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Yellow Pages Based Business Networking Application

Categories : All, Case Study, Social Networks

Client Requirement

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The site is a Yellow Pages Based Business Networking Application exclusively aimed towards helping people find the right services on the net.

Through its online ‘Yellow Pages’ resource it will gather people’s collective intelligence and network them to locate the best possible businesses. Targeted to be the ultimate resource for locating local businesses the site will offer a range of features such as Google Maps, location-centric searches and extensive user reviews in the form of articles, images and videos.

Through its community section, users will be encouraged to create an accurate profile and build a trustworthy community that helps them find and offer reliable services on the net.

The site will offer a range of tools for enhancing offline interactions between users along with bidding tools for getting the best deals.

The site will provide numerous customization options with easy navigation and user-friendly features to ensure access for members of all experiences.

Project Challenges

Team faced the following challenges:
  • Incorporating web usability principles while developing numerous features designed for enhancing the users’ community networking experience.
  • The implementation of a highly flexible and robust database that smoothly handles already millions and constantly increasing online business records.
  • Providing a robust framework for handling extensive amount of data, ratings, statistics and options like bidding etc.
  • Sustaining good load balance for a feature-heavy website that is available 24/7 and accessed by thousands of users simultaneously.
  • Developing a fully comprehensive business portal offering all the benefits of a community website along with crucial business-locating features such as Google Maps, Video Reviews and Bidding Tools among others.
  • Ensuring user privacy and safeguarding their content.

Technologies Used

Operating System & Server ManagementRed 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 & EnvironmentsPHP5+, Apache Web Server, AJAX, Java Script, HTML5, CSS3 etc.
DatabaseMYSQL Database Server, DB Clustering, DB Optimization, Master Slave Replication, Query Optimization, Scheduler for Backups

Manpower

Project Leader1
Developers5
Designers2
Quality Assurance Testers3

Planning

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.

Architecture

The design approach was built around PHP and MySQL Server due to the social networking nature of the website. Modules like User Profiles, 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

The sturdy architecture was equipped with an exhaustive yellow pages database to fulfill the business networking aspect of the site. The optimized database was synergized with superior query features to offer accurate results through comprehensive search & browse options. Category-based and location-centric searches were enhanced by the inclusion of Google Maps and image-accompanied reviews. The site employed numerous user and service ranking tactics to encourage user participation and ensure the authenticity of reviews.

Extensive bidding options provided by the site helped users to locate the best services for cheap. Besides the integration of coupons systems, the site was equipped with numerous video options for supporting video reviews of services. 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 5 months.

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