For CE-231, Human Computer Interface (HCI), my team and I decided on creating a web application with a user-friendly UI, leveraging free web services. We designed the application to be inexpensive, easy to use/maintain, and to require minimum training.
Any modern university with housing facilities needs to maintain the condition of hundreds to thousands of rooms. A housing department needs a low cost and effective way to communicate the state of dormitory rooms between on-site employees, off-site housing administration, persons responsible for fixing a room (maintenance), and the previous/next residents.
Effective documentation will allow administration to carefully maintain the state of dormitory rooms, as well as provide proof of room’s current condition. This will allow documented proof for billing/charging when fixes have to be made. Many universities are being hurt by the current financial situation; this documentation will allow the university to keep its facilities well maintained, making sure to attract new and repeat residents.
We were able to complete the project using free, reliable and secure web services, namely ones provided by Google. We want to provide the lowest cost, most reliable solution to the university. Google App Engine is used as the application server, heavily leveraging their Datastore and User-Account services.
The project is deployed HERE, feel free to enjoy the login-screen.
Sample Use Cases and Screenshots:
1. Resident Assistant (RA) Room Check In. The RA is checking a new resident into a clean dormitory room. Using a mobile computing device, the RA accesses the DAM application via a web browser. The RA then assesses the condition of the room using the form.
1-1. RA Portal, what the RA sees upon login.
2. Resident Assistant (RA) Room Check Out. The RA is checking out a current resident from a dormitory room. Using a mobile computing device, the RA accesses the DAM application via a web browser. The RA then assesses the condition of the room using the form, and takes pictures if there is damage.
2-1. RA Portal, what the RA sees upon login.
3. Administrator Maintenance/Billing Arrangement. An administrator can login to the application using any computer. Utilizing the room assessments with images, maintenance/billing could be easily arranged. Follow-on work could include web ‘hooks’ that can file work tickets or bill a student’s account directly without an administrator’s input!
3-1. Administrator Portal, what the admin sees upon login.
This project was an exercise in rapid development, and we were pleased to that we were able leverage free tools to deploy this project.
We were surprised by how powerful Google App Engine is, and how extensive its capabilities are. Google App Engine allows deployment of an enterprise web archive (WAR) file; thus not tying our application to any particular web server. If needed, we could easily redeploy in JBOSS, Tomcat, etc.