July 13, 2005

Existing Achitecture

On Monday morning, we decided to keep the existing architecture of the BOSS System. The reason of not modifying the BOSS System architecture at this time is because there is no one with sufficient skills and experience to implement the new structure using standard JSP and Servlet technology.

Keeping the existing architecture may not look like the way forward for BOSS System. As I mention earlier, skills shortage limits our ability to make any major changes to the BOSS System. Further more, the existing BOSS System has been known to be a secure working system.

Therefore, perhaps keeping the existing architecture is a chance for me to concentrate on my project on BOSS System. Over the next few weeks, I will have to tidy up all the codes that I have written for my third year project to give the BOSS System web application a new interface. I will talk about the new interface in my next entry.

July 07, 2005

Java Servlet and JSP technology

The simpler way of developing BOSS Online will be using Java Servlet and JSP technology. The BOSS Online web application should form a tiered system. The client is connected to the server using servlets. JSPs are used to seperate the interface design of the web application and the web logic. There will be some sort of database accessing codes written in Java to access the mySQL database. The use of Java Beans is under consideration as we are trying to keep the structure of the BOSS Online as simple as possible.

If BOSS Online will be going to be implemented using the servlet and JSP technology, the structure of the BOSS Online directory will look like this:



. build.xml










. web.xml

  • /build directory keeps the build script of the web application, build.xml. The xml files will be runned by Ant so that web application can be deloyed later on tomcat
  • /dist directory is the directory to keeps the built web application before it is being deployed on tomcat
  • /src keeps the source code of the web application
  • /WEB-INF is the standard subdirectory of an web application. It has web.xml which is the deployment descriptor. It also contains subdirectory like /classes which contains server-side clasess, /lib which contains JAR archive of the library files used by the sercer-side classes

July 06, 2005

BOSS Online Structure and Architecture

Ideally, BOSS Online as an web application should have a clear separation between the client side code and the server side code.

The current BOSS Online is not implemented using standard Servlet and JSP. Standard Servlet and JSP technology uses a request object to encapsulates all the data that client passes to the server and uses a response onject to encapsulates all the data passed by the server to the client. Any persistent state data is stored using a session object.

The non standard way of developing BOSS Online web application made the whole issue of requesting and responding more complicated, or less neat. Client side codes of BOSS Online consist of static web pages, XML style sheet and CSS. Requests from the client, which usually generated when students click on the link on the page displayed on their screen, will be directed into the server by a jsp files called "PageFetch.jsp". "PageFetch.jsp" find a file from the server which match the parameter given. The server side file is then responsible to handle the request from the client.

July 05, 2005

BOSS Online Student Client

Following are files which are created/modified in order to implement the new BOSS Online Student Client:

Style Sheet


  • Screen layout type style sheet
  • It is used to substitute the existing boss/web/main.css style sheet in the new BOSS Online interface
  • It includes the definitions of the colour scheme, spacing, font styles and positions, links and buttons apprearances


  • Print layout type style sheet
  • Set the page layout so that students can print off the submission receipt

Static Web Pages


  • Set bossMain.css as primary stylesheet and main.css as secondary style sheet. (main.css is actually redundant in the new student interface implementation. It will be deleted once the BOSS Online staff client interface is implemented)
  • Home page for BOSS Online. Displays the BOSS logo and has 2 links for staff and students to login
  • Also has links to BOSS System external web page and accessibility features


  • Help page and accessibility page for the users
  • Help page will be completed after the student client interface is implemented


  • Static web page to display a thank you message after students requested a new password from the system


  • Static web page to display the thank you message after students register to use the NOSS Online for the first time

Page Handler

Page handler use jsp:forward command to forward the request to the server


XML Style Sheet


  • XML style sheet of BOSS Online
  • Specify how the data returned from the databased is displayed in the web page
  • Also specify the layout and the position of the web elements


  • Contains the definitions and the structures of the XML tags used in the stdpage.xsl

Build Script


  • build script that rebuild BOSS Online Web Application to commit any changes make to the server side code


  1. It is important to discuss the usefulness and the complexity of the interface designed for the BOSS Online Student Client before any further implementation
  2. There is a need to discuss the usefulness of the catagory "Opened Assignments" , " Closed Assignments" and " All Assignments", in respect to the suggestion " Student Submission History"
  3. BOSS Online needs a cleaner method to retrieve the student data, assignment details and student submission details from the database. At the moment, student details are extracted from the session objects and there is no easy way to get the information about a piece of assignments or submissions
  4. There is also a need to bind the student details with corresponding assignments and their submitted files
  5. There is a bug in file uploading process and logout process
  6. Dealing with error message(?)
  7. Verification of the submitted files. (Is there a need to verify the files submitted)


  1. Use Anthil to prepare schedule build of BOSS Online/BOSS System
  2. Create database specific methods and encapsulate the data returned in an object

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