsive UI for multiple devices (although not always required for administration functions)
  • Increased need for security
  • Hosting environment

So, the range of skills we need is very broad, which suits our style. We use our knowledge of website front-end, software development, database development, and project management. And for the authentication part, Azure AD experience is essential, as it takes a while to become familiar with.

If you’d like to discuss your website or software development options with The Bridge, feel free to call Lawrence on 02 9993 3300 or email