College Portal & Social Networking Site for Higher Education Community

Categories : All, Social Networks

Client Requirement

The site is divided in levels that are decided according to the students’ school grade. Feature accessibility grows with student’s growth in grade. Every section of the website includes post news, events, messages, comments ,questions/ answers, classified ads, polls, resource information, create your profiles, groups, blogs,wikis, view other member’s basic profiles, search and apply for jobs, connect with other members and professionals etc.

College Portal & Social Networking Site for Higher Education Community developing a college portal and social networking site for higher education community. They wanted to provide an online platform of academic and professional networking for prospective and current college/graduate students, career seekers, school administrators, course instructors/professors, service providers, employers and other interested individuals.

It was designed for anyone who is interested in higher education and consists of related news, events, college and graduate programs, course information, financial aids, career information as well as other social networking services. If user is a prospective student then he would find site useful in finding school information and financial aids as well as contact the school administrator directly. If the user is a studying student, he can share the site info with his peers. If he is graduating, he may find job information in academic and industry areas. For higher education professionals the website will help them promote the programs and courses to increase the student enrollment.

They wanted users to spend quality time on the website and the same been used to strengthen their connections and reach in higher education community and help them to build their professional networks and thus help in their careers.

Following are the features that can be used by the registered members which includes: can browse almost every section of the website including post news, events, messages, comments, questions/answers, classified ads, polls, and resource information, create your profiles, groups, blogs, wikis, view other member’s basic profiles, search and apply for jobs etc.

Project Challenges

  • Developing a robust framework for the site which is capable of managing millions of users at the same time without slowing the site down.
  • Synchronizing the integrated features like blogs, messenger and mail to function smoothly while being executed simultaneously.
  • Enabling the site to operate at top speed even in peak traffic hours and maintaining good load balance.
  • Ensuring easy navigation through the implementation of web usability principles in the website design.
  • Developing and incorporating an extensive list of profile customization options, complex ranking systems and voting contests designed for enhancing users’ active participation.
  • Ensuring safe and secure transfer of data.

Technologies Used

Operating System & Server Management Red Hat Linux OS, Multi-Server Architecture with Staging & Production Environment through Version Controlling releases, Server Optimization, Security & SSL Implementation, Scheduler for Back-ups, Alert Monitoring System Integration, Server Performance Tuning at regular intervals, Software Firewall Configuration & Maintenance.
Development Tools & Environments PHP5+, Apache Web Server, Symfony Framework, AJAX, Java Script, HTML5, CSS3 etc.
Database MYSQL Database Server, DB Clustering, DB Optimization, Master Slave Replication, Query Optimization, Scheduler for Backups


Project Manager 1
Project Leader 1
Developers 3
Designers 1
Quality Assurance Testers 1


Keeping in mind the enormous structure of the website and the challenges involved a four-tier development approach was adopted consisting of:
  • The Database layer containing MySQL Server Database, Tables, Stored Procedures and so on.
  • The User Interface layer which forms the Graphical User Interface of the website.
  • The Interface layer and Database Abstraction layer for converting data between incompatible type systems in databases and accessing data from the database respectively.
  • The Business Logic layer consisting of all the business logic procedures for modules like User Profiles, Invitations, Forums, Blogs etc.


The online networking characteristic of the website called for the design approach to be built around PHP and MySQL Server. Modules like User Profiles, Invitations, Forums and Blogs were developed in PHP such that they can be executed directly from the UI layer. These PHP files consisted of all the business logics used for respective modules like Save (Add/Update), Delete, Get Single Object, Get Multiple Objects for Listing and were designed to be capable of handling many more logics which were not related to the database. In order to most effectively access the database in an object-oriented context, an interface translating the object logic to the relational logic was used to communicate with the relational databases in an object-oriented manner.

An intermediary abstraction layer was created for accessing data from the database. Stored procedures were used only for complex retrieval of data from multiple tables and were entirely avoided with conditional syntax to ensure smooth performance of the website. The UI layer was kept free of any business logic with images, applications and data being called from their respective servers. Sub-domains were used for the different areas of the website to guarantee scalability.

Development Highlights

The site was equipped with a robust architecture to offer centralized access to multiple users using blogs, groups, chat and other tools under one roof. Customizable viewing options were designed to enhance user experience and allow for extensive personalization of the site.Extensive pre-development research was carried out to create a robust application in minimum time while dealing with extensive customizations. SEO activities performed ensured high visibility for the site over the internet. Web usability guidelines were strictly followed during development and the interface was made easily navigable through judicious use of AJAX, CSS and HTML controls. The site was developed and fully functional within a span of 8 months.

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