In 2004 I graduated from the University of Wales, Aberystwyth (now Aberystwyth University) with an MSc in Computer Science (with distinction).
The course was a Taught Masters based around Object-oriented programming in Java. Modules included:
- Data Structures
- C and Unix
- Internet Telematics
- Artificial Intelligence
- Software Engineering
The Software Engineering module included a group programming project where the aim was to produce a simple but useable project planning application.
The final half of the MSc was the individual project. This was implemented in Java following Agile Programming methodologies. An extract from the dissertation is reproduced below.
A Data Recording System using Java Servlets
A Dissertation submitted for MSc in Computer Science
University of Wales, Aberystwyth, March 2004
There are many situations where data need to be recorded in a secure and traceable manner. Traditional paper based systems rely on a person writing things down, often accompanied by a signature. In many working environments which are subject to regulations such as ISO 9000, all recorded data needs to be traceable and any changes must leave the original data viewable.
The system proposed here aims to provide a computerised recording where all changes made to a document are retained, and the data stored in a manner which prevents falsification. The system consists of two separate parts: the user interface where forms for requesting the data are created and used, and the data storage.
1.1 Paper based records
There are many situations where data has to be recorded and stored. The system pre- sented here was designed to address a particular problem encountered in the chemical manufacturing industry where a written procedure is accompanied by a checklist of actions which need to be signed to indicate that they have been completed.
In such a system, the paperwork consisted of a document divided into sections where each section described the task to be performed, followed by a space for the operator to record any observations. Every recorded item had to be accompanied by a date and a signature to identify the operator who performed the task. Any changes to the results had to leave the original data still readable.
1.2 A Computerized System
There are problems with maintaining a paper-based data system: documents can go missing, or over many years the physical storage required can lead to problems in both space and ability to retrieve old information. If a document is being used by someone, it is unavailable for others to view.
The system being proposed here is a prototype intended to demonstrate the feasibility of computerizing these documents. The system will allow document templates to be created which in turn can be used to generate the documents which will be used for recording the observations.
Provided that the computer system creates regular backups of the data (a routine procedure which is outside the scope of this project) then the problem of documents going missing should be reduced or eliminated. The computerized documents will be stored centrally on a server so that it will be possible to view any document irrespective of whether it is in use or not.