Community Networking Portal for Academic Group

Categories : All, Education, Social Networks

Client Requirement


Community Networking Portal for Academic Group is a massive site which includes Academic Room, Social Network, Online Courses, Video Lectures, Scholars Directory, Online Research Tools, MP3 Files,Journal Articles, Online Books, Book Reviews and Ancient Manuscripts. This web application required development of numerous features and maintenance. They looked for a team with extensive knowledge and enormous experience in developing a social networking platform and sought professionals who would implement the following:

  • Provide all the academic content (Images, Videos, Manuscripts, books etc.) under a single platform to make it convenient for the users to find everything under one roof rather than surfing various sites for it.
  • Enable social interaction by inviting people.
  • Allow knowledge exchange through file sharing, downloading and uploading feature.
  • Allow user to create his/her profile to showcase accomplishments
  • Create “Public Profile” feature so that users can create profiles for scholars they admire.
  • Create an absolute category-based design and maintain proper Discipline using parent-child system.
  • View version history and implement various high-ranking search techniques.

Project Challenges

Team faced the following challenges:
  • According to requirement the client demanded high-ranking search techniques to be implemented in the application. Apache Solar which is a competent technology was used to meet the user requirement. The application can now search according to various sections such as search according to tags, geographical focus, category based, related disciplines, related videos and so on.
  • Adding discipline-based content was another crucial requirement. Project team adopted parent-child system to create each category within the application.
  • Project team developed several modules to incorporate social networking feature using Drupal Framework.
  • Other challenges include synchronization and incorporation of an extensive list of features designed for enhancing the user‟s community networking experience.
  • Provision and maintenance of the database of a range of interactive features like mail service, blogs and forums to ensure user participation.

Technologies Used

Operating System & Server Management 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 Drupal, Apache 2.0 Handler, AJAX, Java Script, Apache Solar,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


The enormous structure of the website and the challenges involved necessitated the adoption of a four-tier approach that consisted of:
  • MYSQL Server Database, Tables, Stored Procedures etc… incorporated within the database layer.
  • Conversion of data between incompatible type systems in databases and accessing data from the database for the Interface layer and Database Abstraction layer respectively.
  • All the business logic procedures for modules such as User Profiles, Invitations, Forums and Blogs etc… forming the Business Logic layer.
  • The GUI of the website formed the User Interface layer.


The website was mainly characterized by rich user data and featured extensive capabilities of social networking nature which entailed MySQL Server and Drupal. The development structure was specifically implemented to facilitate the „faster to market‟ transition of such concepts. Drupal Framework was used to develop modules like User Profiles, Invitations, Forums and Blogs such that direct execution from the UI layer was possible. Effective access to the database in an object oriented context was implemented using an interface translating the object logic to relational logic so as to communicate with the relational databases in an object-oriented manner.

The access to the database was enabled through the creation of an intermediary abstraction layer. Only the complex retrieval of data from multiple tables was facilitated through stored procedures and everywhere else conditional syntax was implemented to ensure seamless performance of the website. Images, applications and data were called from their respective servers keeping the UI layer free of any business logic and scalability was guaranteed by implementing sub-domains for various areas of the website.

Development Highlights

Greater accuracy in handling user status, user information and other user-related validations ensure privacy and security of content. Comprehensive search & browse options are offered within optimized query features using Apache Solar. The entire framework was kept highly scalable in order to provide adaptability & ease while incorporating new features. Web usability guidelines were strictly adhered during the development and the interface was made easily navigable through the judicious use of CSS and HTML controls. Search Engine Optimization activities were regularly resorted to with a view to ensure high visibility for the site over the internet. The site was developed and fully functional within a span of 12 months.

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