• Development of an Alumni Relations Web App Using an Agile Approach

      Mitra, Sandeep; Linsner, Spencer; The College at Brockport (2017-05-16)
      I present my experience developing a web app to interface with an alumni database for the Computing Sciences department at Brockport. Prior to the end of each semester, the College seeks to gather relevant information from graduating students (e.g. contact information, employment data, etc.). All this information is stored in a database, whose schema was designed by the department faculty some years ago. A prior project took a UML modeling-based waterfall approach to constructing the web app to interface to this database using a ‘pure’ MVC approach and the CakePHP tool. This effort did not meet user needs. Therefore, over the past year, I adopted a more Agile-based approach to building this system. I decided to drop the use of CakePHP and explore other contemporary web technologies that were not previously incorporated, such as jQuery, Bootstrap, and PHP data objects (PDO). I will describe how the development team would explore the use of a tool to achieve a certain kind of behavior, meet regularly to demonstrate the results of their exploration, and then seek to implement and thoroughly test a feature of the actual system using (or deciding against the use of) the explored tools. Seeking customer feedback on this feature, I then moved ahead with the same approach for the next feature. I will discuss how the use of an Agile approach, as opposed to the traditional waterfall method, gave us the opportunity to both continually have a working system and to receive feedback on the direction in which my project was headed. Additionally, I will touch on other aspects of my experience, such as the benefits I derived from having the learnings from the earlier failed project, and the compromises I had to make with architectural purity in order to use appropriate tools.