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Community Networking System for Social Groups

Categories : All, Social Networks

Client Requirement

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The site is a comprehensive social networking portal capable of connecting registered users to numerous group networks present online.

It is an active online community where registered users can find jobs, advertise, participate in various events or simply connect with friends.

The site is expected to offer a powerful search feature for users to locate groups, individuals, jobs and events based on different types of criteria.

The site provides extensive customization of profile, access to mail, managing favorites and ranking & blocking of members to facilitate maximum user interaction.

Project Challenges

Team faced the following challenges:
  • Developing an active social networking portal capable of handling millions of users at the same time without slowing the site down.

  • Synchronizing and incorporating an extensive list of features designed for enhancing the users’ community networking experience.

  • Implementing a reliable framework that instantly connects users with groups, individuals, events and other happenings across the web.

  • Providing and maintaining the database of a wide range of interactive features like mail service, blogs and forums to ensure user participation.

  • Incorporating web usability principles in the website design to ensure easy navigation for all types of users.
  • Ensuring data and content security.

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, AJAX, Java Script, HTML5, CSS3 etc.
Database MYSQL Database Server, DB Clustering, DB Optimization, Master Slave Replication, Query Optimization , Scheduler for Backups

Manpower

Project Leader 1
Developers 4
Designers 2
Quality Assurance Testers 2

Planning

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

Architecture

The design approach was built around PHP and MYSQL Server due to the social networking nature of the website. In addition to this, the development structure was specifically implemented to facilitate the ‘Faster to Market’ transition of such concepts. Modules like Mail Services, Invitations, Forums and Blogs were developed in PHP such that they can be executed directly from the UI layer. 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

Privacy and security of content was ensured through greater accuracy in handling user status, user statistics and other user-related validations. Optimized query features offered comprehensive search & browse options. The entire framework was kept highly scalable in order to provide adaptability & ease while incorporating new features. Web usability guidelines were strictly followed during development and the interface was made easily navigable through judicious use of CSS and HTML controls. The site was developed and fully functional within a span of 5 months.

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