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Creating a new system for a freelance architect who designs private homes for clients.

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

                Eoin O’Riordan

Eoin O’Riordan

First Draft


Analysis        

Appropriate problem        3

Problem statement        

End user Requirements        

Resources available        

Info flow        

Data dynamics        

User skills and training needs        

Evaluation criteria        

Design        

Range of Approaches        

Possible Solution        

Work plan        

Test plan        

Implementation        

Testing        

Test Results        

User Testing        

User documentation        

Evaluation        


Analysis

Problem statement

My end user will be Mr. Eamon O’Riordan, a freelance architect who designs private homes for clients.

Although Mr. O’Riordan is freelance here on the island he works in conjunction with a company called IJM (Irish. Joinery. Monaghan.). Mr. O’Riordan also advertises under IJM, information about IJM can be found at www.ijm.ie

Mr. O’Riordan currently does all his work by hand from designs to paperwork to past records. Mr. O’Riordan is interested in computerising most of his business so that he will be able to do costing forecasts, invoices, pricing and to be able to keep a record of all the clients.

The system will store information on the following:

  • Details on the customer including name, current address, address of house to be built, etc
  • Details of the house to be built including address of plot, costings, construction information

Current System

Mr. O’Riordan currently does most of his work by hand including invoices, pricing forecasts, client records, etc.

Mr. O’Riordan does use Microsoft Word to type out most of the outgoing work on a pre made letterhead.

The Problems that Mr. O’Riordan has expressed about his current system are as follows:

  • Typing out data for each client is time consuming.
  • Keeping records for each custom takes up much office space, being able to keep the records saved in one directory would be both convenient for finding past records and for saving office space.
  • Calculating costing takes longer by hand, have the prices on a computer system and just selecting each phase of construction will produce quick and professional costings

Interview with End-User

End user Requirements

The main aims for my system as desired by the end-user are to do the following:

  • Reduce the amount of paper work required by Mr. O’Riordan, this will be done by:
  • Having a system that can calculate costing forecasts.
  • Being able to produce and address an invoice.
  • Have the ability to save all the records of a client to be used at a later date.
  • The saved records must be simply to retrieve.
  • Past records must be printable.
  • The system must be user friendly.
  • The aim of the system is to streamline Mr. O’Riordan’s business as a whole.
  • The system must have a professional look and feel.

Resources available

The database system will be created using two separate computers based several miles away from each other using a portable zip drive that can store up to 100Mb of information to transfer data between the two computers. The third computer is a laptop owned by Mr. O’Riordan and it is this system that the final database will be used on.  

School: The computers in school combined with my computer at home will be the two computers that will be used to create the database.

Processor – Intel Pentium 4 1.8Ghz

Memory – 256Mb Ram

Hard Drive – 40 Gigabyte

Floppy – 1.44’’ Standard Floppy

CD-Drive – 56x CDROM Drive

Printer – Epson Stylus C70

Operating System – Windows 98

Business Software – Microsoft Office 2000

Internet Connection with Explorer

Home: My computer at home will be the central computer for creating the database it will always have an up to data version of the database during creation. As both the laptop and my computer can be networked together for easy transfer of data this will make testing of the system on the laptop easier.  

Processor – Intel Pentium 4 2Ghz

Memory – 512Mb Ram

Hard Drive – 60 Gigabyte

Floppy – 1.44’’ Standard Floppy

CD-Drive – 16x DVDROM Drive

Printer – HP Desk-jet 840cc

Operating System – Windows XP Professional

Business Software – Microsoft Office 2002

ADSL Internet Connection with Explorer

Laptop: Mr. O’Riordan’s laptop along with mine will the used to operate the final system. As they can be networked together for quick and easy transfer of data.

Processor – Intel Celeron 700Mhz

Memory – 64Mb Ram

Hard Drive – 20 Gigabyte

Floppy – 1.44’’ Standard Floppy

CD-Drive – 56x CDROM Drive

Printer – HP Desk-jet 840c

Operating System – Windows 98

Business Software – Microsoft Office 2002

ADSL Internet Connection with Explorer


Info flow

Input, Processing and Output

Input:

  • The end-user enters the clients details such as, name, address, telephone, etc.
  • The end-user enters details n the house to be built, plot address, construction information.
  • Enter prices of construction phases.

Processing:

  • Calculating cost of construction both with and with out VAT.
  • Transfer data entered in tables into printable reports with a letterhead, footer, logo, etc.

Output:

  • Print outs of invoices, construction forecasts, customer details, construction details.

Data Flow Diagrams


Data dynamics

Qualitative

  • The system must be simple to use yet have a professional appearance.
  • The system must be easy to navigate containing some professional shortcuts
  • The system must produce professional reports complete with the company letterhead.

Quantitative

  • The order database should be able to find customers’ details by Name.
  • The order database should be able to find a constructed house by Address.
  • The database should show a list of customers showing name, Address of house constructed, current address if different.
  • The database should allow the user to add/edit construction phases, customer details with little hassle.
  • The database should allow the user to amend current details.
  • A list showing all customers should be viewable.
  • The databases containing customers and construction details should be printable.
  • The invoice must be easy to read, yet contain all the necessary information and have a professional look.

User skills and training needs

Mr. O’Riordan has minimal training in the use of Microsoft Access. Mr. O’Riordan has some experience in the use of Windows, Word, Power point and Excel.

Before using this system Mr. O’Riordan will need training in the use of Microsoft Access, as well as a tutorial in the use of this system. A user guide will accompany the system with a step by step tutorial on of the use, modify and update the system.  


Evaluation criteria

When evaluating the system I will look at the following aspects:

  • The ease of the system. It must be easy to use. The design of it must be so that training on it is minimal.
  • The user interface. The interface must be simple yet professional as to allow a user to quickly navigate the system.
  • Quality of the output from the system
  • Time saving features such as shortcut buttons, macro functions.
  • The accuracy of the output from the system
  • Speed of processing of the system
  • The accuracy of the system. The database data must be accurate. This is to ensure that there are no incorrect prices/invoices.
  • The layout and appearance of the system. It must have a professional and appealing look. There should be a company logo/letterhead on the main screen, and on the top of every invoice printed.
  • The compliance of the system. It must be fully compliant with Mr. O’Riordan’s current Operating System and software, and it must run smoothly and efficiently on his computers.

Design


Range of Approaches (Incomplete)

To decide which software package to use to create the most effective database I will look at some of the most commonly used packages and look at the advantages and disadvantages of each.

The systems that I will be looking at are:

  • Microsoft Access
  • Filemaker Pro
  • Oracle
  • SQL Anywhere
  • IMB DB2
...read more.

Middle

This provides the ability to view and manage related information, such as sales by region and sales from a particular sales representative. The data appears in a collapsible hierarchical format when creating Data Access Pages.

Data Access Pages Toolbox: A toolbox is provided in the Data Access Page design environment for creating controls. Users can easily drag and drop each tool as needed.

Field List: The Field List enables users to easily add information to a Data Access Page view simply by dragging and dropping the field names from an easily accessible list. Each field is bound to the data by maintaining a direct live link to the data from the Data Access Page.

Hyperlink Handling: Access 2000 offers an improved hyperlink interface to make it easier to create, edit, follow and remove hyperlinks in databases.

Integration of Shared Components: Access takes advantage of the new Office Web Components and COM controls that reside within the browser to provide users with several ways to view and analyze data.

Microsoft SQL Server Interoperability: Microsoft Access 2000 supports OLE DB, allowing users to combine the ease of use of the Access interface with the scalability of back-end enterprise databases, such as Microsoft SQL Server.

Microsoft Access Project: The Access interface can create a new file type (.adp) that connects directly to the integrated store available in Office, SQL Server 6.5, or SQL Server 7.0. This makes it simple for Access users to create true client/server applications using the familiar interface in Access.

Microsoft Access Project Wizards: Many popular Access wizards have been updated to support the new Access Project tasks, such as creating a new database, report, or form.

Microsoft Access Project Design Tools: When working in a Microsoft Access Project file (.adp)

...read more.

Conclusion

Advanced Conflict Detection and Resolution If the same data set is updated at more than one site, a conflict can arise. SQL Anywhere Studio includes proven, easy to set up conflict detection and programmable resolution to ensure that data is kept consistent throughout the company. Because the master copy of data is stored in the consolidated database, all conflict resolution is carried out at the consolidated site, thus ensuring consistent enforcement of business rules for all updates.

System Requirements and Supported Platforms

  • Windows 95/98/Me, NT, 2000, XP
  • Windows CE (Pocket PC/Handheld PC)
  • Novell NetWare
  • Solaris/SPARC
  • Linux
  • Deployment options for HP-UX, IBM AIX, Compaq Tru-64
  • Requires a minimum of 4 MB RAM and 4 KB per client connection (8 KB for UNIX)

Possible Solution

For creation of this database system I have decided to use Microsoft Access. My decision for this is due to a number of reasons, these are as follows:

  • All of the computers that I will be using already have Microsoft Office installed so both the cost of buying this program and the training will not be a factor.
  • After looking at filemaker and SQL I have decided that the advantages that these systems offer do not compensate for the disadvantages.
  • The more advanced programs such as Oracle and DB2 although offer some advanced features that would benefit Mr. O’Riordan are far too expensive for a small business.
  • Mr. O’Riordan already has some minimal experience with Access and so training for Microsoft Access would be a minimum.
  • Apart from a BeSpoke Microsoft Access would be the best for meeting Mr. O’Riordan’s end user requirements.

  • Work plan

Test plan


Implementation


Testing

Test Results


 User Testing


User documentation


Evaluation

...read more.

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