eCampus : An Android App to Automate Campus Tasks

This one’s a late post. 1 year late to be exact. I always wanted to get my hands on android app development. Then came an assignment, as part of the Real Time Systems Course at Amrita, to create an app to automate the tasks in the campus. Little I knew of java coding and android apps. But this is not a hobby project anymore as my grades are dependent on it.

So we were split into teams and this time its a little bigger team, with 6 members. None of us had any idea of java coding. But we had a solution! Develop a web app using HTML, CSS and JS, and make it into an app. Since our app mainly had to give and access data to/from a database, this method seemed much easier too. We had the apache cordova framework to do the conversion from webapp to an android application package (apk). Next we needed a database. We studied a locally hosted database and freely available databases. We were much impressed by the featured provided by the google’s no-SQL database, firebase. It was fast, realtime and we had a JavaScript API to do the data operations which was pretty easy. So we finalised our development tools to get the task done. The app will be developed using HTML, CSS and JAVASCRIPT, Firebase will be used as our database and Cordova to do the conversion to apk.

The app was designed with 5 user levels, each level having different capabilities and customized menus when logged in. The 1st user level is the admin, who is capable of adding the remaining users and their access levels. Then comes students, who can read notifications and messages from other users. The next three users are Teaching and non-teaching staffs, which include hostel and canteen staffs. With these access levels, the users have the capability based on their functional area; for example, a teacher can update the grades of students, canteen staff can update the food menu from their console etc.

One advantage when using firebase is that it is a real-time database; meaning any data change in the DB will be notified immediately to the subscribed nodes. Thus one doesn’t have to rerun the database access code to fetch an updated data, but can simply subscribe to it and get notified whenever a change happens.

 

Admin console with sidebar

 

Login Page

 

Hostel Staff Home

 

Student Home

 

On Opening the app, the user will be presented a login page where he/she can login using the username and password set by the admin. Based on the data registered by the admin, the user will be identified as a student, a teaching or non-teaching staff and will be given a customized home page depending on their functional area. The user can then browse through the menus available or post new messages if it is allowed. The code for the app is available here.

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