The project overall went well. We met all primary objectives without any undue and unplanned stress on any of the team members. We can attribute most of our successes to the client being able to give reasonably detailed specifications, and our choice of appropriate technologies, which were Allaire Cold Fusion 4.5 and Microsoft Access 2000. Also we can attribute our successes to effective teamwork and good intra-group communication skills.
What we learned:
We learned as a team how the technology we chose can easily and effectively develop web-based applications. We also learned the importance of planning and pacing our work throughout the semester. We found that good communication was also a key to our successes. Our exposure to the software development cycle gave us insight into the realm of software engineering. We learned that it was advantageous to have a mixture of skills and personalities on the team.
What we should have done differently:
In the future we would have had a better idea on what kind of data we would have in the database. We also would have agreed on certain procedures before development, in order to avoid wasted time. We would also have had a more detailed and ironclad contract before we started development so that the client would not spring new features. We should have allocated more manpower to the Cold Fusion side of development. We should not have used Microsoft Word as our GUI prototyping tool. We should have concentrated on learning the proper materials for our particular assignments.† We should have modeled the database differently to accommodate for the specialized querying.
What worked and what didnít work:
††††††††† We didnít implement a querying ability to the Global System log. Our log could have been more intricate. We didnít use system passwords (NT / UNIX) to authenticate logins because we were running on the Cold Fusion server that was outside the Computer Science Department. We made no effort to integrate with legacy datasources to extract schedule and personnel information; hence we had to populate the database by hand using the web forms. There was an issue with the availability of Microsoft Access 2000 within the Computer Science department, therefore that presented a problem when we wanted to access the database in the group meetings. It took contact with the Cold Fusion server administratorís boss to get the datasource mounted.
††††††††† Use of separate tables for the User and Schedule worked well with late modifications and extensibility. Our modular design worked will work well in case there needed to be future enhancements to our product. Testing process was thorough and caught a number of minor bugs. We had a well laid out web site to document all of our team activities. Email was a vital communication medium that worked well in our favor and it eliminated unnecessary face-to-face meetings. The rich web application environment provided by Cold Fusion got rid of a lot of low-level development responsibilities. Cold Fusion serverís integration with ODBC made queries relatively easy.† The richness of the relational model made it great to work with. Our presentations to the class went well and were effective in generating class interest.
††††††††† In conclusion our project went well and we learned valuable lessons about the Software Engineering process. We would have made small changes, but overall we thought that we made good decisions and we came out on top.