INFS7202 – Web Information Systems

This subject WIS, as we liked to call it, is all about information systems as you’d expect, on the Web! The course material covered aspects of web application development: JavaScript on the client, PHP on the server, using them together with JSON, and a short revision on databases. Also, we had some crash-course lectures on Angular JS, iOS development in Swift, and Android development in Apache Cordova/PhoneGap.

The main assessment was a project to build a web application in a language of our choice including a proposal and final report. The project could be completed in teams of up to 3. I completed the project in a pair.


Along with standard proposal sections like the idea itself, UI mockups, feature coverage, technology use; we also had to briefly discuss the importance of web standards (well, it is a university course).

Anthony Carrick INFS7202 Website Proposal - Recipe Sharing Site

I actually had a few other ideas which I wrote proposals for too, in case I build those. One of those was for the UQ Course Chooser (which I’d been working on anyway before doing this subject) – I ended up doing this recipe sharing site because of workload and concerns that the course chooser would be too big for my first web application. In the end, I’m happy with the decision to de-scope the project as there was a lot to learn even for this comparatively simple project. I think it was a valuable exercise to write the proposals and think about the UI for the other rejected ideas I had — just trying to imagine the UI and technology used helped me foresee potential issues.



A screenshot of the recipe sharing site

A recipe of dahl

Overall, a learnt a heap of new, practical, skills during this project. While I’d had plenty of Bootstrap experience from my work, it had been awhile and this was also the first time I’d built a Bootstrap page from scratch rather than updating an existing page for Bootstrap. It was fun actually.

It was also the first time I created an AJAX/JSON functionality for myself. (Technically, I did one last year as part of one of the SOA projects, but it was so small and I didn’t implement much myself.) It was very satisfying to create my own JSON from PHP and the database, then use AJAX to search it — without a page reload!

Screenshot of the search functionality

Fortunately, from working with a software development company for many years, and having a interest in web hosting and serving, I’d been able to solve some problems we encountered easier than without the background knowledge.

For instance, when we needed to upload an image, I had enough experience with the command line on Unix hosts and knowledge of permissions to navigate the system via SSH and set the permissions. (Well, to be honest I had to look up the exact permission, but it would have been much harder with absolutely no knowledge.)

Screenshot of the submit recipe page

We learnt a lot about group work too – during the early stages of the project we were just working on bits of the site on our own computers and sending files back and forth. We didn’t have source-code control set up either which made things harder. Eventually I started to get us to work at the same time in the lab at the university — this was much more effective as we could be helping each other — one codes and the other researches or we can bounce ideas off each other.

Final Report

The final report was mostly written by my group-mate, with some words by myself so I could talk about some issues from my perspective too. I won’t share it here for that reason. However, I think it was also a good experience as a reflective journal to be able to capture what went well in the project and what didn’t.