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Thesis Report - Usable and Adaptable Business Software

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Thesis Report - Usable and Adaptable Business Software

by lvanderree » Thu Sep 25, 2008 6:49 pm

Hi Guys,

after many many hours of writing, I can finally present you my thesis report.

Its subject is "Usable and Adaptable Business Software"
and describes the process of my graduation project.

This is the final version, some chapters have been updated after my draft.


Wednesday, the 8th of October I will have my defence at the TU Delft.


Abstract


---------------------

Background: To be able to adapt to the fast changing markets, companies require flexible systems to support them in their daily business. Instead, most Enterprise Support Software is made for a specific task, not designed to match the needs of a specific company, let alone adapt to changing requirements. To test if this can be changed, the question in this project is: Is it possible to simplify the development of business software, without being restricted in possibilities, to be able to create custom business software that is usable and adaptable? In this project a solution will be developed that will be used in a case study in order to answer this question.

Case study: T. E. Johnston & Co (Holland) b.v. is a small company active in the harbour of Rotterdam. They are a cargo superintendent company, supervising the surveys of transshipments of edible oils for their clients. They outsource tasks to external surveyors as well as laboratories, collect their results and combine these in a survey-report, containing quantity and quality checks. To support them in this, they use standard office applications and paper based records to maintain overviews and create reports. This requires them to enter the same data repetitively in several documents. They are therefore looking for an application that can reduce this overhead and prevent them from making errors. Since there are no existing solutions to support them in their activities, they would like to take part in this project and see if a supporting application can be created. Their work process was being investigated and in consultation with them requirements for a support system were set up. Based on this a design was made that, after approval, was implemented.

Methods: Two requirements that companies commonly set are support for their workflow when managing their entities (like products and clients) and keeping an overview of these. Tools and solutions were searched to fulfil these, while allowing for a reduced development time and improved maintainability, so current and future specifications of a company can more easily be incorporated. A technique called 'administration generation' was found, that introduces an abstraction layer to reduce the repetitive tasks seen during development. Unfortunately no implementation of it was found that completely matched all the requirements. Therefore it was decided to use the fully pluggable PHP framework Symfony, in combination with the very flexible JavaScript framework Ext JS. Symfony has an implementation of the 'administration generation'-technique and allows to extend it to make it match the requirements, while Ext JS is integrated to improve the user experience. Both Symfony and Ext JS are known because of their good documentation and active community, which turned out to be very valuable.

Results: At the moment a plugin for Symfony has been released as open-source software and is already used within several companies to support them with their business. It is capable of generating detailed edit- and general overview-screens of a company's data, which for T. E. Johnston & Co (Holland) b.v. means they now only have to enter data once to automatically get overviews and be able to generate reports based on their requirements. The adaptability has already proven itself, when after testing adjusted requirements could be implemented within a day.


(original thesis was attached here and generated 486 downloads, but for some reason the file got corrupt, so please find new download a couple of messages below)
Leon
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Re: Thesis Report - Usable and Adaptable Business Software

by sembada » Sun Feb 08, 2009 12:32 am

It's been a while, but I want to download this document. Is this document still available for download? Coz, I always get message Server Error when downloading. :?~ :-?~ :???:

Thanks
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Re: Thesis Report - Usable and Adaptable Business Software

by halfer » Sun Feb 08, 2009 2:36 pm

Yes, it doesn't work for me either.

A quick search reveals that you may be able to send lvanderree a private message here:

https://extjs.com/forum/member.php?u=12834

I imagine that they would be happy to send it to you.
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Re: Thesis Report - Usable and Adaptable Business Software

by lvanderree » Sun Feb 08, 2009 3:00 pm

I read these messages as well ;)~ ;-)~ :wink:

Don't know why it isn't working anymore, but I have uploaded it again, attached to this message.

Feel free to ask/discuss things, or provide other feedback.

Regards
Leon
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[The extension pdf has been deactivated and can no longer be displayed.]

Leon
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Re: Thesis Report - Usable and Adaptable Business Software

by halfer » Sun Feb 08, 2009 3:12 pm

Thanks lvanderree, hadn't seen your nick around for a while, so wasn't sure if you were still getting reply alerts.

Btw - love the introductory cartoon! I think that will go on the wall at work :D~ :-D~ :grin:
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Re: Thesis Report - Usable and Adaptable Business Software

by lvanderree » Sun Feb 08, 2009 3:25 pm

I am still very much a live and kicking.

After my graduation I put the sfExtjsThemePlugin slightly on hold: can't look at it fultime++ anymore, but KRavEN is still working on it and I don't plan to say goodbye neither. however I am now working fulltime and still using Symfony, but we aren't using extjs, nor generators here.

I am planning to start my own company soon, with this extjs-generator.

Features KRavEN and me will be working on are integration in Sf1.2 and dbFinder, or the new sfGridPlugin from Bschussek.

DbFinder still has some issues that need to be solved, like compatibility with the 1.2 generator style and its limitation to handle many FKs to one foregn table (probably by adding aliasses for relations.)
Leon
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Re: Thesis Report - Usable and Adaptable Business Software

by sembada » Mon Feb 09, 2009 4:15 am

Great quick reply. And your link this time is working, thanks a lot for this. Halfer was right, your cartoon introduction is awesome.

Many thanks again
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Re: Thesis Report - Usable and Adaptable Business Software

by patricia39 » Mon Sep 06, 2010 4:09 am

I have wished to download your thesis which entitled "Usable and Adaptable Business Software". Because as a computer related students and soon will be graduated, I need to create my own thesis also. And I wanted your thesis to be my inspiration and get some idea of it. Thank you!

[mod: sig deleted, likely link spam -- locking account, get in touch with me if your interest in symfony is genuine]
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Re: Thesis Report - Usable and Adaptable Business Software

by lvanderree » Mon Sep 06, 2010 9:50 am

Apparently the new forum does not allow to offer pdf-files, but I think linking to the original location does work: http://oldforum.symfony-project.org/index.php/fa/1028/
Else I'll have to find a new place to host the document.

Good luck with your thesis!
Leon
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