Choosing and Describing Applications.

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Coursework Documentation file        Appendix 2

To create my application I used a range of different hardware and software programs. I used a micro desktop computer, VDE / CRT Monitor, a standard keyboard and a mouse as my hardware components. For software I built my application in Excel, I used paint to edit the image I have included in my application. I have also used Microsoft Word for the Mail Merge component of my application. There are many other types of software I could have used. I could have used another program to create my application, such as Database or another Spreadsheet software, like Microsoft Works Spreadsheet / Database. By using these I would still have the function of entering formulas and process’, but there aren’t as many features on either of these software’s compared to Excel. As the image I have placed into my application is not a photo and all I wanted to do was paint on top of the image I used paint. Although if I wanted to edit the image or distort it there are many different software’s that all hold different features, Imaging, Photo Suite, Kodak Photos editor. I think that I choose the most effective pieces of software; Microsoft Excel gives me more options to create a more aesthetically pleasing product. I can create Macros that save time and are an asset to my program as they are useful and easy for the user to use. I used Microsoft Words to create my letters as it has the Mail Merge feature, which means I can create multiple letters, that contain the same information but the address and name is different on each one. The information for the address’ etc is taken from an already existing database.

If I didn’t have to use of ICT, and had to create a similar system there are other way of filing the information. My store would need a till, which doesn’t need to use ICT. For my database of customers I would use a small filing box with cards and write their name and number, then place them in alphabetical order. For stock take, I would also use a filing system but I may use a filing cabinet, as I would need to add information to each folder constantly so I would dedicate a folder to each product. I would possible use a temporary stock take method and then update my folders every week or month, a washable tally table that I could update every day.

Whilst building this application there are many different subsystems we need to consider, data files, logos, images, letters etc where we might have to use different hardware to help enable the process.

 Throughout the building time I considered using lots of different hard wares, the main ones I thought about where the different ways of including pictures and trying to make the application a more pleasant thing to use. For pictures, there is the digital camera in which you can take pictures, download them and edit them on the computer. I could use already taken photos or pictures and scanned them in. Otherwise there is the Internet to take pictures from, where you must save the picture into your folder before using it. The digital camera is a good output, it is mobile so you can take it anywhere to get pictures you might not be able to find anywhere else. I, personally, find the scanner restricting; the quality of the image afterward isn’t always that good. I must remember that this piece of work it is an application to be used by staff in a shop, I choose to carry on the theme that I used for my website, Therefore I wanted to use a similar image as my logo. I scanned the Internet and found a similar picture to that of last time. I had to edit my image, and I did this on paint. I used a mouse and another clipart image to create the final piece. The mouse is an output device, it is very suitable as it is easily to use and is designed to be used in nearly any application on a computer.

For the text in my application I am going to use a keyboard and mouse. There aren’t any other possible outputs available to me. If it was possible you could of used a microphone headset and speak what you want to be written down, yet then you would still need a mouse and the problems with those is you have to pre-record every word and it doesn’t always type the word you want. When using the keyboard and mouse, the keyboard will be used to type and the mouse to edit any text, for example if I had to move or copy any text I would use the mouse, this is because it is easy and simple.

In my program I will have to create some data files, there are a few possibilities to this, I could either open up a separate spreadsheet or I could use another sheet, within the document. I have chosen to use a different sheet within the spreadsheet, this way all my data is keep together. There is one drawback to this, if my document is deleted or destroyed in any way, not only would I have lost my system but also my data. To stop this from happening, I will make sure that I regularly save my work whilst building.

General when creating a program, there are other hardware outputs that could be used, but these are often very impractical, like a joystick. It has all the necessaries but is difficult to use and a mouse / keyboard is simpler. I will be using a printer at the end of my work, it isn’t really relevant to building the program but will help if I need to proof read any of my work, this way I can check for any spelling or grammar mistakes before I hand in the final piece.

Looking at the components above, we also have to consider the software that we want to use. There where a number of different options I could of used for each of these but it was matter of analysing the qualities of each one to find the best one in each case. There is one main software package that I am using to build my application. This is Excel; I have used a spreadsheet and many of the aspects of Excel whilst building. There are other programs that I could have possibly used; I could have used Word, Publisher or PowerPoint. If I used PowerPoint I could have created links throughout each page, similar to creating a macro within Excel. I also could of used Microsoft Works / spreadsheet, which would have worked in a similar way to Excel, the functions in holds is useful and effective – but there aren’t as many functions as Excel. The advantage of using Excel is that I have facilities to make the application look aesthetically pleasing; by introducing colours although I can take the gridlines away from works spreadsheet too. All of these applications have useful aspects and devices that could be adapted to help us. The reason I choose Excel is because I can store my data along with the system rather than having to store it somewhere else, if I used Word I would probably have to store the information in a spreadsheet, within another document. Using the cells it helps keep my data in order as well. Another useful thing about Excel is that you can make the program fit the size of your screen Word and Publisher don’t do this; they fit different paper sizes, A4, A5 etc. Although another advantage of using PowerPoint is that you can make the application fit the size of your screen, and you can to back and forward throughout the application, like I did in my store guide in Year 10. Excel is good as I can create Macros and use things such as Validation or Filters; all of these aspects make it easier for the user, which is very important. On Works Spreadsheet you can’t use VLOOUP formulas, or IF statements. All of these simply formulas make the process a lot faster and easier.

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The other software I have used whilst building so far is Paint. Things like text where typed straight into the program, straight into the desired cells. Another good thing about using Excel is that there is no storage limitation, so I could use any sort of image and not have to worry about making sure it has a small storage size. For my logo, all I wanted was a fun image, like a cartoon character, and also along the lines of my website. I used the Internet to find an image and edited it on Paint. I could of ...

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