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University of Cape Town Honours Project Proposal

Table of contents
Table of contents...........................................................................................................2 1 Project Description.....................................................................................................2
1.1 CONTENT MANAGEMENT SYSTEM (CMS).............................................................................................3

Keywords: Electronic commerce, software development process, application integration, component based development, distributed architecture design.........6 3 Outcomes.................................................................................................................... 6
4.1 RISKS......................................................................................................................................................8 4.2 TIMELINE................................................................................................................................................8 4.3 RESOURCES REQUIRED...........................................................................................................................9 4.4 DELIVERABLES.......................................................................................................................................9 4.5 MILESTONES ......................................................................................................................................................................9 4.6 WORK ALLOCATION TO TEAM MEMBERS...............................................................................................9

5 References................................................................................................................. 10

1 Project Description
Tiro Sethate, a Botswana National who is a PhD student in the Department of Computer Science at UCT is currently investigating the problems associated with ECommerce in developing countries. One of the requirements is an ECommerce portal which will allow formal and informal merchants in developing countries to advertise and sell their goods on the internet. This 2

would permit rural communities to make their wares available to the rest of the world via the World Wide Web. The objective of this project is to create an e-commerce web portal with a content management system which would allow product information to be updated securely using a mobile device. The web portal will have an online interface in the form of an e-commerce website that will allow users to buy goods from the merchants in Botswana.

This project will be divided into 5 separate components: 1. The content management system (CMS) 2. The e-commerce website/portal 3. The product, merchant and customer database 4. The online transaction security system 5. The data security system

with information about the various products that are for sale. The information will include prices, product descriptions, stock availability as well as photographs of the products.

1.3 Product, Merchant and Customer Database


The product, merchant and customer database will store all information about the products that will be sold on the e-commerce portal (prices, product descriptions, photos of products). It will also store merchant information (names, banking details, contact details) as well as customer details (credit card information, shipping address). This database will use the MySQL architecture and will be manipulated using SQL queries via the content management system.

1.1 Content Management System (CMS)


The CMS will be responsible for managing the product, merchant and customer database (MySQL). The CMS will process merchants SMS/MMS requests to update, add or remove products from the website. The CMS will also handle any changes that must be made to the database as a result of transactions on the e-commerce website. This information would be processed and the database would be updated accordingly using SQL queries.

1.2 The E-Commerce Website/Portal


The e-commerce website/portal will provide Botswanas merchants with a medium through which they will be able to sell their merchandise. It will provide online shoppers with an interface through which they will be able to purchase merchandise from formal and informal merchants in Botswana. This e-commerce website component will be written in PHP, which is a very popular and versatile e-commerce programming language. The website will provide shoppers 3

Figure 1: Overview of the e-commerce portal architecture

1.4 Online Transaction Security System


The online transaction security system will provide a safe and secure method for online shoppers to make credit card purchases on the ecommerce website. When a credit purchase is made using the website, the credit card information will be encrypted using Secure Socket Layer (SSL) and transmitted to the bank for processing. This security system will also provide access control for website visitors, which will allow only registered users to make purchases. The registered customers account information will be stored in the customer information database mentioned earlier.

and customer information from the content management system to the website, and also the transmission of data from the website to the content management system.

1.6

System Overview

Figure 1 shows how the final ecommerce portal architecture will function and the parties that will be involved in its use. Figure 1 depicts two scenarios that show how the system will typically be used. The first shows the process of a merchant updating his product information via SMS. The second scenario depicts an online shopper making a purchase via the ecommerce website.

1.5

Data Security System

1.7

Scope of the Project

The data security system will allow data to be securely transmitted between the various components of the e-commerce portal. This includes transmission of product, merchant 4

There are two main limitations to the scope of this project:

The e-commerce online portal will not handle shipping or tracking of ordered products. The implementation of this project will be limited to Botswana.

2.2 Paper: Next Generation Web Technologies in Content Management


In this paper, the authors present a proposal for an efficient and flexible content management system called Infoflex [2]. It is designed for management of distributed content using the latest web technologies such as web services and semantic web facilities. Keywords: Content management, web services, semantic web

Related Work

This project forms part of an on going PhD thesis Architecture to Support Electronic Commerce for Small Businesses in Developing Countries by Tiro Sethate. A number of ideas and concepts mentioned in his work will be used in the development of the e-commerce portal.

2.3 Paper: Content for One: Developing a Personal Content Management System
This was an especially interesting paper as it discusses the creation and use of an easy-to-use personal Content Management System, or CMS. He also compares a range of open-source packaged systems and some made using PHP and MySQL [3]. This is very close to the type of system we would like to develop. Keywords: Content Management Systems, calendars, documentation, scripting.

2.1 Thesis: Architecture to Support Electronic Commerce for Small Businesses in Developing Countries
Tiro Sethates research investigates the different computer application architectures and explores the appropriate architecture that will enable small business enterprises to conduct electronic commerce [1]. He uses Botswana as a case study for his research. Keywords: Electronic commerce, developing countries, mobile commerce, business model, Architecture We also looked at a number of papers discussing general designs and implementations of content management systems.

2.4 Paper: Developing of an Electronic Commerce Portal System using a Specific Software Development Process
In this paper, the authors discuss how the development process of electronic commerce portal systems differs significantly from normal software development. This is 5

because in the case of highlyinteractive e-commerce systems, the ergonomics, didactics and psychology are especially important and thus conventional software development processes must be adapted to accommodate for these needs. [4] The design principles and development models mentioned in this paper will be very useful in designing the e-commerce websites user interface. Keywords: Electronic commerce, software development process, application integration, component based development, distributed architecture design.

and because it supports a number of easy-to-use socket and database libraries that will prove useful for this project. The e-commerce website will coded in PHP as it provides excellent connectivity to databases and is a very versatile language. In order to build the product, merchant and customer database, we will use MySQL Server with the MySQL Database Manager package. 3.1.2 Key Features The e-commerce portal will have the following key features: An online shop that will allow online shoppers to buy wares from Botswanas formal and informal merchants. A search engine on the website to allow customers to find specific types of merchandise. A secure online transaction system that will allow shoppers to purchase goods safely using their credit cards. A database of merchandise with photos, product descriptions and stock information. This database will also contain all relevant merchant and customer information. A content management system that will process SMS and MMS commands sent by merchants. These commands will be processed and the necessary updates will be made to the database.

3 Outcomes
3.1 System

The primary outcome of this project will be the e-commerce web portal and the content management system. The languages that will be used to program the system as well as the features that the system will contain are explained in detail in this section. We also mention design challenges that we will face while designing the e-commerce portal. 3.1.1 Software The content management system and the data security system for the ecommerce portal will be developed in Java. This language was chosen because it is platform-independent 6

A data security system that will ensure that all data that is transmitted between the various system-components is secure.

sent to unintended recipients or accessed by unauthorized users.

3.2

Questions Tackled

3.2.1 What is being investigated? We are investigating whether ecommerce architecture can be developed for small businesses in developing countries such as Botswana. We are also investigating whether the portal can be updated using a mobile phone via a content management system. 3.2.2 Why is it important? This investigation will give Botswana and other developing countries new opportunities. It will allow sellers of goods in these countries to expose their goods to the international community and to begin export their products to other countries. It will also give small businesses in developing countries access to a global market. This will be an important step forward in developing 3rd world countries IT infrastructure and strengthening their economies through increased trade. 3.2.3 What methods are you going to use? The e-commerce portal will be developed at UCT and implemented on one of the university machines for testing purposes. The system will then be thoroughly tested to ensure that it works correctly. Once the testing of the whole system is complete, we may be able to pilot it in Botswana to get an idea of how the public will receive and use such a new service.

3.1.3 Major Design Challenges One of the challenges that we face is designing for developing countries. Since this project is directed towards Botswana, a developing country, one realizes that the users are not as computer literate as we are. They do not understand how computers work and will have difficulties in operating a computer or even a cellular phone. This is a problem since they are the end users of the project. This would also be a problem when designing the content management system since the people responsible for updating the web portal would have a minimal computer education background. Thus, the content management system would be designed in a way such that it would require minimal human intervention. There is also a challenge in obtaining input from the user. As mentioned the user would use the SMS/MMS format to send information to the content management system. A command list scheme will be used to make changes to the products, this means that we will have to make a list of commands that will be intuitive and easy to remember. The database will hold the banking information of the buyer and the seller. This means that security would be an issue since data must not be

3.3 Expected Impact of the Project


The system that we will develop during this project could be used as a generic architecture or template for other e-commerce portals that will be developed for developing countries. This system will give developing countries a window of opportunity to display their products to the world, instead of only their neighboring cities or countries. E-commerce would grow and be more prevalent in Botswana and later in other developing countries. This, in turn, would help grow the economies of these nations and help bridge the gap between developing countries and the first world.

mitigated by keeping multiple backups of all code and documentation) One of the team members falls ill and cannot work (Can be mitigated by constantly informing each other of what the other is doing, so he may take over the others work until the ill team member has recovered).

3.4

Key Success Factors

The key success factors of this project lie in whether the final ecommerce portal functions as planned and whether it will be accepted and used by the merchants in Botswana.

In order to minimize risks and the delays in project development that they may cause, the project team will meet regularly and discuss any issues that may arise. This will allow us to plan ahead and mitigate

risks before they occur.


4.2 TIMELINE

Work detail

4.1 RISKS
Some of the risks that we

must account for while the project is under way are:


The hard drive containing the

The project is expected to run for approximately six months. This includes the development of all the ecommerce portal components, writing up of the report as well as the completion of the posters and the project website. Please see the

appendix for a detailed Gantt chart of the project.

project code and documentation crashes (Can be


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4.3 RESOURCES

REQUIRED
For this project we will require: Two personal computers for coding the e-commerce portal components. A server system on which we will set up the e-commerce portal. This will be used for testing purposes and for the demonstrations. A mobile phone to test SMS/MMS commands that the e-commerce portal will use.

4.4

Deliverables

The following table shows all the deliverables for this project:
Deliverable Final project proposal (this document) Project presentation Definition and Background chapters Design chapter Prototype of system for demonstration User evaluation of system Implementation and testing chapters Outline of complete report Draft of project report Final project report Poster Project web page Final system for demonstration Final project presentation Due date 4 May 07 11 May 07 25 May 07 30 July 07 2 August 07 24 September 07 1 October 07 15 October 07 19 October 07 23 October 07 24 October 07 25 October 07 15 November 07

Completion of the designs and planning for the e-commerce portal. Completion of the content management system and data security components. Completion of the e-commerce website and online transaction security components. Completion of the product, merchant and customer database. Successful integration and testing of all the systems components. Demonstration of the final ecommerce portal. Final project presentation and the end of the project.

4.6 Work allocation to team members

Table 1: Deliverables for the project

4.5 Milestones
The major milestones for the project will be:

The project workload will be divided between the two team members as follows: Konstantin Masalov Development of the ECommerce website

Development of the product, merchant and customer database Development of the online transaction security system Creation of the project website

Shiraaz Moollatjie Development of the Content Management System Development of the data security system Creation of the project poster The rest of the work, such as testing and integration of the system components will be done by both team members.

Proceedings of the 33rd Annual ACM SIGUCCS Conference on User Services (Monterey, CA, USA, November 06 - 09, 2005). SIGUCCS '05. ACM Press, New York, NY, 338-342. DOI= http://doi.acm.org/10.1145/1099 435.1099512 [4] Gruhn, V., Mocker, M., Schope, L. 2006. Development of an Electronic Commerce Portal System using a Specific Software Development Process. In Proceedings of the Fortieth International Conference on Tools Pacific: Objects for internet, mobile and embedded applications (Sydney, Australia). ACM. DOI= http://portal.acm.org/citation.cfm ? coll=GUIDE&dl=GUIDE&id=564 106

5 References
[1] Sethate, T. 2007. Architecture to Support Electronic Commerce for Small Businesses in Developing Countries. Ongoing PhD thesis Fernndez-Garcia, N., SnchezFernandez, L., and VillamorLugo, J. 2004. Next generation web technologies in content management. In Proceedings of the 13th international World Wide Web Conference on Alternate Track Papers &Amp; Posters (New York, NY, USA, May 19 - 21, 2004). WWW Alt. '04. ACM Press, New York, NY, 260-261. DOI= http://doi.acm.org/10.1145/1013 367.1013425 Simpson, D. L. 2005. Content for one: developing a personal content management system. In

[2]

[3]

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Appendix

Gantt chart showing the timeline of the project


ID 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 T ask Name Planning Requirements anal ysis Designi ng content management system Designi ng website and database Dev eloping content management system Bui lding back-end software Setting up data security T esting content management system Dev eloping w ebsite and database system Setting up MySQL database Coding PHP pages Refining website interface Setting up onli ne transaction security T esting website Demoing prototype of system Integrating w ebsite and CMS Linking websi te to content management system T esting integrated system Implementing e-commerce portal Setting up final e-commerce portal Demonstrating system Preparing final deliv erables Prepari ng final report Designi ng poster Designi ng project website Duration 15 days 6 days 9 days 9 days 31 days 25 days 11 days 15 days 36 days 9 days 25 days 21 days 11 days 15 days 1 day 11 days 8 days 8 days 26 days 5 days 1 day 20 days 16 days 10 days 10 days Start Mon 07/07/02 Mon 07/07/02 T ue 07/07/10 T ue 07/07/10 Fri 07/07/20 Fri 07/07/20 Mon 07/08/13 Mon 07/08/13 Fri 07/07/20 Fri 07/07/20 Mon 07/07/23 Mon 07/08/06 T ue 07/08/21 Mon 07/08/20 T hu 07/08/02 Fri 07/09/07 Fri 07/09/07 Wed 07/09/12 Mon 07/09/24 Mon 07/09/24 T hu 07/10/25 Tue 07/09/25 T ue 07/09/25 Mon 07/10/08 Mon 07/10/08 Finish Thu 07/07/19 Mon 07/07/09 T hu 07/07/19 T hu 07/07/19 Thu 07/08/30 T hu 07/08/23 Sun 07/08/26 T hu 07/08/30 Thu 07/09/06 Wed 07/08/01 Fri 07/08/24 Fri 07/08/31 Mon 07/09/03 T hu 07/09/06 T hu 07/08/02 Fri 07/09/21 T ue 07/09/18 Fri 07/09/21 Thu 07/10/25 Fri 07/09/28 T hu 07/10/25 Thu 07/10/18 Sun 07/10/14 T hu 07/10/18 T hu 07/10/18 '07 Jul '07 Aug '07 Sep '07 Oct '07 Nov '07 Dec