With the website now being completely finished I decided to evaluate how I have done over the module and how far I have come in terms of coding skills. I have 100% improved my knowledge and ability to code as the independence of writing the code with others of the same standard makes you try harder to find out solutions – not just asking Kyle.
I feel confident with PHP and HTML and look forward to working with them again, HTML is our next project and as we didn’t do a huge amount in this project, I can improve my skills throughout the next module.
Throughout this project we faced many problems – some we fixed ourselves and some that Kyle was needed to explain to us the issue. Whenever Kyle did help us, we would always go into the labs straight after and work on the area he helped us with so that we made sure we understood exactly where we went wrong and how to avoid going wrong in the future.
If I were to improve anything in this project, it would be to have included some more database tables such as a file uploader or a more complex sign up form. The project has shown me the importance of contributing when working in groups and gave me a sense of what it would be like in the ‘real world’ and working as a part of a production team.
Over the Easter holidays I decided to focus on tidying up all the code and making sure it was all formatted correctly so that it will be easy to read when being marked/looked at. I split this task up over a few days as it was less tedious that doing it all in one. Another thing that Rob and Kyle suggested we do to our code is comment it so that each chunk could easily be understood by us when editing/explaining it due to us not being overly confident with what every line meant off the top of our heads. We spoke in our group chat about splitting up the pages between us so that the job could get done quicker. Due to Amy and I writing all the code we thought it would be best if we split the pages between us as we had a better understanding of what each chunk was responsible for. I decided to comment the code on the meet the team, login and signup pages and then Amy commented the code on the post and index page as these had more code involved. Below is an example of what the commenting looks like in brackets.
The website is now coded properly with formatted and commented code and the PHP functions work – connecting to a database via a local server. As we managed to finish the back-end of the project with some time to spare we spent the majority of our time before easter using Bootstrap to perfect the aesthetics of the website so that the user experience would be improved. Although this wasn’t explicitly asked for us to do, we decided that in order to become confident with coding and design websites – practice is key so we took this project as an opportunity to explore and add to our knowledge of coding and brackets. Doing this, allowed me to practice previous skills used in workshops but be able to understand them and explain them in my own words – also learning various shortcuts in the Brackets programme which will be vital in future project in the next semester and next two years at university. Below are a few screenshots of how we have made the website more appealing to the eye through Bootstrap and CSS coding.
Over Easter, I decided to look back at what Rob had mentioned about Web 2.0 and various other subjects to research more into if we were interested. After the Net Neutrality research, I have been eager to find out and learn more about the history and unknown information of the World Wide Web. I knew that I wouldn’t be able to find out the information I needed without some in depth research. I researched into Bullet Board Systems, USENET and when Web 2.0 met Usenet 1.0.
BBS is a computer server which allows users to connect to the system using a terminal program, and enables them to post, upload, download, IM and much more. This is similar to what our groups are creating for this project as users have to sign up, log in and then post to the home page for everyone to see – even those who aren’t logged in. (Wikipedia)
Usenet is a worldwide Internet discussion system where users read and post messages (articles) to one or more categories – known as newsgroups. Usenet is very similar to BBS and the discussions are threaded just like BBS but the posts are stored on the server sequentially. (Wikipedia)
Bbsdocumentary.com,. ‘The BBS Software Directory’. N.p., 2015. Web. 1 Apr. 2015.
Linux Magazine,. ‘Web 2.0, Meet Usenet 1.0’. N.p., 2015. Web. 1 Apr. 2015.
Wikipedia,. ‘Bulletin Board System’. N.p., 2015. Web. 1 Apr. 2015.
Wikipedia,. ‘Usenet’. N.p., 2015. Web. 1 Apr. 2015.
So far as a group we have managed to make some progress on the project. Me and Amy began to work o the back end of the website as this was what was recommended by Kyle. Once we finish and achieve a working basic website you can focus on making it look nice. The main marks are coming from the functionality of the site so we wanted to ensure this was the more impressive part of our project.
This was started by opening up brackets files from previous workshops we had following up to the unit. We analysed which code we wanted to use and manipulated it into our new brackets file. We tried to incorporate as many functions as we could so we could practice what we learnt in these previous workshops and display evidence that we understood what was shown to us.
Me and Amy began the php side of things by logging onto phpmyadmin and creating the first database table we would use for the website (see below). This was where the users would be logging in and the database would have to recognise a users details and allow them access to enter the site and post onto the homepage. The way in which we connect to the database is via a server – we use dakar.bournemouth.ac.uk.
We then discussed that it would be more effective and time-efficient for us to use Bootstrap to design the website as its a much simpler way to make the site look professional and aesthetically pleasing, especially as we aren’t getting marked on how nice it looks.
Before meeting and discussing with my team mates about what our idea should be I thought I would go with some rough thoughts to offer up as a suggestion. I knew that the website needs to be aimed at a specific target audience and came up with various ideas, all attached to different categories.
I particularly like the babysitting idea under the ‘Services’ category due to the fact that I can’t think of many well known babysitting/childminding websites out there and so we can input unique and different ideas without being influenced at all. The fields I was thinking we could search by would be Name, Location, Price and Availability (part/full time) these would be the columns in the database. I was also thinking once the user has signed up they could upload a photo, short description and their CV.
Below is a brainstorm of the style of websites I had in mind regarding the different categories.
During reading week, our group arranged to meet up to discuss the final idea and we all brought along our individual ideas which we had come to via research into different categories and target audiences. I took along my brainstorm but mostly with my babysitting idea.
We all ‘pitched’ our thoughts and suggestions to what the website could be designed for and these were all the ideas thrown in: Babysitting, Dating, Recipe site, Book reviews, Statistics site. The two top ideas were babysitting and dating. We knew that another group were planning on doing a dating site so we thought that it would be best to go with the Babysitting idea as it’s different and unique and also won’t be compared to other groups with the same idea.
After we had decided on this we discussed which role each person should do and what would maximise the quality and workflow of the project. It was decided that Josh was best at the design and layout of the website, and me and Amy were more confident on the coding so thats how we will continue to work but will aim to try and all pull an equal weight as obviously the coding is more challenging than the design – due to me and Amy not being overly confident with it.
To succeed in all working equal amounts we are going to aim to try and complete the task when we are all together as a group so that we can freely input our different ideas and make the product the best it possibly can be.
In my opinion the project should be created equally between the team members but due to different skills and strengths and weaknesses this is challenging as not everyone is confident in the same areas. I feel that our group can produce an excellent final project, especially with the uncountable amount of tutorials out there that we can use to help us if we are stuck on particular parts of the code. Also other seminar students will hopefully be willing to help us out if they are more confident in the workshops, along with Phil and Kyle.
I have researched into our final idea of a babysitting advertisement website and have come up with some example websites that already exist which we can gather some inspiration and ideas from. Below are the websites similar to our idea that already are up and running:
The main focus is not on the visuals of the website but the functionality and the core HTML and PHP code which we will create and hopefully be able to run through databases using our servers. Once the website is fully functioning with all the required content we can focus on making the site aesthetically pleasing to its specific target audience. I feel that if we aim to complete the hardest part (PHP) together as soon as possible it will be easier to overcome issues and can get help from Kyle if need be. After that we can spend the remainder of our time making the website look professional.
I took on the role of creating the Meet the Team page as I didn’t want us, as a group, to fall behind other groups and having to catch up. I looked at previous HTML documents we previously worked on in Kyle’s earlier workshops to get a basic structure for the page. Due to all three of us not being confident using HTML we decided to use bootstrap which we touched upon a couple of months ago in a workshop. I watched a few tutorials and got some refresher tips on how it works and began to create the page using this.
Why Bootstrap? You still have to challenge of writing all the HTML code and edit some bits of CSS but its give you the basic structure to a webpage and makes it appear more dynamic and stylish. We all agreed we would continue using bootstrap for the final idea and as I wasn’t super confident with it, it will still be very challenging and we will have to work together to try and figure some coding issues out I am sure.
I created the majority of the meet the team page as I was forward in researching how to use Bootstrap and the other members were not crystal clear on how to use it. I created a plain basic design so that when we next get together and decide on a final idea we can decide as a group what colour scheme and various buttons we wanted to have. I thought of an idea to put underneath each of our bios which was to link to each of our blogs. This increases the navigation on the page and makes it more personal.
Last Tuesday we had a seminar which revolved around Entity Relationship Diagrams (ERD). This is basically a flow-chart diagram which shows the relationships between many entities of a certain database.
“An ERD is a conceptual and representational model of data used to represent the entity framework infrastructure.” – http://www.techopedia.com/definition/1200/entity-relationship-diagram-erd
Above is an image which explains the various symbols used within ERD’s and I need to become familiar with these so that I can focus my skills on the more complicated parts of the project. In the seminar we began to think what we would need to include in the database design and therefore in our ERD. We looked at a photo sharing website and came up with the following.
For our task to complete over the next week, we had to create our own ERD – a recipe website where users upload their recipe title, description and a photo. We had to decide what would need to be included and below is what I came up with.
We have been set a task to upload and make a contribution to a community based UGC platform, we could decide whether to upload a photo/video/diagram to Wikimedia, add detail to openstreetmap, add a recipe to Wikibooks or a reading list to Zotero.
I decided to add in my old primary school to my local area on openstreetmap.com as it had not yet been identified. Openstreetmap is an interactive website which allows users to insert different landmarks and street names – similar to Google maps but giving users more control and responsibility.
I also decided to post an image to Wikimedia. In order to do this I had to create an account and go onto Wikimedia Commons which allows you to upload files, photos and videos at your own discretion and enables other users of wikimedia to use your uploads without the worry of copyright issues.
I uploaded the above image of Bournemouth beach sunset which I took a few weeks ago, the image is good quality and captures a perfect amount of lighting – perfect for someone to use as a screensaver image or in their own work.