computer science tests an information portal

INTRODUCTION

In this project we will design, develop and test an information portal for international students that travel to another country to study. The website will provide them all information about how to apply for university or college, registering a student, schooling for children. Also information about accommodation, expenses and travelling would be available. Finally a checklist of all the documentation required to apply for a visa.

The site will also be used to provide the students with information about the terminology used in university in order to understand their application process.

Full User Specifications

The site will be used by two types of user. Registered users which will be able to store some information about their place of interest and once login, they will access this information. Registered users would be able to receive email notifications about updates. Registers users will be able to add content to the site. The other type of user would be guests which are going to have access to most information on the site but they will have to manually search for the information.

The goal of the site is to work as a single access point for users to retrieve information about the place they would want to study. To do that, research should be made on a variety of places for study. Also access to local information is essential and keeping this information up to date. To accomplish that, there should be a combination of RSS fed information where available and also manual updating the site with new information. Because the administration staff that will not have advanced HTML skills the interface for updates should be simple. Another important feature is the categorization of the information which should be done using some Meta data manually added to content items. Because of the amount of information that people may need to find in the site, there is the possibility of letting users add content items in the site, depending on their local knowledge.

A full text search engine will also be needed, in order to enable users retrieve information. An open source engine such as Lucene can be used that will reduce the cost of the implementation. For the visual design of the site an approach less is more would be used by keeping an eye to usability. Users should be able to navigate easy on the site and since the content is more important than anything else, the site should be able to be accessible with different browsers.

Features of Website

User Registration

Registered users which will be able to store some information about their place of interest and once login, they will access this information. Moreover, register users can access the whole website features.

Registration Area

When user will get registered their selves on this website the email will go to admin and admin can check which user was registered.

Admin Login Area

Admin area is the area where admin can edit, add and delete the content of the website. It is fully authenticated without having a username and password it is impossible to change the website.

Universities & College Searching Functionality

People can easily search College and university by searching their names and the result will come up with brief information. And people can get more information about the searched results. When any user will search a university name and if that name exists in the database it will come with university information and users can see more information about the university or college by click the link.

User Login

Before passing information in blog users have to sign in first then they can leave their comments in the blog otherwise content fields were blocked. Same with adding university or college in the university list users have to sign in first to add a specific university in the particular area.

Blog

Registered users can exchange the knowledge with each other in blog and other people like guest users can see that information in blog without login. But users have to get registered to leave the comment in blog.

Content Management System (CMS)

Content management system is the system where admin can control the content of the website. If admin wants to add, change or remove anything from the website he can easily do that by login admin area.

Contact us

Contact us is the form where people can contact the admin of the website by giving the specific knowledge.

Description of Project:

In this project we will design, develop and test an information portal for international students that travel to another country to study. The website will provide them all information about how to apply for university or college, registering a student, schooling for children. Also information about accommodation, expenses and travelling would be available. Finally a checklist of all the documentation required to apply for a visa.

Software/Applications/Tools Required for the Project:

  • This project will build in PHP5 language.
  • Macromedia and Adobe photo shop are used as tools.
  • CSS
  • Internet Explorer 6 is required

Hardware Requirements:

A computer with all the basic components is required.

Tasks to be completed and presented:

  • Project Overview
  • Work plan
  • Mid project Report
  • Full project Report

Importance of the project:

This project is going to be made in PHP language and all the skills required building a web application needed for this project. And being a software development student this project fits in my course.

TECHNICAL BACKGROUND

Tools

PHP offers speed of execution using only meagre system resources, so it will not slow down the host machine. It uses its own resources management system, and has a sophisticated method for handling variables, thereby ensuring stability. Its simplicity allows anyone with a basic knowledge of HTML to start integrating PHP into their web pages straight away.

PHP's modular system of extensions allows it to interface with different libraries, such as encryption, graphics or XML, and adding further extensions are very simple. [1]

MySQL

  • MySQL is simple and very easy to understand and learn.
  • MySQL can support large databases.
  • MySQL is compatible with almost all operating systems like Unix and Windows etc. [2]

Proposed approach

Html and CSS

PHP for server-side code

MySQL for database

Using html, CSS, PHP for server-side code and MySQL for database because its Open source you can get it anywhere on the net. Easy to use and it is fast.

FUNCTIONALITIES:

Easily Searching Colleges and Universities

Users can easily search specific college or university by entering the name of college or university in search and they will get result of the specific search what they have entered in search box.

Blog

For sharing information on blog of this website user needs to login/register first. Users can share information about the college and university in the blog so the other users can get information about the college and university. Information will show with user's name, time and date once the user will submit the information by clicking the submit button.

Adding Colleges and Universities

Admin and Registered users can add colleges and universities to give more information about colleges and universities to other people who can get information about the specific college or university.

Content Management System (CMS)

Content management system is the area where admin can control the whole website content. Moreover, admin can add, edit and change the content of the website through content management system.

User Registration

This is the area where users can get registered their selves to get the full access of the website. Once they get registered their selves they can do different things like add colleges or universities and share their information with other users or guests.

Contact us

In this area users can contact admin by filling up the required fields. Like if users have any query about the college/university or about the website they can contact admin through contact us form. This functionality is very easy to use and all types of users can use this for example registered users or non-registered users. When user will submit the contact us form after filling up that admin will receive an email.

News

Admin can give news about the colleges and universities events. Admin has to sign in admin area and then he can update news through content management system.

PROJECT ANALYSIS

The requirement is to build International student website to enable users to get information about colleges/Universities online. The international student website could be built in other web programming languages like ASP.NET with SQL server, VB.NET with SQL server. It has decided to build the international student website in PHP with MySQL because the PHP and MySQL is as open source and it is easy to use and I had some experience with PHP with MySQL before so that's the reason I choose to build this website in PHP environment.

Technical Requirements

Cost

The International student website will be built in PHP so the cost of this project will not be too high because the PHP is an open source anybody can get it or download PHP from internet for free. Documentation of this project will be done in Microsoft office.

Deliverables

By the end of the project a full working web application would be with the following functionality:

  • Administrator stuff can add, edit and delete university specific information and also publish user created content
  • Registered users should be able to add information about a university
  • Users should be able to search through the content of the site
  • Email notification should be sent to registered users
  • Users should be able to register to the site
  • Registered users should be able to comments

PROJECT PLANNING:

Waterfall Method:

The traditional waterfall approach to development, which assumes a linear progression of development activities, where one begins only when its predecessor is complete, is no longer flexible or suitable for today's systems. Waterfall development has different objectives for each phase of development. Imagine a waterfall on the cliff of a steep mountain. Once the water has flowed over the edge of the cliff and has begun its journey down the side of the mountain, it can't turn back. It is the same with waterfall development. Once a phase of development is completed, the development proceeds to the next stage and there is no turning back. The process of waterfall method diagram shown below: [5] [8]

Stages of Waterfall method:

System Planning

The planning phase is the most critical step in completing development, attainment, and maintenance projects. Careful planning, particularly in the early stages of a project, is necessary to coordinate activities and manage project risks effectively. The depth and formality of project plans should be impartial with the characteristics and risks of a given project. [7]

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