6 Replies - 2387 Views - Last Post: 21 May 2012 - 12:49 PM

#1 jedichi  Icon User is offline

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Designing a Software Application

Posted 21 May 2012 - 11:49 AM

OK, not sure if this is the correct posting place, sorry. I'm looking for advice on how to Design and build a software application for my workshop. We are currently using a system that is really poor, and given that i'm half way through a degree in IT with very basic programming knowledge (mainly in VBA and HTML), i would like to build one myself for experience. However, given that this is my first time, ive no idea where to start.

I want to approach this from a project management view (i.e. following the steps a typical project manager would use in the design of the system) then try and program/build the whole thing myself.

The system would be used to virtually track items of equipment using asset tags through a workshop, then keep track of them on the database, so we can keep tabs on where they are etc. Also i would like there to be stock management included to show when certain stock is low and I would like a GUI to control this in the easiest way possible, due to the staff being not overly IT literate.

I have got hold of microsoft Visual studio 2010, but have no clue what to do next? should i use access or SQL for the databases? how would i go about designing my GUI?

I realise this is a very non specific post, and as such i would like someone to point me in the appropriate direction so i can find some good answers.

Thanks for any help

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Replies To: Designing a Software Application

#2 blackcompe  Icon User is offline

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Re: Designing a Software Application

Posted 21 May 2012 - 12:03 PM

There certainly isn't any easy way to go about explaining how to do this. You're tackling a real project, which requires a plan, documentation, etc. i.e. a software methodology. So far you've got a solid project overview, but you need a lot more than that. IT/CS majors take entire courses on how to document a project. What exactly is a equipment asset tag? I'm thinking of a wireless gps locator that tracks the location of something....? What does the tag have to do with the system? Is there a system operator, who interacts with a customer and records where the equipment is going? Or can you think of this system as an analogue of a library information system, where the equipment is books and locations are various libraries through the school/county/etc? There's just so much be asked.

The technology is easy, but you need a solid game plan before thinking about implementation. You will need a database. You should think about whether you want a web-based system, cloud-based system, etc. Those decisions might be affected by accessibility/maintenance/platform requirements. For instance, it may be necessary that your users can use the system from anywhere, and so you'd want a web-based solution. You may have strict uptime and scalability requirements, and so a cloud-based solution may be attractive.

My point is you'll get fried if you jump into implementation to early. Take some time to write functional requirements. It's really worth it to read a book that takes you through the complete lifecycle of a simple project. I recommend Object-Oriented and Classical Software Engineering.

This post has been edited by blackcompe: 21 May 2012 - 12:10 PM

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#3 modi123_1  Icon User is online

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Re: Designing a Software Application

Posted 21 May 2012 - 12:10 PM

Quote

I have got hold of microsoft Visual studio 2010, but have no clue what to do next?

Stop and spend time writing out all the needed functionality. Then ask someone in the shop if they can take the list and review it.. if there's anything they think is not needed or should be added make the right changes.

After that you then group functionality and work on what data you'll be collecting. Look into how the users are going to input into the program and so forth. Arrange the gui based on most used features, buttons, and common functionality concepts present in things like Word, Excel, or other common office applications.

Plan out that database.

Finalize the gui layout.


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should i use access or SQL for the databases? how would i go about designing my GUI?

How many instances of the application will be hitting the database? One? Two? Preferably you would use something like MSSQL express over access.
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#4 DarenR  Icon User is offline

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Re: Designing a Software Application

Posted 21 May 2012 - 12:14 PM

After you gather all the information on how you want the program to work--- draw a flow chart so you can get a visual idea as to how all the pieces should work together. Draw up mocks of gui's and how the user would enter the information as well as what you want the user to be able to see. Just remeber this isnt something that will be done over night or in a month.
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#5 jedichi  Icon User is offline

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Re: Designing a Software Application

Posted 21 May 2012 - 12:38 PM

WOW! lots to think about there. Right, the system is used to keep a track of items of EPOS equipment that are sent to us from our many locations around the country. An Asset tag, is basically a unique identifier that is used to locate it on the system for stock purposes.

I have been using our current system for 12 months everyday and all that time i have been quietly writing what would improve the system or make a new system much better and improve the usability and functionality of the new system. The system is also used for keeping track of stock items, parts for repairs and consumables, and i would like to integrate this also.

An easy way to see the system is that the workshop is made up of a number of locations,

Booking in
Awaiting Repair
Workshop
Awaiting Parts
Completed Goods

The stock is booked in using its unique ID at booking in then moved phsically to one of the above areas for either repair or to await a request from field engineers for fitting in a store.

At anytime i want to be able to find an item, Each item will have a repair history that can be accessed to show previous repair, parts can be manually assigned to items for repair cost calculation etc.

I realise this is an incredibly skimmed over version but im working my way through this a little at a time, and trying like hell to make sure my project has all that it needs. I'm pretty sure i can cover all i need as regards to the details , its just the actual tech side i'm a bit clueless about.

It would be nice to eventually have it web based so that our nationwide engineers can acces it through PDA's but this is above my understanding as yet.

Im basically trying to integrate our company under one system and do away with the paper.

Thanks for the help so far.
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#6 DarenR  Icon User is offline

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Re: Designing a Software Application

Posted 21 May 2012 - 12:39 PM

pdas still exist? :bananaman:
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#7 jedichi  Icon User is offline

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Re: Designing a Software Application

Posted 21 May 2012 - 12:49 PM

Ha Ha yeah apparently so!
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