The purpose of my Senior Project is to develop an Internet based Occupational Medicine Database Prototype. The complexity of current legacy medical software solutions severely hinders office productivity and exponentially increases the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO). Accordingly, the focus of main effort for this project is simplicity over performance and additional features .
Whereas there are numerous different methods to implement an Internet database, Microsoft products were used wherever possible to determine the cost and difficulty of using Microsoft solutions. The tools used to develop the project included, but are not limited to: Microsoft Office 2000 Developer, Microsoft Visual Studio Enterprise Edition, Microsoft Windows 98, Microsoft Windows NT 4.0, Microsoft Windows 2000 Professional and Server, and Microsoft Personal Web Server. Within the Microsoft Office 2000 Developer Suite, MS Access was used to developed the database tables. Withing the Microsoft Visual Studio Suite, Visual Interdev and Frontpage were used to develop the Active Server Pages (ASP) and Hypertext Markup Language Pages (HTML).
In developing the application, several challenges presented themselves in surprising ways. My first observation was Microsoft Frontpage caused infinitely more problems than it solved. As a direct result of having to redo simple HTML pages countless times, I switched all HTML coding development to the simple text editor called Microsoft Notepad that comes standard with Windows Operating Systems. The next significant challenge was coordinating and standardizing client and server development and application software. After tremendous difficulty with tracking what software versions worked with each other, I finally gave in and either downloaded or purchased the most recent copies of all of the aforementioned Microsoft software available. By upgrading from Windows 98 to Windows 2000 I was able to run the latest versions of Personal Web Server and use all of the features of the Office 2000 Developer and Visual Studio Suites. However, yet another problem arose because Microsoft Windows 2000 Professional required the reinstallation of ALL software as well as obtaining and installing new Windows 2000 compatible drivers for system hardware components.
The project was divided into ten (10) distinct phases of project development. The general guiding concepts used throughout the project included: The Capability Maturity Model (CMM), The Unified Modeling Language (UML), and Total Quality Management (TQM). Other general and personal techniques used included breaking the project down into the smallest and simplest components possible, parallel development, horizontal and vertical development, using existing code wherever possible, testing components on testbed platforms, and strict version control.
In conclusion, developing an Internet based Occupational Medicine Database Prototype was a very rewarding learning experience. Most of the challenges were easily foreseen with thorough prior planning, and all challenges were overcome through having access to resources obtained before the project began. Most importantly, it was rewarding to develop an application which is state-of-the-art, reliable, easy to maintain, and easy to use.
Advisor: Dr. Rebecca Bruce