Web Page Rating system. This is used to capture feedback from visitors to the web page and send the information to the database server where further processing of the information for data quality and web page improvements are conducted. This project focus is on implementing an effective and easy method of capturing the user information and sending it to the database server
The aim of this project is to analyse the critical nature of web site rating and create an easy and effective method of capturing end-user opinion in the form of feedback to send it to the server for analysis.
The aforementioned aim of the project is accomplished through the following objectives
a. Create a front end for the web page rating system to capture the client-entered data.
b. Design the table to store the captured information in the appropriate format.
c. Create the codes to transfer the data from the client computer to the database server.
The growth in electronic commerce has increased tremendously since the dawn of the twenty-first century that the need to effectively communicate the message is essential to stay competitive in the cyberspace. This is apparently because of the fact that not the internet is used as a promotion device for thee products and services provided by a company but also a mode of sales to generate revenue at substantial levels as argued by Efrium Turban et al (2004) . This makes it clear that the effectiveness in the information communicated is critical to retain the customers and complete a transaction successfully. Philip Kotler and Kevan Lane Keller (2004) further argue that in the electronic commerce the only tool for communication is the information presented in the WebPages which further makes the content of the website critical to promote sales of the products and services both at the high street and over the internet.
In the light of the above arguments, it is thus clear that continuous monitoring of the content of a website used by an organization to promote its sales on the cyberspace is essential. Similar to the collection of feedback from customers on the services provided by a high street seller, the website rating is also essential to maintain effectiveness in the information used for communication.
In order to transfer the information from a webpage to a centrally stored database server, one of the effective methods is the use of the .Net framework where the secure transfer and storage of data is palpable at an optimum expense of time and money.
In a more technical level, the in the form of feedback is captured from the users using a web form embedded in the html web page of the website. The form is created using ASP.Net in order to ensure secure transfer of data and its storage. The data so entered by the user is captured using an even handler which transfers the data to the database server of the website rating system.
Since the rating system can be used as an assessing tool for a single website as well as a tool to compare the performance of more than one website under the same category, the option of storing the information from a single website is dealt with in this project.
The database server is created using SQL Server where the data is stored in a central table which can be accessed by other analytical applications as server-side implementation. The technical details of the database as well as the .Net method used for the development of the system are discussed in the project report.
The technical requirements to meet the project aim of implementing a website rating system to capture information from a web form in a HTML web page, transfer it to a database server for analysis is listed below
1. Microsoft .Net Framework for the deployment of the web projects in an integrated manner.
2. HTML and XML 1.0 for the development of the web page content for capturing the information from the visitors to the website.
3. Microsoft SQL Server to design and deploy the database for storing the information in the table for further analysis using server-side implementations.
Apart from the aforementioned technical elements, a specific requirement is to capture the nature of the information that should be requested as feedback from the visitors to a website and the appropriate method of standardising the information. This is because of the fact that only by using a dataset that can be checked against a specific method of arrangement, effective analysis can be performed to derive near accurate results on the quality of information presented by the website as argued by Efrium Turban et al (2004). In order accomplish the abovementioned, a critical analysis on the nature of information that would attribute to the quality of information and the website as a whole is essential as part of the project design itself.
The overall time scale for the completion of the project is estimated to be 20 days. The project is completed in three stages as presented below
This is the stage where the overall project designs both at a high level and at the operational level is drafted. The analysis of the information that should be captured in for web page rating is also conducted at this stage, which will reflect in the design drafted for development. It is estimated that the duration to complete this phase will be 10 days. The allocation of 50% of the overall time for the design itself signifies the emphasis on the need for an effective design to ensure efficient data manipulation and transfer of information to the server.
The development of the system in itself comprises of two stages as described below
The database deployment
The database development for this application involves the installation of the database server and the creation of the database itself. This is followed by the creating the necessary tables for capturing the information sent by the client web page. Since the client node is not a constant entity and the connection of the client to the server is not only unique for every computer that sends the feedback information across the globe, but also the connection itself is of short duration, it is essential to develop a stable and quickly responding database server for the requirements. The duration for completion of this phase in the development stage is estimated to 3 days.
The front-end development or the client part of the application is then developed to capture the data items declared in the database. The client is developed as a fat-client to quick completion of the data transfer whilst ensuring the security of the data transferred. The duration to complete this phase of the stage is estimated at 4 days.
The application so developed is tested using the stand-alone computers across a network for its performance in order to ensure the effective and quick transfer of data from the client to the server. A total duration of 3 days is allocated for this stage of the project prior to demonstration.
Efrium Turban et al, (2004), Electronic commerce 2004 : a managerial perspective, Upper Saddle River, N.J. : Pearson/Prentice Hall, 2004
Philip Kotler and Kevan Lane Keller (2005), Marketing Management 12e, Prentice Hall India
Project Final Report
1: Title – Web Page Rating System
I hereby extend my thanks to my tutor and university technical support staff for providing timely support and help in developing this application. Also I would like to thank my supervisor for his valuable suggestions without which this project wouldn’t have got shape. Finally I thank my friends and family for their immense support throughout the course of this project.
Title Page No
1: Title – Web Page Rating System 4
3: Acknowledgements 4
5: Abstract 5
6: Introduction 5
7: Aim and Objectives 6
8. Deliverables 6
9. Technical Background and Context 7
10. Technical Approach 10
11. Results and Discussion 12
12. Conclusions and Recommendations for Further Work. 13
13. Bibliography and References 14
14: Planning 16
Appendix 1 17
Appendix 2 18
Technical Manual 22
The project aims to capture the critical information that attributes to the quality of service and information communicated to the customers by a website. The method is accomplished through the development of a web page rating system as a web form which is part of a web page which when filled by the visitor will send the information to the database server where the information is stored for further analysis using server-side applications. The system uses the benefit of Microsoft .Net framework for design and development in order to accomplish effective management of the system and integration with the main website application easily. Microsoft SQL Server 2005 Express Edition serves the purpose of the database server for the application whilst the client side application is developed using Microsoft Visual Studio 2005 Express Edition for .Net Framework. The system is designed to capture the rating information for a single website although a separate system for capturing multiple website rating is also palpable with slight modification.
Web-based sales and electronic commerce is growing in geometric progression in the recent years as argued by John Ward and Joe Peppard (2002) . The potential of breaking the geographical barrier in terms of the pre-sales and service up to the point of completing the transaction using the electronic commerce has put the technology into extensive use for developing secure and effective application for transfer of information.
Although the process of completing transaction over the Internet seems apparently easy, the ability to attract and above all retain a visitor to the website in order to convert it to a sales transaction depends upon the information communicated by the website as argued by Efrium Turban et al (2004). This makes it clear that the effectiveness in the communication (i.e.) the marketing communication is a critical element in the success of the website in becoming a potential generator of revenue for an organization.
Furthermore, the fact that the marketing on an Internet website does lacks the human element which further increases the burden on the actual information communicated by the website to perform the marketing effectively to generate sales. Hence it is important to ensure the quality of information and the performance of the website itself in order to ensure the effectiveness of the website as a potential selling tool for an organization.
This project aims to develop an effective website rating system that will allow the users to give their opinion on the quality of information and the performance of the website in terms of its speed and consistency which will be used for analysing the effectiveness of the website. The system is a simple client-server application that can be implemented as an add-in to any website for capturing the information on the quality of the website. The aim of the application is to provide consistent set of information for analysis using statistical tools to achieve effectiveness in the performance of a website as argued by Efrium Turban et al (2004).
Glenn J. Brookshear (2006) further argues that the effectiveness in a web-based application is predominantly dependant upon the quality of the website and its effectiveness in retaining a visitor to convert into a potential customer. The subsequent sections of this report provides an overview on the web page rating system, developed for the purpose of capturing the information from the visitors to the website.
the aim of this project is to develop a web-page rating system that captures critical information on the quality related aspects of the website and transfers it to the database server for further use by Server-side application as part of analysis.
The aim of this project is accomplished through the following objectives
Objective 1: To capture the quality related aspects of a website and standardise the mode of capturing the customer opinion on the identified aspects.
Objective 2: To design a client/server application to transfer information from the client computer node that accesses a website to the database server on the rating related information on the quality aspects identified above.
Objective 3: To develop the client –server application using Microsoft .Net Framework in order to enable quick and easy deployment as an add-in to a web page.
Objective 4: To test the application for efficient data transfer to the database server.
Objective 5: To critically reflect upon the development methodology and the project planning aspects of the project to ensure the adherence to consistency in development.
The deliverables for the project are listed below
A web-based client/server application that can transfer quality related information to the database server across the Internet. This application is deployed in the form a web form in a given web page in order to embed the application as an add-in to the overall website content which will encourage the users to provide feedback.
A project report describing the details of the application at both strategic and technical level of the development. This is the report that the reader is currently reading. The report will describe the technologies used in the development of the application and a technical review of the actual system developed to accomplish the aim of the project. The report also provides a detailed overview on the planning and interprets the codes as appropriate.
A technical user manual for configuring the application as part of the web page and connection to the database server. This is essential for the effective deployment of the end product since the entire application is aimed to be part of a web page and not a stand-alone web-application to capture rating information on websites. Alongside, the details on how to re-configure the same application for multiple websites in order to build a web-portal for website rating on websites in a given category is also provided in the manual.
This section provides a detailed overview on the technologies used and the underlying concepts in order to create an understanding of the application developed from a design strategy perspective. The two major elements discussed in this segment include the website information quality factors and the technology used in realizing the application.
The first section is the technical overview on the quality issues associated with electronic commerce.
Glenn J. Brookshear (2006) argues that the effectiveness in the information transfer is predominantly dependant upon the speed of data transfer in the application, which is dependant upon both the hardware, and the software in play. This makes it clear that although the hardware factor at the client side is beyond the scope of the website administrators, the software element can be optimised to increase the speed of the data transfer.
At a technical level the main element of the quality related to the success of an electronic commerce implementation include the usability, compatibility and speed of retrieving information from thee server ass argued by Efrium Turban et al (2004).
Usability as argued by john Ward and Joe Peppard (2003) is a factor that decides the ability of the application to run in a given client node. This makes it clear that this entity is a critical factor in rating the performance of a website that is involved in electronic commerce. This further makes it clear that the usability of an application at the client side is a critical element for the efficient completion of an electronic commerce transaction.
Furthermore, the usability of web-application also signifies the ability of the application to effectively identify the installed components in the client system for running the application. In case of the need for the download of a specific plugin, there should be minimal wastage of time and effort by the users of the computer at the client nodes. Hence usability is one of the quality measuring factors captured by the rating system developed.
Compatibility on the other hand is a far critical element for the mere visibility of the website to the users as argued by Efrium turban et al (2004). This is because of the fact that the compatibility of an application on a specific computer depends upon various factors including the operating system being used by the client computer. The storage concepts of the data at the server side and the transfer of the information for the website to become visible with all the features demands compatibility as the preliminary and important factor.
The motive of reaching a greater segment of audience increases the burden of making compatibility as a specific element in the effectiveness of the system. This is also one of the reasons for choosing the Microsoft .Net Framework for developing the application. Since the compatibility of .Net web applications are higher than the typical web-application as argued by Peter Sewell et al (2005) , the choice of using .Net as the platform for development is justified.
Alongside, the compatibility being a factor that signifies the ability to work with different devices (client computers in this case) without modification makes it clear that the .Net framework for the application development will provide a relatively common platform for a wide segment of the Internet users who use Microsoft products.
Speed is a genuine factor for any web application as argued by Dirk Beyer (2005) . This makes it clear that the speed of data retrieval with respect to the optimisation of the retrieval and transfer of data is a critical factor in the performance measurement of the website.
Apart from the above mentioned technical elements, consistency of information (i.e.) the information integrity and the ability to provide up-to-date information to the users are the factors that are technically and strategically attributed influencing the performance of a web-application.
As part of the technical overview for the project, an overview on the Database management system and the Microsoft .Net Framework used to developed the client application. The section comprises of two main sections namely relational database management system and the application development.
Relational Database Management System (RDBMS)
Relational database as the name signifies is a database management system used to establish a consistent management information system ensuring information integrity and security of data that is being manipulated by the system.
For web services as argued by Dirk Beyer (2005), not only the RDBMS is expected to maintain integrity of information according to data normalization rules but also essential to effectively serve the client requests upon authentication. The fact that the increase in the hacking and un-authorised information access has decreased the value of the electronic commerce has further increased the need to maintain security apart from the trivial requirements of speed and data integrity. This makes it clear that the chosen database application for the purpose of web page rating system which holds the data sent by the client should be capable of eliminating access to other system tables apart from the data table where the information is stored.
This is accomplished by locking the access exclusively to the information-storing table preventing the access to other tables in the system. Hence the chosen database management system for serving the aforementioned requirements is Microsoft SQL Server 2005, which supports the Microsoft .Net framework without the extensive programming and security requirements.
The MS SQL Server 2005 Express Edition is used for modelling the data transfer for this application. Since the express edition is easily extensible to the professional edition of the RDBMS without making any changes to the set-up further provides the ability to cost effectively create and demonstrate the application prior to the commercial deployment of the system. Rajesh George (2005) further argues that “SQL Server Express uses the same reliable and high-performance database engine as the other versions of SQL Server 2005”.
This makes it clear that the effectiveness of the system is managing the data access and serving the data requests from multiple clients is higher than other commercial database applications that are leading in the market. Furthermore Rajesh George (2005) further argues that the SQL Server 2005 Express ‘also uses the same data access APIs such as ADO.NET, SQL Native Client, and T-SQL’.
Rajesh George (2005) further argues that “It is very easy to "scale up" if that becomes necessary, as Express applications will work seamlessly with SQL Server 2005 Workgroup, Standard, or Enterprise editions. The Web download enables a free, fast, and convenient deployment”. This makes it clear that the effectiveness of the application developed using the express edition will not change but only increase in terms of scalability and extensibility over a bigger network.
In more detail the Engine specification of the SQL Server 2005 Express is a critical element for its efficiency over the competitors in the market. Rajesh George (2005) argues that ‘there is no hard-coded limit to the number of users that can attach to SQL Server Express’. This makes it cleat that the SQL Server Express will perform efficiently as the Standard or express edition in terms of the data transfer and management of information against unauthorised access.
On top of the technical features on the robustness of the RDBMS system, the ease of use for the developers and the database administrators is worth mentioning in this section prior to proceeding to the application software overview. Rajesh George (2005) further states “SQL Server Express is designed to be easy to use, and the graphical user interface (GUI) tools make it easy even for database novices to use the basic database functionalities in SQL Server Express.” This justifies the ease for the developers are effectively managing the application without facing the issues of faulty data transfer and managing ineffectiveness.
Microsoft .Net Framework
The client is designed using the Microsoft Visual Web Developer 2005 Express Edition. This is a free version for the developers provided by Microsoft for development of simple web-based applications involving client/server technology.
The Visual Web Developer not only has the developing features of the Enterprise edition of Visual Studio 2005 for .Net Framework but also provides an effective approach to the code optimisation and the effective removal of redundancy. Glenn J Brookshear (2006) argues that the use of visual applications to develop web-based systems provide the ability to eliminate errors due to code mismatch and syntax errors. The fact that the Visual Application monitors the syntax through live compilation of the codes as argued by Glenn J. Brookshear (2006).
For the web-page rating system discussed in this report, the data transfer is accomplished using Visual Basic .Net whilst ASP.Net monitors the actual application connection with the server for transferring the client information from a given node to the server.
The advantage of using Microsoft .Net Framework is visible here from the fact that it allows the programmer to choose a language of his/her choice to create specific parts of the application and then amalgamate them together in order to effectively manage the overall application to perform the desired tasks. Since the web form created in this case is a simple web-based client/server application transferring data to the server, the use of .Net allows the programmer to quickly integrate within a given website application either as a code segment or as an add-in to the website. This further justifies the choice of the programming language and the platform chosen to perform the client server data transfer task.
In this section a comprehensive overview on the technical deployment of the system design is presented to the reader.
The SQL Server database for the proposed application comprises of the master table where the information captured in the web form is stored for further processing by server-side applications. Hence a single table to store the information is created in the SQL database server. The table information is configured for backup using the backup and recovery features of SQL Server 2005 Express in order to accomplish continuity in the use of information for analysis.
The database server is then configured for access control and user authentication for performing effective data management and secure storage of information for analysis.
The fields in the table and their data types are listed below
Field Data Type Description
EntryID numeric(18, 0) This is a unique identifier for the record stored in the data table. The value is increased by one each time a new record is appended to the database. This field data type is similar to the auto number data type in MS Access databases.
Usability nvarchar(50) The value stored in this field is one off the items chosen from the drop down box of the web form for the field titled ‘Do you find the information in this website relevant to your needs ?’
compatibility nvarchar(50) The value stored in this field is one off the items chosen from the drop down box of the web form for the field titled ‘Is your computer able to download all the contents of this website?’
Speed nvarchar(50) The value stored in this field is one off the items chosen from the drop down box of the web form for the field titled ‘How fast does the website download?’
InformationAccuracy nvarchar(50) The value stored in this field is one off the items chosen from the drop down box of the web form for the field titled ‘How accurate do you find the information in this website ?’
[Consistency with Competition] nvarchar(50) The value stored in this field is one off the items chosen from the drop down box of the web form for the field titled ‘Is the information in this website relevant to other websites you have browsed in this category?’
The Front End Application, which is the client, developed using the Microsoft Visual Web Developer 2005 Express Edition comprises of a Web page for containing the web forms and the actual form for capturing the information from the user on the web page rating.
The web form then transfers the data to the database server when the user clicks the Send Button on the website where the information entered will be transferred to the database server tables.
In order to avoid the repetition of data being sent to the server, the Send button is disabled clicking the button once. This ensures that the user is not entering the information repeatedly to flood the table with information that affects analysis using the information gathered.
The overall application is developed as a three-tier application in order to enable the effective management of the total software system elements without affecting the entire set-up. Glenn J. Brookshear (2006) argues that the classical three-tier implementation of a system will enable the effective encapsulation of the database from the end-users and hence provide effective data management and efficient data provision for the purpose of analysis.
The three tires of the application are described below
Tier 1: This is the user front end where the web form is present as a section in a web page. The web form with its graphical user interface features forms the tier 1 for the application. This tier is the entity that also faces the users and hence it is essential to encapsulate the logics and the connection information from the user in order to prevent unauthorised access to the information.
Tier 2: This is where the business logic is deployed for the application. Thus any changes in the logic behind the storage of the information or transfer of data to the table can be committed in this section without affecting the client set-up or server design. The implementation of the business logic tier as a separate segment of the code although logically possible is not realisable since the validation of data and the transfer of information depends on either the client or the server as a base. Hence the tier 2 becomes part of either the client or the server. When the tier 2 or the business logic is implemented along with the client it is called Fat-Client as argued by Glenn J. Brookshear (2006). Appendix 2 of the report provides an overview on the code segment to perform the aforementioned tasks.
Tier 3: RDBMS – The SQL Server Database used for the purpose of storing the information sent by the users forms tier three of the application. This provides a natural cover for the database from the external data access, which is restricted through the business logic set-up in the tier 2 of the application.
Since the application is developed as a Fat-Client application where the tiers 1 and 2 are present at the client node within the Web form further justifies the efficient management of the information in the database.
Since the application logic is apparently simple due to the fact that only data transfer is involved in the system, testing of the application is not extensive in nature and hence not discussed as a separate section.
The main results for the proposed system include the effective deployment of the web form as part of a web page connected to a web server, the completion of the connection between the web services and the SQL Server 2005 Express and finally the effective data transfer from the client page to the database and storage of the information in the table.
The web server is configured as a local host of the computer on which the application was developed. This is done so in order to increase the speed of the development and testing effectiveness of the system. Alongside, the same IP address is used to access the application from other nodes in a network of over 25 computers in order to test the capability of the application to load quickly without any errors. This phase of the testing was completed successfully and hence the front-end web service creation to capture information is completed.
The connection to the database server is verified once the web page is loaded without any errors on the desktop accessed. Hence a separate connection testing is not conducted since the data transfer will justify the establishment of the connection between the databa