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Champion Services, Inc. - Software Development Proposal

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Champion Services, Inc. - Software Development Proposal

Eric Franklin

POS/370 Programming Concepts

Charlie Neuman

August 21, 2006

Champion Services, Inc., like all other companies, desires to be the best. When it comes to delivering high quality programming and service to the people of the northwest United States, Champion Services, Inc. feels that there is no one better. Champion Services, Inc. currently provides a basic Internet portal for its customers. This portal provides basic information and the ability to request more information by automating an email message. The portal provides no customer account information and provides no transactional capabilities. Champion Services, Inc. has decided to provide to its customers a fully functional Internet portal. This portal will be fully secured and require the customer to enter a username and password to gain access. The Internet portal will allow the customer to review and pay any outstanding balance, review account history, and modify their current service by selecting from various programming packages. Champion Services, Inc. has tasked the proposal team with drafting a preliminary proposal that meets the company's desired needs. The proposal team will identify the software development and administration issues currently facing the company, identify possible alternatives for developing the new application, recommend a course of action, and justify that recommendation.

To help Champion Services, Inc. understand what it needs to meet the stated goals, it is important to identify the issues the company currently faces. To successfully develop the new Internet portal application for its customers, Champion Services, Inc. must address three main issues. These areas of concern include the current network infrastructure, the skills and experience of the current development staff, and the work force currently available to complete the new Internet portal application.

The current networking infrastructure in place at Champion Services, Inc. as proved sufficient for the current application. However, additions and changes to this infrastructure will be required for the new Internet portal application. Currently, Champion Services, Inc. has in place a tandem of web servers to host the company web site. This set up is sufficient for the current situation where there are relatively few concurrent connections and no database transactions. Champion Services, Inc. will require a robust web server and application server cluster to accommodate the larger number of concurrent connections and database transactions.

The developers currently employed by Champion Services, Inc. are lacking in experience when it comes to web service and database technology. Three application developers support the current Internet portal. Of these developers, two have knowledge of HTML. One of these two developers has experience working with Macromedia Dreamweaver, while the other has limited knowledge of C and Microsoft Visual Basic. While the HTML knowledge is critical when developing web services, it is not nearly enough. The Dreamweaver experience is also a plus, but without a good understanding of the languages and concepts involved in designing the web services, the Dreamweaver experience will only take one so far.

The developers employed by Champion Services, Inc. require a higher level of knowledge and experience to successfully build and deploy the desired application. Experience in server side languages, application server technologies, and web service concepts, formats, and standards is required to achieve the desired goal of providing a robust and full-featured Internet portal for the customers of Champion Services, Inc. Examples of server side languages include PHP, Java, ASP.NET, and C#. Different application server technologies include RedHat Jboss, IBM WebSphere, Oracle Application Server, and Sun Java System Application Server. Some of the critical web service concepts, formats, and standards include XML, WSDL, and SOAP.

The issue of work force correlates directly to the current experience issues facing Champion Services, Inc. Simply put, Champion Services, Inc. need to hire more developers to complete this Internet portal project in a timely fashion and support the project for the near future. The developers to be hired should represent the necessary skill set and experience stated previously.

Several approaches are available for developing a full-featured customer Internet portal application. While each approach differs in some way, each approach will require the use of a database to manage the necessary company data. This data includes everything from a customer's payment history to the particulars of each programming package offered by Champion Services, Inc. There are many different enterprise database management systems available, but the possible solutions presented here will cover the three most popular. The three alternative solutions presented include a PHP/MySQL solution, a Java/Oracle solution, and a Microsoft ASP.NET/SQL Server solution.

"PHP is a widely-used general-purpose scripting language that is especially suited for Web development and can be embedded into HTML" (The PHP Group, 2006). PHP has several advantages and disadvantages. One of the advantages that PHP enjoys is that developers consider PHP easy to learn. Another advantage is that PHP can run on any platform. Another advantage to PHP is that PHP is open-source. One distinct disadvantage to PHP is that is not compiled. Another disadvantage to PHP is that support for PHP is limited to Usenet and other online channels.

"MySQL is an open-source high-performance, multi-threaded, multi-user relational database management system (RDBMS) built around a client-server architecture" (University of Rhode Island, 2005). MySQL has several advantages and disadvantages. One advantage to using MySQL is that MySQL has cross-platform capabilities. Another advantage to MySQL is that MySQL is open-source. MySQL also has some disadvantages. The main disadvantage to using MySQL is that it lacks some of the high-end features found in Oracle and other database management systems.

"Java is a portable object-oriented language developed by Sun Microsystems. Originally used mostly for web programming, it is now used primarily to develop large web-based applications" (The Trustees of Indiana University, 2006). Java has several advantages and disadvantages. One advantage Java enjoys is that developers consider Java easy to learn. Another advantage of using Java is that



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