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Co-op 2 Highlights 6

This past week was busy for Co-op related things.  I attended the Database Architect meeting on Thursday and was asked to outline my Capstone project to the team.  This allowed me to put into words some of my goals and hopes for the project.  The short description for the project:  I would like to create a web application that would allow for the input and reporting of weekend attendance numbers.

The details:  I currently work at a church, which has a weekend church attendance of about 5,000 people.  The current way for recording the attendance numbers for each service time (9am, 10:30am, and 11:59am on Sundays at Site A, plus additional times for each additional site) and each area (Hispanic, Students, Children, Site B, Site C, etc) is to email numbers to the person in Finance.  This person then updates a massive Excel spreadsheet each week, usually on Tuesday, and then emails the spreadsheet out to various staff for review.

Currently, if you’d like to know how attendance went this past weekend, you would need to wait until Tuesday afternoon and open the Excel spreadsheet, provided that the person in Finance isn’t on vacation, or the Student folks didn’t forget to email their numbers, etc.  There is no visualization of any kind, just a flat grid of numbers and percentages showing Current Week, 4-Week, 13-Week, and 52-Week categories.

My goal would be to create a CRUD web application in C# using the MVC pattern to allow the Hospitality staff person to input directly into the web application (using a SQL database), creating a record for that particular weekend.  In addition to a data entry portal for capturing the attendance data closer to real-time (on Sunday, as opposed to updating the spreadsheet on Tuesday), I would like to add a reporting page containing several charts that would provide a better graphical presentation of the data.  Our current database is on a MySQL platform using Apache web server and holds all of our data for events, volunteering, guest records, and financial contributions.  We currently do not have a good reporting feature for weekend attendance, other than this Excel spreadsheet.

The end goal, which could be a year or more down the line, would be to eventually export the SQL database into the Vine (the MySQL database) and use PHP code to run this web application through our proprietary graphical web interface for the Vine.  For now, it would be hosted on an IIS server and given a URL that anyone could access (with respect to the log-in and rights granted).

I received positive feedback from this team and they affirmed that the current system is limiting.

I have done some work in the last 2 weeks thinking through the tables for this SQL database and listing out what columns I will need and what tables will relate to each other.  I have also created the rough website using the MVC platform in .NET (C#).  I went ahead with the MVC platform because it will be a good learning experience.  I have identified my color scheme and modified the CSS to fit this.  I want it to blend in with the current color scheme that we use for our organization’s website and have included our organization’s logo as well.  I am also in communication with Mark, our database contractor, about the way the tables should be set up.  This is important if we really want to look at incorporating this project into the big database down the road.  I believe I am almost ready to run my queries to create all my tables and then import the data that I have.  Once that is done, I will be adding the CRUD operations to the website.

I also have embarked on a small freelance (volunteer) project for a relative.  She is looking to start a recipe and cooking blog, so I have created a WordPress site for her and added features and tweaks to make it her own.  She is an extreme novice when it comes to anything internet or computers, so I am working on my ‘explaining’ skills and will be walking her through simple processes like how to make her first blog post and how to upload a picture.

My big freelance project is slowly getting off the ground.  Their client would like me to use Visual Studio 2012 with the Sitefinity Thunder plug-in to be able to make changes to their website.  I currently have 2010 on my laptop and don’t want to mess with something that is working well.  So, our Associate Director of IT is going to build a virtual machine for me with just Visual Studio 2012 on it, so that I can begin work on this project.  I really appreciate his work here because I know that there is a major project with a domain migration happening this coming week.


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