Finished Web App

Today I finally uploaded the finished version of our web application to my dakar server:

Screen Shot 2015-04-15 at 14.25.58

 

As you can see, the CSS involved in making the website was very simple, as I wanted to focus completely on the PHP, and making sure the website ran alongside the database.
As far as functionality is concerned, the website does almost everything we initially wanted it to. Users are able to:

  • create an account
  • login
  • view existing holidays
  • sort them by ‘rating’ or ‘date added’
  • add a new holiday (only if they’re logged in)
  • logout

The website also features the ‘About us’ page which I discussed here.

Unfortunately, there were also a few things we were unable to achieve, including:

  • uploading an image along with the holiday
  • searching for holidays using tags
  • clicking through on an individual holiday to view more details

Overall, I am quite pleased with the functionality of the final project, although with more time I would have liked to improve upon the CSS and make it a more visually appealing website. This project has definitely helped me improve my PHP skills drastically, as I now have a good understanding of what it can be used to do, and how to use the code to its full potential.

 

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Net Neutrality

What would our digital media environment look like without Net Neutrality. Who is for Net Neutrality and why and who is against it and why?

Net Neutrality is the idea that all forms of communication on the internet should be treated equally (Honan, 2015). Similarly, the idea of the ‘open internet’, was defined by the FCC (2015) as an internet where “consumers can go where they want, when they want”

The idea of an open internet has been challenged multiple times, most notably in 2011, when the US Government attempted to pass the SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) and PIPA (Protect Intellectual Property Act) bills. These “propose that anyone found guilty of streaming copyrighted content without permission 10 or more times within six months should face up to five years in jail” (BBC, 2012). Due to outside situations in the US Government, voting on these bills was postponed, and no agreement on them has yet been reached.

In 2012, the FCC began considering the value of Net Neutrality being required by law. This caused many people to voice their opinions, both for and against, Net Neutrality. Everyday users of the internet are the primary advocates of keeping the internet neutral, as changes to the way they interact with the internet will affect them greatly. Ammori (2014) outlines the basis of the argument for Net Neutrality, saying the Government has two choices, “allow the Internet to remain an a engine of innovation, a platform for speech in even the harshest tyrannies, and a unified connection for people across the globe — or cede control of the Internet to service providers motivated by their parochial interests.”  ISP providers on the other hand, could benefit greatly without Net Neutrality, as they could then limit their users access to certain sites, offering them for a set price per month, and so making a much greater profit off their users.
Ciarlo (2013) created a graphic depicting what could happen if Net Neutrality was no longer around:
Screen Shot 2015-04-16 at 12.24.45
(Screenshot from http://www.theopeninter.net/, an infographic about Net Neutrality and its benefits)

In conclusion, I believe making Net Neutrality a legal obligation is the only way for the internet to remain as free and accessible as it currently is. To allow ISP providers to alter what content they give their users would significantly decrease the quality of the internet experience.

References:

Almost Finished

This morning Billy and I made good progress on completing our web app. He has been working on the css and some php, which he uploaded to github for me to see, and I’m very pleased with our progress. We talked to Phil about some problems we were having with the web-app, including not being able to upload photographs to the database. We have been told that we don’t have permission to upload photos to the dakar server, so we’ve had to remove this option from the form. This removed several issues we were having, and so we’re well on our way to completing our web-app.

Web App Progress

It is now the last week of uni before Easter, and so I would like to be more or less finished with our web app by the end of this week, as I have no access to the dakar server over easter.

I have almost finished the php and backend database work for the project, although there are a few problems which I’m struggling to figure my way around. I’m hoping these will be sorted out in the next few days. All the code I have done so far has been uploaded to github. Billy has been working on the css for our site, and I think he’s almost finished, although he hasn’t uploaded the files to github so I’m not exactly sure how far on he is. The third member of our group, Bankole, is yet to contribute anything towards the website, and rarely turns up to our workshops.

This has made completing the project on time fairly stressful, as it is a lot of work to do between two people, but if we spend a lot of time on it this week it should hopefully be finished by Friday.

 

 

Database Structure Implemented

 

I have now created the database structure that I sketched on paper, in phpmyadmin, although I had to make some changes. Because of my limited PHP knowledge, there are some limitations on the project, and so some fields had to be removed. The same two tables as I initially planned were created, ‘User’ and ‘Holiday’.

The ‘User’ table remained the same as the initial plan, as it was a fairly basic table to begin with:
Screen Shot 2015-04-15 at 15.00.15
(‘User’ table showing fields: user_id, user_name, user_password, user_city, date_joined, user_forename, user_surname, user_dob)

The ‘Holiday’ table had some changes made to it. I didn’t have the time to create a tagging system, so ‘holiday_tags’ was removed. I was also unable to allow users to upload a picture, as we don’t yet have permissions to do this, so ‘holiday_picture’ was removed. Otherwise, the design of the ‘Holiday’ table remained the same:
Screen Shot 2015-04-15 at 14.57.26
(‘Holiday’ table showing fields: holiday_id, holiday_location, holiday_description, holiday_rating, holiday_user)

Both the ‘User’ and ‘Holiday’ tables required a key field, to allow each entry to be uniquely identified. These were the ‘user_id’ and ‘holiday_id’ respectively. The values in these fields are generated automatically as an entry is added.

At this stage in the project both tables appear to be working correctly, and are communicating with the database so hopefully I am finished working on them, but changes may have to be made as the project progresses.

Setting Up The Database

With a final idea decided on, the next step in the creation of our web application was to create the back end database for it. I began thinking about the table structure that would be required to achieve what we are looking for. So far, I have only identified two tables that would be required, but this may change as development continues.tumblr_nl3w2oqys81se0a2do1_1280

 

At the minute I only have a USERS table and a HOLIDAY table. The USERS table will allow users to create an account to store their detail, as well as login details so they can access their account. The HOLIDAY table will store data that the user inputs about a holiday. The one-to-many relationship of the tables will allow each user to create multiple entries about holidays, but each holiday entry can only be created and edited by one user.

Web Application Research

After some discussion, my group decided that we should base our web application on a travel website, allowing users to compare different holidays. As is required in the brief the users can sort the holidays (possibly by location or type of holiday) and will be able to refine their search using key words and filters.
There should also be an option for a user to add an entry, although I’m not 100% sure how it would work. At the minute I think this would be more effective as a user-based rating website, similar to something like tripadvisor, where a user could post an image and a description of a holiday they had been on, and other users could see this review of their holiday. This aspect of the project will need to be discussed more as a group to figure out the logistics of it but overall I think a travel website is a good, achievable project.

I began some initial research into similar websites, to get an idea of a good website structure. Here are three examples that I looked at:
Screen Shot 2015-03-09 at 18.11.39
First Choice – http://www.firstchoice.co.uk/
Screen Shot 2015-03-09 at 18.11.24
Direct Holidays – http://www.directholidays.co.uk/Screen Shot 2015-03-09 at 18.10.59Thomas Cook – https://ww2.thomascook.com/

Something I noticed with all three of these websites is that the search bar is easily seen straight away, positioned at the very top of the page so no scrolling is required to reach it. I also think that the Login/Register button being located at the top of the page is a good idea, as if a user had to scroll for ages to find it they would probably give up and use a different site. A simple layout with clear buttons is something these three websites all have, and is a key feature which I would like to incorporate into our web application.