Background

Our team had two projects this year - building a new web application to improve the workflow of ASEAN University Network-Quality Assurance (AUN-QA) and upgrading the existing system for the Neighbourhood Links / Senior Activity Centres.

For our first project, we built a task flow management web application for AUN-QA. Every assessment cycle, universities from around Southeast Asia apply to AUN-QA for their programmes to have a quality assessment and certified. This process can become cumbersome as application information was often tracked using emails belonging separate people. Without a single database, it was tedious to collate information into a single source of information for all users to reference from.

TEAM AUNQA

Our application provides an intuitive user-interface and real-time booking system for all users. As some of the users were external to AUN-QA, the team had to put additional security features in place to restrict data according the respective users’ roles. To prevent AUN-QA staff from sending repetitive emails, our application sends automated email notifications to the relevant users when information has been submitted to the system and task flow states are updated.

For our second project, our clients comprised of the Seniors’ Activity Centres and Neighbourhood Links located across Singapore, which provide welfare services targeting the elderly. These centres act as a focal point for senior residents and help to enhance their well-being through socio-recreational programmes and activities. They are typically located at the void decks of selected 1- and 2-room HDB rental blocks.






Presentation to AUN-QA in Bangkok

Project Objective

AUN-QA task flow management system

Gathering business requirements

In order to create a task flow management system to meet the needs of the AUN-QA staff, the most important thing was to gather the business requirements before the project started. A small delegation was sent to Thailand to meet the AUN-QA staff face to face and spent three entire days, detailing out all the major and minor details so that the web application can be built to effectively support their business operations.

Create an extensible backend database

Having no precedent for the AUN-QA application, the team had the opportunity to design and create the task flow management system from scratch. Consequently, much energy was used to design an extensible database schema. The benefits of having such an extensible backend database would be to accommodate any minor to moderate changes in operational requirements of AUN-QA and delay any database migrations in the future, which can be very costly in terms of time and effort.

Create an intuitive interface

Our team decided to use React, Redux and Typescript (a modern frontend stack) to make our application easier to maintain in the future. The tough part during the development process was communicating with our users as their office is based overseas in Bangkok, Thailand. However, with constant communication (using email and Google Hangouts), the team constantly let them trial our prototypes before our final product is delivered. Through constant iteration and feedback from our users, our application became increasingly more intuitive to use. Accordingly, we were able to avoid any significant overhauls of our interface design.

Deployment

Our web application has been deployed and is ready for use by the AUN-QA staff. The upcoming landmark for this project will be the next booking season for AUN-QA which will start in April 2020, where our system will be used by external users. As a team, we believe that the work we have put into developing the application will alleviate all users of the system from the tedium of the previous processes and provide accurate and accessible information to them, improving their experience.

Rails 5.2 major upgrade

Our team took over the project in May and realised that the project was written in Rails 4.2.10, which was released almost 2 years ago. Consequently, we upgraded the system to Rails 5.2 to update the security features of the system.

We also added two new centres to NL-SAC this year, namely Toa Payoh Senior Activities’ Centre (TOPS) and Shenghong Welfare Services.

Screenshots

Project Team

  • Julius Sander (Project Lead, Year 2)
  • Qiu Siyu (Technical Lead, Year 2)
  • Ooi Ming Sheng (Developer, Year 1)
  • Shawn Koh (Developer, Year 1)
  • She Jiayu (Developer, Year 1)
  • Tiu Wee Han (Developer, Year 1)
  • Chen Jianxi (Developer, Year 0)

Afterthoughts

Tough, but rewarding!

- Julius Sander

It has been an interesting three months. 🙂

- Qiu Siyu

I am grateful to be able to work with such talented people in this group and learn so much from them. I really hope that people’s lives have been improved by our efforts

- Ooi Ming Sheng

Chance to

  • Solve real problems
  • Build real products
  • Work with some of the best and brightest students in SoC
  • Life lessons from an amazing Prof with a wealth of experience

What are you waiting for!?!?

- Shawn Koh

I have learnt a lot on how software engineering operated in the real world and must say it is vastly different from classroom coding. I am really thankful for being given this opportunity to develope a production ready web application and experience the ups and downs of working as a full-stack developer.

- She Jiayu

I love learning new things and CVWO did not disappoint in this regard. While I had created a small web application before, the scale of the project in CVWO was much bigger than my personal project. I learnt a lot on how to organise my code better and deploy it live on the server for our users. It was an amazing experience to see our application being used. I would highly recommend CVWO to anyone who might consider applying next year.

- Tiu Wee Han

I had a great time working with people much older than me and am really happy to be able to contribute to the project in an integral way despite being the youngest in the group.

- Chen Jianxi

We would like to express our heartfelt gratitude to the following people who have been influential and supportive during our project:

  • Prof Ben Leong (NUS) for his patient guidance
  • GIC for their generous support for the programme
  • Our partners and clients for their co-operation and support for the programme:
    • ASEAN University Network
    • All the staff at the various NLs/SACs for taking time off their busy schedules to work with us