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.
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.
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)