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Database Driven Online System and Analysis for RETAS-Leeds

10,000 3,000

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SUMMARY
This project was undertaken for RETAS-Leeds, a Leeds based charity. It came about as a
result of RETAS-Leeds recognising the need for the utilization of technology to increase the
amount of information available to the public, and to allow for online collaboration with the
public, by registration and feedback. This was coupled with the smaller need for additions to
their current database, and also for evaluation of their systems and recommendations for the
future.
The bulk of the project, which will be the prime topic of discussion in this report, was a dynamic web
system developed to meet these needs. The web system had various requirements that were specified
and these requirements were added to as time went on. This system needed an external part for the
public and RETAS-Leeds clients to view, and an internal system for the RETAS-Leeds staff. The need
for this system to run on a back end database was recognised early on. Further to this, queries that
were perceived as necessary additions to the current RETAS-Leeds database were written, and
evaluation and recommendation for the future was performed.
The external system contains information about RETAS-Leeds, a registration system, a feedback
system, and dynamic content. The internal system allows secure sign in, view and manipulating of the
database records, and the changing of the external system content. The queries for the current database
specify specific database statistics that were specified as necessary to be able to view. The evaluation
was primarily concerning how RETAS-Leeds could utilise the system implemented to further their
information systems as a whole, and how they can be developed further in the future.
The project implementation was a mixture of programming skills plus system design, and used a
number of tools for achieving its aims.
The system can be seen online at www.retas-leeds.org, or on the SOC servers at
http://csms5.soc.leeds.ac.uk/ctzkba/website/index.php.

TABLE OF CONTENTS
SUMMARY………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. I
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS……………………………………………………………………………………….II
TABLE OF CONTENTS………………………………………………………………………………………… III
I . INTRODUCTION………………………………………………………………………………………………….1
1. 1 RETAS-Leeds……………………………………………………………………………………………………1
1.2 The Problem ………………………………………………………………………………………………………1
1.3 How I could help solve the problem…………………………………………………………………….2
1.4 Minimum Requirements …………………………………………………………………………………….3
II. BACKGROUND RESEARCH …………………………………………………………………………………..3
2.1 Researching RETAS-Leeds…………………………………………………………………………………3
2.1.1 Methods of Research……………………………………………………………………………………….3
2.1.2 Organizational Structure and Running of the Charity ………………………………………….4
2.1.3 Current Registration and Feedback Systems for Clients ………………………………………4
2.1.4 RETAS-Leeds Information Systems Summary …………………………………………………..5
2.2 Planning and Project Management……………………………………………………………………..5
2.3 System Development and Design Methodology ……………………………………………………6
2.3.1 The Waterfall Method……………………………………………………………………………………..6
2.3.2 The Spiral and Iterative Methods………………………………………………………………………6
2.3.3 Evolutionary Development ………………………………………………………………………………7
2.3.4 RAD/DSDM ………………………………………………………………………………………………….7
2.3.5 Choice and Justification…………………………………………………………………………………..7
2.4.1 Database………………………………………………………………………………………………………..8
2.4.2 Server side scripting language ………………………………………………………………………….9
III. ANALYSIS ………………………………………………………………………………………………………..14
3.1 Project Objective ……………………………………………………………………………………………..14
3.2 Needs ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………….14
3.3 Project Plan ……………………………………………………………………………………………………..14
3.4 Requirements Capture ……………………………………………………………………………………..14
3.4.1 Meetings, Observation, and Prototype Proposals ………………………………………………14
3.4.2 Requirements Specification ……………………………………………………………………………15
3.4.3 Use Case Diagram for system users…………………………………………………………………16
3.5 Initial Verses Additional Requirements …………………………………………………………….18
3.6 A Note on the Nature of Requirements………………………………………………………………18
IV. DESIGN …………………………………………………………………………………………………………….19
4.1 Front-end Design ……………………………………………………………………………………………..19
4.1.1 Look and Feel ………………………………………………………………………………………………19
4.1.2 Menu and Navigability ………………………………………………………………………………….21
4.1.3 Validation…………………………………………………………………………………………………….22
4.2 Database Design ……………………………………………………………………………………………….22
4.2.1 Database Schema ………………………………………………………………………………………….23
4.2.2 Primary Keys for Unique Fields ……………………………………………………………………..24
4.2.3 Database Relations Design …………………………………………………………………………….24
V. IMPLEMENTATION………………………………………………………………………………………….25
5.1 Server ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………25
5.1.1 CSMS5………………………………………………………………………………………………………..25
iv
5.1.2 Changing over to the Web Hosted Server…………………………………………………………26
5.2 MySql Database ……………………………………………………………………………………………….26
5.3 Client Side Scripts Implementation …………………………………………………………………..26
5.3.1 HTML and CSS ……………………………………………………………………………………………26
5.3.2 JavaScript Validation …………………………………………………………………………………….28
5.4 PHP Script Implementation………………………………………………………………………………29
5.4.1 Files Separated Initially …………………………………………………………………………………29
5.4.2 Connection.php …………………………………………………………………………………………….29
5.4.3 Menu.php …………………………………………………………………………………………………….30
5.4.4 Registration and Feedback Scripts…………………………………………………………………..30
5.4.5 Other public viewable pages…………………………………………………………………………..31
5.4.6 Internal system ……………………………………………………………………………………………..32
5.5 Security ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………36
5.6 Incorporation of PHP and HTML …………………………………………………………………….38
5.7 Implementation of Database Queries…………………………………………………………………38
5.8 Further Implementation Issues …………………………………………………………………………39
5.8.1 Coding Problems…………………………………………………………………………………………..39
5.8.2 Staff Training ……………………………………………………………………………………………….39
VI. TESTING…………………………………………………………………………………………………………..40
6.1 PHP Files …………………………………………………………………………………………………………40
6.1.1 Testing On Input as Development Took Place ………………………………………………….40
6.1.2 Testing on Output …………………………………………………………………………………………42
6.2 Browser Compatability …………………………………………………………………………………….43
6.3 Testing on the New Server ………………………………………………………………………………..44
VII. EVALUATION…………………………………………………………………………………………………44
7.1 Did the Project Achieve its Goals and Requirements………………………………………….44
7.2 Heuristic Evaluation…………………………………………………………………………………………45
7.2.1 RETAS Staff Evaluation Questionnaire …………………………………………………………..46
7.2.2 RETAS Clients Evaluation Questionnaire………………………………………………………..47
7.3 Limitations……………………………………………………………………………………………………….48
7.3.1 In functionality……………………………………………………………………………………………..48
7.3.2 In Design……………………………………………………………………………………………………..48
7.4 Future Development Capabilities………………………………………………………………………49
7.4.1 Further Dynamism ………………………………………………………………………………………..49
7.4.2 Linking to Current Database…………………………………………………………………………..49
7.4.3 Self-run Servers ……………………………………………………………………………………………49
7.4.4 Query Incorporation into Front End ………………………………………………………………..50
7.4.5 Discussion with RETAS-Leeds ………………………………………………………………………50
7.5 Conclusion ……………………………………………………………………………………………………….50
BIBLIOGRAPHY…………………………………………………………………………………………………….51
APPENDIX A: PERSONAL REFLECTION…………………………………………………………….54
APPENDIX B: DEVELOPMENT METHODOLOGIES……………………………………………55
APPENDIX C: USE CASE DESCRIPTIONS……………………………………………………………56
APPENDIX D: MEETING AGENDA AND MINUTES …………………………………………….59
APPENDIX E: ACTIVITY DIAGRAMS

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