Sunday, March 01, 2009

Software Track: Cyber Mall Automation System

writing a program for a programmer is not big task as compared with designing front end and backend. Before that, analysis to have perfect output is the major one. without having depth analysis, one cant design the system. Further without having perfect design, coding is not possible. While i was in second year at my Bachelor study, i always tried to have code first and get output then others like keeping focus on analysis and design. But i realized the importance of analysis and design in my final year project. Our motto was to get the product completely implementable for the competitive market. Though somehow, we were successful but limited time could not allow us to get the perfect outcome.

Anyway i was quite satisfied with my work in my project. I was always worried about the project because my other partners were more relaxing. I also felt that leading in a project is not an easy task. Analyze the system, design the system, coding, reporting ...means like following software development life cycle properly. But who can handle which part..proper work division in a group may not lead to desired output.

Here i want to describe briefly about what my project was. the project was entitled "Cyber Mall Automation System". In Kathmandu Valley, there are lots of cyber cafes but no one Cyber was found to be automated. Time manipulation, bill generation were not the only activities out project captured. This project was designed with border concept that a cyber cafe may provide cafe service as well as the necessary stationery for the internet users. A cyber may have pre-registered users who can balance for month, year or even lifetime so that every time its not necessary for him/her to pay for the service. Cafe administration system should have to deduce the price automatically for the registered users as well. No problem, one can pay on the spot for the service.

We already have computers in networking. Definitely there should be a gateway server on its Cyber LAN. Hence to implement a software system for allCcyber activities with cafe services requires no more resource addition. Just run the software on its LAN as a client-server environment. Based upon this concept, the project was formulated. the major facilities of the package are:

1. client-server based.
2. calculate the time based on processor's clock tick for the internet users.
3. realtime cafe service as per the order by the client from his/her desk.
4. Advance Payment system for the frequent internet users (once a users is registered, he can access the cyer facilities until his balance donto cross the minimum threshold)
5. realtime bill generation.
6. daily/monthly/yearly report generation for managerial action.
7. Remote monitoring of the client machine (shutdown client, lock/unlock client etc...)
and many more.

The Concept:
1. the server keeps status of its all clients in the network by polling every minutes.
2. server database contains clients_PC database, Items Inventory Lists, internet users database.
3. server keeps log of every users conenction and order activities.
4. server gives alarm based on clients orders/requests.
5. client could not access internet without providing username/password.
6. registered users and guest users are treated separately to maintain the necessary information.
7. server can shutdown the remote PCs at time at the office close time.

The figure on the left shows the collecting hosts information just after running the server process. When an operator logs into the server, it starts finding out the live clients and listed its status. When any user logs into the client for the internet access, it is responded to server and listed on the same session table which has client host, status (power on/off), internet session, logged in username, type of
user(guess/registered), and time span.

The server databse must maintan the host information in its LAN. When new PC is connected to LAN, the name and IP address for that PC needs to be specified and registered into the server databse. Client PC never sends client name and client IP to server. so first its name/IP should be specified in the server databse and client package have to be installed on the new client.

The service provider not only provide the internet but also provide cafe service. when internet users want to have snacks, he can place an order immediately. Hence the server database maintains items inventory with its rates and availability information for that day.

It is remote control window in server side. this window lists all the live PC on the LAN. Just before closing the Cyber, the administrator shutdown all PC from server control. in addition, if any one internet users found doing fraud, admin can lock the clinet machine immediately.

For any MIS and automated system, Report is the most. It helps to analyze to do further decision and actions.

This is client's welcome screen. iI there is server failure, client may connect to another server choosing from the list of servers. Without connecting to server, no one client can enter into the system. All the special keys are disabled for security purpose.

After client logged into the client PC, his time starts the cliet only send the login time and logout time to server. But for cliet's reference, it is continuously displays on the clinet side.

The order placement window. the item list on the table shows the available items for that moment. Client must first put order adding items on his/her basket and finally order as per his/her requirements.

Hence, this software has lots of features which i cant explain in detail all about within this blog. We did our much effort to make the system user friendly and attractive too as well as bug free. It can be implemented to anywhere like not only to Cyber cafes but also to a departmental store which supplies goods where we can avoid internet billing rather we may focus on items billing.