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Web Development and Its Interaction With Social Medias, Thesis Paper Example

Pages: 42

Words: 11533

Thesis Paper

Abstract

The research assesses the factors associated with designing a trading website that functions and operates through social media channels as well as through its own independent web infrastructure for optimized performance and self-sufficient marketing. The aim of the research is to highlight the significance of social media integration in the website development process. An additional objective of this research is to draft a database design for the application development of the trading site. Finally, this social media web development report seeks to define the value of web 2.0 in web development, as well as the effective use of social media to expand site reach, based on current peer reviewed research. The data finds that through establishing an entity relationship with Application Program Interface (API), where the system is seamlessly integrated into social media network functionality, there is higher probability of reaching more potential users for the site, while simultaneously cutting costs associated with advertising.

Introduction

The following research assesses the factors involved in designing and implementing a trading website inherently connected with social media as an aspect of its functionality. The current information explains the core infrastructure of the website as it works simultaneously as a social network where users can trade items between one another and as an integral part of social media culture. The system provides a registration page for new users and login functionality for existing users. Upon successfully logging in, users are able to add items to the website and then trade those items for other ones. In addition, clients can make an offer for the items of others and receive a notification message when an offer is made for their own. The system sends the notification message to the client’s account to the website and to their mobile phone in the form of SMS. The system is able to gather personal information and items from the client and it handles the data on the server side. The processed data is stored in the database. This web service is developed using HTML5 and Java Script as front end and MySQL relational database and PHP as backend languages. In addition, the site is integrated with social media outlets for web based advertisement and for more convenient international accessibility.  Facebook, Twitter and Google+ represent the most widely used social media networks to date; for this purpose, features of Application Program Interface (API) of respective social media networks are assessed and how they assist in the social network to website interface process through the use of distinct applications. Overall, the following research assesses the factors associated with designing a trading website that functions and operates through social media channels, as well as through its own independent web infrastructure for optimized performance and self-sufficient marketing.

Social Media and Marketing

Web 2.0 Applications and Social Media

Berthon et al assess the pivotal point where marketing meets Web 2.0, social media, and creative consumers. They note that this evolving trend in web dynamics marks many significant implications for international marketing strategy in business [3, 271].  This forces all managers to devise business models for the 21st century that take into account the threats and opportunities presented by the prominence of Web 2.0, creative consumers, and social media, as these contributing dynamics have created a shift in value and power within most markets of industry. The study identifies five key axioms they consider to be essential for success in web based business, specifically, (1) social media must be a key function of the culture, technology, and government of a particular country; (2) local events must be globally shared online; (3) global events must be exposed to, and (re)interpreted based on, local perspectives; (4) that actions of creative consumers rely on government, technology and culture; and (5) technological development is historically dependent on the contribution of creative consumers [3, 271]. They point out that the core theme that sustains throughout all of these axioms is that for businesses to remain successful they must remain up to date on changes in social media, consumers and advancing trends technologies and their applications.

Web 2.0, Social Media, and Creative Consumers

Fig1. Web 2.0, Social Media, and Creative Consumers [3, 272]

The above diagram demonstrates the three aspects of successful business in e-commerce today as Web 2.0, social media and creative consumers. These aspects are presented based on their relation to one another within a context of locus of value, locus of activity and locus of power. In order for the above managerial recommendation to work, marketers must engage customers, reduce bureaucratic influence, embrace technology, invest in training employees to be web savvy, and senior managers must be informed about the importance of their presence on social media platforms [3, 272]. For the trading site to be effective at providing its intended service, while also remaining self-sustainable within a modern Web 2.0 environment that relies heavily on brand recognition within social media and social capital, managers and developers want the site to sit within the middle point of the three. The central point of the diagram, specifically right in the middle of the triangle, represents a place where there is a perfect balance between technical aspects, social aspects, content, and creation. It is also keen to note that the authors identify the innovation of Web 2.0 to be an evolution in business online where activity shifts from the desktop to the web. This concept can be seen with how user and businesses are migrating their data to the Cloud, how many services for daily operations are moving online (such as the conversion of files from one format to another, faxing documents by way of e-mail, text messaging mobiles devices), and in how data hosting services are allowing businesses to be more lean with their data storage and sharing activities. All of this plays a pivotal role in shaping the environment in which web businesses operate and it influences how they approach issues like database design, and entity relational management.

A key aspect of Web 2.0 is its compatibility with HTML5 and JavaScript, which play a significant role in the front end and back end dynamics of the trading site’s operations. Prior to the use of HTML5 and the integration of mobile devices with web dynamics, it was impractical for developers to focus too much on the frontend interfaces of their websites. This was primarily due to the fact that there were a wide range of proprietary plugins and hacks that overwhelmed the system.  HTML5 improved aspect of web development through incorporating JavaScript and W3C specifications that are supported widely across almost all browsers and devices [19, 12]. HTML5 helps programmers better confront the challenge of moving more code to the front end using CSS, JavaScript, and HTML [19, 12]. It also provides loosely coupled backend infrastructure that is more supportive of offline clients [19, 12]. The use of HTML5 and JavaScript enables the trading website to use the internet browser as a platform within itself. Gradually, the web browser became utilized as an inherent part of the website infrastructure for web developers.

Another key aspect of the site’s use of HTML5 is its capacity to function on mobile devices.  This is beneficial to businesses using HTML5 because 150 million people use mobile devices as their main resource to accessing the internet [19, 13]. The popularity of mobile device use for internet activities contributes to why developers are starting to favor HTML5 applications over native ones [19, 13]. It can also be credited for why mobile development is taking priority is over traditional PC application development [19, 13]. Mobile browser statistics are becoming a significant factor in the enterprise environment. This makes the ability of the trading website to be adaptable to mobile devices a critical factor in both its web infrastructure and marketability.

Social Media Marketing

Social Media marketing plays an invaluable role in the success and sustainability of small to medium enterprises and online startups in today’s predominantly web-based market. For many small businesses, social media marketing offers a low cost entry point into competitive markets. Traditional media is recognized as television, newspapers, magazines, radio, newsletters, tax press and a variety of other print publications. Social media on the other hand, has emerged as a new alternative form of telecommunication technology, which is composed of network information mediums that are digital and computer based. Social media serves the public through a range of differing mediums such as podcasts, wikis, internet forums, pictures, blogs, music and video-sharing, all of which are most commonly shared and exchanged through social networking sites like YouTube, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, Instagram and Twitter.

The use of social media has rapidly changed daily lives and this change can be attributed the power social media gives the public to interact with one another [3, 264]. One of the main differences between social media marketing and traditional marketing is that social media marketing is cheaper. A social media marketing campaign can reach 1,000 people for a fraction of what it would cost to run a television ad or an advertisement in a newspaper. Social media marketing advertisements are also cheaper than e-mail ads [3, 264]. Social media is the only platform that lets businesses, politicians running for office, or even individuals promoting their own pet projects, the ability to interact with fans, constituents or consumers. This interaction establishes a two-way relationship that in many ways can be hugely lucrative for corporations or rewarding for anyone looking to promote an idea or concept. The most significant benefit of social media marketing is the minimal cost and the fact that it can be developed from a grass roots level. Another advantage that social media marketing offers over traditional media is that the results are easier to measure [2, 17]. There are some disadvantages to social media marketing campaigns in that they are time consuming and the impact of the promotions can decline rapidly due to the frequent flow of content online [2, 17].  Due to a lot of these factors, businesses recognize that internet marketing both as a tool for promotion as well as a profession is a very lucrative and effective alternative to traditional advertising, but they are also aware of pitfalls.

Internet marketing represents a significant aspect of e-commerce and social media. It is substantially cheaper than traditional marketing as it allows for unique targeted advertising based on demographic.   In this respect, small to medium enterprises can compete on a much larger scale with big brands in a particular market as they can reach broader audiences for less and more efficiently target their ideal consumers. Another standard aspect of internet marketing is information management as a wide range of social network marketing API tools like Google Analytics can provide extensive data tracking tools to assist businesses in monitoring their online advertisement campaigns [30, 2]. The trade website business model differs from traditional E-commerce sites in that there is no real need for financial transactions. All revenue earned by the site is generated primarily through advertising or fees applied to users seeking to trade items. On the topic of online bartering businesses and how they rank in vertical search engines, a recent study found that the online barter business is still underexplored due the lack of relevant information within aggregate services on bartering or trade exchange sites [21, 1357]. The study implements and designs a vertical search engine called ExSearch [21, 1357]. The system aggregates online barter information for developing the barter market. Different from classical general purpose web search engines, ExSearch utilizes a focused crawler capable of gathering related information from various websites. It extracts barter information from free-text web pages in such a way that unstructured information is presented in structured databases. Data mining techniques, like regression, are also used to fulfill missing information, which cannot be extracted from the web pages. The search results are ranked and validated based on the popularity of user queries. Experimental results show that each component module in the ExSearch system is efficient and effective [21, 1357].  The primary finding of the study indicates that the success of online bartering sites, where trade is the primary function of the site, is limited by word of mouth [21, 1357]. The users of the sites are the main source of this word of mouth marketing, which means bartering sites have limited ways of expanding beyond their own registered users or frequent users [21, 1357]. Barter information is traditionally exchanged or distributed through newsgroups, commercials or online forums. By integrating the trading site as an inherent aspect of social network sites, it expands the reach of the site as whole with minimal cost.

An effective online marketing campaign will incorporate search engine optimization (SEO), paid advertisement campaigns often referred to as search engine management (SEM) [18, 212]. Search engine optimization involves a distinct set of activities utilized to enhance a site’s exposure while monitoring the results of the campaign. The primary objective of search engine optimization is to increase the traffic to a website, but through advanced and uniquely honed targeted campaigns based on relevant queries (key words), the traffic can be molded in a way that is most optimal for the site to resonate with its visitors. This is understood as drawing a targeted audience.  The ideal internet marketing campaign is structured to attract a targeted audience through the use of contextual advertising, social media marketing, back-link building, in the form of text links, articles, banners, and ad placement. There is also a wide range of advertising support in the form of analytics that provide users with information like conversion data. This conversion data can be in reference to how many people click on a particular ad and then visit parts of the site, or for those who make a purchase. Conversion, as it relates to the trading site, is based on how many people register. Conversion data is related to click through rate (CTR), which follows that based on the effectiveness of a particular online marketing strategy, there is a certain number impressions that an advertisement can have that will results in clicks leading to the end site. The common abbreviation for impression is (CPM), which stands for cost per impression. This refers to the amount of money it costs, or the amount of money that can be expected for a publisher to earn, from having a particular advertisement viewed by 1000 people [30, 2]. The CTR is often relative to a distinct CPM, which is usually based on the quality of the advertisement, the collective appeal of a group of online ad methods such as social media content, paid ads, and article and blog promotion establishes the effectiveness of an advertisement campaign [30, 2]. The primary advantage this advertisement method has over traditional television, radio or billboard advertisement is that much more individuals can be reached online using these outlets versus the aforementioned traditional methods [30, 2]. The most distinct difference between online marketing and traditional marketing is that the advertiser is provided more control over the reach, and targeting of their campaign. There are also more tools available to monitor performance.

Social Media channel Connection

Web based businesses are becoming more integrated with social media platforms, like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, LinkedIn , Google+ and YouTube due to the extensive access to potential users these sites present. While the trading site, on which this thesis is based, serves both as a functioning platform for trade online, the site is also modeled as a social network where users can interact with one another. Similar to the way many forums work, in addition to being able to exchange items, users will also be able to exchange ideas, market their products to one another and gather information on other interests. The exchange of items without the use of currency places the site within the barter market. This is very different from sites like Amazon, Ebay or Gumbtree, and puts the site in direct completion with other bartering sites like PawnGo, ThredUp, Swap.com, U-Exchange, and Freecycle.

Cormode & Krishnamurthy

Fig2 Cormode & Krishnamurthy [10, 13]

Facebook API interaction with website

Facebook API enables businesses to establish a connection between their website and the Facebook social media network platform to benefit from its massive user base. The prominence of Facebook within the Web 2.0 business climate makes it a valuable resource for any business trying reach people on the internet and the most effective way to market on Facebook is through Facebook API. In U.S., Facebook is recognized as the second most watched video content site behind YouTube [31, 41].  The success of Facebook and the apps the site hosts can be attributed to “portalization” [10, 13]. This is a strategy utilized by developers when designing Web 2.0 application in such a way that incorporates every possible feature onto their site. Once the user signs in, there is no need to leave the application [10, 13]. The way Facebook incorporates portaization into its operations is that the site enables users to access weather, news, sports and a variety of other information all from the main page of the site. Facebook API allows developers to take advantage of this feature by doing the same with their applications. Web applications can be integrated in a way where they are an integral part of the site without leaving Facebook, but while simultaneously promoting the brand of the application.

Facebook Marketing API

Understanding the Facebook platform and the many resources it provides users is an essential aspect of implementing a successful Facebook marketing campaign. One distinct aspect of the Facebook platform is that the site provides a wide array of application development tools and allows users to develop their own applications to put on the social network. As there are a substantial number of users on Facebook, developing an application that works in tandem with the web-presence of a particular brand or company provides that company with extensively more exposure.  Facebook offers advanced API for users to develop their own applications capable of interfacing with the social network [12, 69].   These tools support the seamless integration of applications developed by an outside engineer or brand with the Facebook website platform, and if done effectively registered Facebook users will be able to use a particular services or website without leaving the network. Applications developed to use the basic API provided by Facebook focus more on leading registered Facebook users to the sponsored website of the company responsible for the application [8, 893].

Through the use of marketing API, site developers are able to access the advertising platform of Facebook through the use of their own advertising tools. The Facebook Marketing API allows developers to utilize all the same functionality as Facebook tools within a custom solution. With the Marketing API, developers can, delegate audience management activities, which entail managing their audience data for custom audience targeting, manage advertisements by creating campaigns ads and ad sets, and they can build a custom dashboard to run and manage analytics. The final aspect of Facebook Marketing API is that it allows for business managers to manage Facebook assets, such are their ad accounts pages, ad, and supplemental apps. One of the more significant aspects of Facebook API is the demographic targeting it provides business managers. Advertisements on the site can be honed to target audiences that will most likely respond to the campaigns. For example, a specific post on the website’s fan page that shares information about the site can be promoted to reach a specific demographic while an entirely different post can be pumped to reach a separate demographic.

Twitter API interaction with website

A recent study on Twitter API evaluated how applications are developed through Twitter API tools. Twitter’s application programming interface (API) allows data based applications to share their data with the rest of the world through the social media platform. In essence, Twitter’s API works like a no frills website, where data is accessed through URL requests but it returns structured information instead displaying it in a browser [25, 8]. The data returned by Twitter API is no different than Facebook’s or Google’s in that it is also structures data in a specific format ideal for developers to create applications that can interface with its structured in a thread format. Twitter API is a distinctly resourceful tool that enables developers to connect website infrastructure seamlessly with Twitter for advertising and operational purposes. For example, the trading site interacts with Twitter API, through the use of GET and POST. Methods accessed through API are requested using GET, which represents a set of parameters that can be exchanged as a string of URL query. POST is similar to GET, in that it accomplishes the same objective, but it acquires the results differently. Currently, Twitter API accommodates four distinct forms of formatted data, specifically, JSON, RSS, Atom, XML. From the perspective of the consumer, Twitter API is utilized by the trading site to distribute traceable banners throughout Twitter for ad promotions both on and off the site. Twitter API also allows developers to integrate Twitter data within the structure of their personal website. On the front end, this is in the form of trending tweets displayed directly on the site.

Google+ API interaction with website

While Google+ is no longer considered to be a prominent social network due to the company’s recent announcement that it would be shutting down as a social network, there are a variety of tools provided by Google+ API that empower developers to launch effective marketing campaigns. The most significant resource can be seen with Google Analytics, which enables users to track and monitor the reach and traffic of marketing strategies. For example, developers can target key demographics for their websites through keyword campaigns on Google AdWords. Google API essentially provides users with extensive access to supplementary features of Google.  Google+ API provides developers with access to public data and it supports Android, iOS, CSS, JavaScript, Python, PHP, and Ruby [29, 131]. The fundamental resource Google+ API provides developers is the ability to use specialized programming interfaces that are compatible with AJAX technology and JavaScript [12, 69]. Providing developers with access to Google+ subsystems enables the trading site to incorporate features like Hangouts-API, Google+ JavaScript API, Google+ Play SDK and Google+ iOS SDK. Google+ Hangouts represents a video call system that works through JavaScript. Once a developer has access to this feature, they are able to exchange data between other hangout users and the API supports the needed software components for the chat to function. This serves as a valued resource for customer services management as the trading site can incorporate Hangout chats into the “contact support” segment of the site. While users can always contact administrators of a site by phone or e-mail, having a live chat interface tool creates a more engaging element to the website infrastructure that helps a brand gain trust and repose with its consumers. An additional aspect of Google+ API is the multilingualism it offers users with integrated tools for translation of page content. The API also supports valued security features in regards to authentication for logins, which oversee design and privacy features [29, 131]. The box is an addition plugin resource, which allows Google+ profiles to be displayed directly onto a developer’s website or mobile application and the Google+ – login can be used within a developer’s site for authorization and the authentication purposes. Integrating Google+ API authentication adds an extra layer of security. Overall, the features provided by Google+ API enhance the user experience while at the same time consolidating the resources necessary for a website to function at a high level. One of the more progressive advantages Google offers web developers is resources associated with expanding their sites into the mobile sector. Through Google+ Play SDK/ Google+ iOS SDK, which supports the development of iOS and Android applications, developers are able to utilize SDK to integrate UI-elements. The value Google+ API enables developers to incorporate a wide range of technical infrastructure that would otherwise be too costly to develop in house. The tools offered by Google through their API empower small to medium enterprises to function on the same level as much larger scale corporations, and these tools are invaluable resources for the trading site to implement [29, 131].

System Specification

System Description

The system provides a registration page for the new users and login functionality for the existing users. Upon successfully logging in, users are able to add items to the website and then trade those items for other ones. In addition, clients can make an offer for other people’s items and receive a notification message when an offer is made for the item. The system sends the notification message to the client’s account to the website and to their mobile phone in the form of SMS. The system is able to gather personal information and items from the client and it handles the data on the server side. The processed data is stored in the database. This web service is developed using HTML5 and Java Script as front end and MySQL relational database and PHP as backend languages.

Specifications

The trade website business model differs from traditional E-commerce sites in that there is no real need for financial transactions. All revenue earned by the site is generated primarily through advertising or fees applied to users seeking to trade items. The primary way the site makes money is through advertisement revenue. The trading site can benefit from placing online ads through three distinct methods: (1) unique ad layouts provided by commercial online entities like Facebook, LinkedIn, or Twitter; (2) free content marketing in the form of social media posts, articles, or video; (3) paid online textual advertisements that target based on search criteria, primarily through Google AdWords. These distinct ad specifications shape how the site’s infrastructure works to make the trading site self-sustaining. For example, in addition to producing free content posts in the form of article, video, and images on sites like YouTube and on blogs, the content can also be monetized through Google AdSense. This opens up the brand to an alternative stream of revenue that can in turn be reinvested back into the site’s own paid ad promotions [4, 30].  Despite widespread reach of all online ad methods, the CTR of these methods tend to be 1%, which means they must have substantial reach to garner intended results [4, 30]. Having website architecture in place that is appealing to the user, with shareable content, and that integrates well with the API of social media sites becomes a valued necessity to establish an edge in this market; the ability to mitigate the cost of operating the site through monetizing marketing efforts only further supports this goal.  To benefit from this trend, the trading site will incorporate the use of a forum, a market place, mobile API and some other features.

Forums represent discussion groups that are hosted by commercial entities. The forum on the trading site is utilized as a resource to encourage users to engage with one another, it can also serves as a directory of the site where users can access information about the site faster than id they were to contact support. The most beneficial aspects of forums is that they expand the reach of the site by making it larger and increasing the overall content. This content is in turn crawled by search engines and extends the query (keyword) reach of the site in search. In this respect, the sites, forum serves an integral part of its web infrastructure. A fiscal benefit of having an active forum with a lot of users is that as the reach of the forum expands through publishing new topics and pages, it provides more exposure for advertisers, which earns more revenue for the site.

The mobile specifications of the site are both relevant for the site to connect with users through mobile devices while also sustaining account management features. The system sends the notification message to the client’s account to the website and to their mobile phone in the form of SMS. In this way personal information can be gathered from users based on the items trade between clients. The processed data is stored in the database. This web service is developed using HTML5 and Java Script as front end and MySQL relational database and PHP as backend languages [12, 69].  The primary consumer base of this trading site is composed of individuals seeking to trade goods.

There is room to expand the brand into a sector of providing a platform for individuals to barter services as well. In this since the site also serves as a web community and depending on the potential size of the site, there is the possibility of its user base evolving into a trading marketplace. Intangible site features can emerge out of expanding the site’s user base. While certain items will trade based on market value, the site itself could eventually serve as a primary source or barometer to access information on market value of popular items. For example, users will be able to identify how many iPhone6s can get them a particular car or another item of traditionally cyclical value. In respect to the exchange of services, the site will have to expand before venturing into providing this feature; the main premise is that users will be able to offer their services for a particular item, or they can offer services in exchange for services. There will have to be some form of monitoring put in place to track whether services are rendered which would be a challenging barrier to this form of expansion.

The market place serves as one of the primary features of the site and for optimum exposure to potential users it is integrated with Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ API. Registers users, and non-users alike can access the marketplace through their social media accounts to view available items up for trade. E-mail is represents the final valued feature specification of the site as the trading site’s newsletter is distributed through e-mail, as well as standard communication with users. As previously stated, the site has the potential to grow into a resource for market information as well as a tool for individuals to trade their items. Within the newsletter, product reviews and exchange rates can be provided to potential traders. This also opens up a new platform for advertising, both for external stakeholders as well as for the site itself.

Application

A web application, or web app, represents a program that is stored on a remote server. The application program is used to deliver system protocols over the internet through a browser interface. The application interface works simultaneously with the server and the site user. The back end of the application is structured through the intelligent design of SEO for optimal ad performance and user Account Management [4, 30]. In addition to having a significant impact on the application’s layout and presentation as it’s delivered to the user, SEO entails all of the links, code, content, and other aspects of the website structure that influences the site’s traffic.  Applications that implement effective SEO are structured in a way that is conscious of search engine algorithms, while at the same time not sacrificing the user’s experience on the site.

Mobile UIF

The advantage to expanding a website’s presence to mobile devices is invaluable on many levels. Specifically as it relates to reaching more consumers, before going through the steps necessary to building a universal mobile framework, it’s important to evaluate what a framework is and why it’s significant and useful for this development project. Building a universal framework for iOS or Android can entail a variety of factors that relate to the fundamental functioning of the site and its marketability and reach within the mobile sector. Universal information framework (UIF), involves a hierarchical directory composed of shared resources [25, 9]. For example, a UIF might have a dynamic shared library, image files, header files, reference documentation organized in one single location, or nib files [25, 9]. Instead of having header files and binaries in disproportionate locations a framework connects all components together in one finite package. It places components in one known structured directory, like a library, that can enable developers readapt website structure to a mobile platform. Packaging a library as a framework simplifies things for developers because it not only provides a binary to link against, but it includes all of the necessary header files to reference as well.

The mobile universal framework utilized for this trading site can be defined as a framework that encompasses a binary built specifically for use with architectures like armv6, armv7, and i386, which is useful in iOS development. This is due to the fact that a mobile application can be built for the simulator (i386) and the device armv6, armv7 which enables developer to statically link a library resolves symbols at compile time and embeds the library into the application. Currently, it is not possible to create a dynamic iOS framework, but iOS Universal Framework is a project that simplifies the process [25, 9]. iOS Universal Framework helps by providing an XCode template which helps developers get through the process of developing for iOS [25, 9]. The use of MySQL on the trading site also makes it more adaptable to mobile UIF as Apple and Android manufacturers and developers have invested a lot of attention to making the infrastructure of mobile devices more compatible with basic web architecture as Makice notes this through the use of an XCode template. For the trading site’s mobile application presence on social media sites, an XCode template will be utilized as well, specifically for compiling a library into its armv6, armv7, and i386 variants.

Verification

Verification entails advancements in software architecture, specifically those related to emerging internet security platforms have expanded technology and web services market to a much larger range of possibilities that were not available prior to their implementation. A prime example of this can be seen with the advent of Virtual iD online security protocol, or computer forensic tools like Scapel. These innovations make the internet a safer place to handle business, but more importantly a safer place for individuals to share their live with the world.

Functional Requirements

Key functional requirements of the site all stem from its necessity to provide its intended service to the user. This means the effective mediation and assisted transaction of bartering agreements, which is the core functional requirement of the website. Essentially the resource the site is providing the end user is a database of information that can best enable them to trade items for the ideal item they have in mind. The functional requirements entail all of the key functions that the website and underlying software of the site must carryout in order to meet its objectives of operation. This means in order for the core operations of the site to work, operations like trading about the core operations. Because the “functions” are established before development, functional requirements must be written in the future tense.

In developing the web application for the trading site, some of the functional requirements are as follows. The web application shall allow users to upload images of items, as well as a distinct image for personal identification to be used as the avatar on their profile.  The web application shall be able to hold certain items during set periods to keep them out of the view of the public while bartering negotiations are underway.  The web application shall produce a digital receipt of exchange detailing trade history between users, which includes name of customer, items traded, the estimated monetary of each item and time of the transaction. The web application shall have SIM communication capabilities to message clients when necessary. The web application shall be able to produce weekly, monthly and yearly reports about trades. The web application shall provide a front end database for users to search through to identify available items for trade on the site. It’s important to note that all of the above mentioned requirements are directly related to the site’s ability to operate and provide its key function of supporting the trade of items between site users.

Non-Functional Requirements

In additional to functional requirements, there are also Non-functional requirements that the site is expected to support. In addition to executing core operational functions, there are also aspects of the sites functionality and intended objectives that may require it to conform to certain unsaid criteria that have nothing to do with the primary functions for it to operate but that could still impeded the site overall effectiveness. For example, some of these non-functional requirements included aspects of the site’s operations like the reliability of the site, the response time, customer support, database security, can include things like response time and reliability. Non-functional requirements are less focused on actual site functions than the outside features that could influence user satisfaction. Some non-functional requirements for the trading site include the web application being intuitive in its use making it convenient to use by all employees including admin support representatives and managers, the web application being available in multiple languages, and for the web application allowing several trades to be made simultaneously without negatively impacting performance. It should be noted that each requirement is not related to an operation how the application functions. Instead, the main focus in this case is the ease of use and performance.

Use Case Diagrams

A use case diagram represents a unified modeling language (UML). It’s utilized as a form of behavioral diagram. A use case diagram in the Unified Modeling Language (UML) is most commonly understood as a behavioral diagram which is structured and defined through the use of Use-case analysis. Use cases are developed during the analysis process of a particular project to pinpoint partition system functions and how they operate. During a used case analysis the partition systems are broken down into actors and use cases. A use case details a sequence of actions that provide some form of measurable value to an actor. An actor represents an organization, person, or external system that plays a role in one or more interactions with the system. ER Diagram breaks down the nature of an entity-relationship (ER). This diagram is a specialized graphic that illustrates the interrelationships shared between entities in a database.

As the main use of the trading site is for users to barter items, the actors in the use case diagram below are broken down into two respective traders making an exchange on the site.

Use Case Diagram Example

Fig3: Use Case Diagram Example

The above diagram shows that time plays a significant role in the bartering process as its critical users have the ability to trade their items based on supply and demand, the necessary need for a particular item can substantially influence within the marketplace of the website as a whole. This means the amount of time a particular trader has to make a decision about whether or not to execute a particular transaction becomes critical to the sites function as an effective trading site. This is also a factor that distinguishes this site from competitors, as there is no standard policy for time frame between trades within the bartering market.

Entity Relationship Diagrams

A critical aspect of software engineering is the development of entity relationship models. ER models are data models utilized to describe the data information aspects of a business domain and its operation requirements. ER models are drafted to present an abstract representation of how these data information features  the site are way that lends itself to ultimately being implemented in a database such as a relational database. The Entity relationship model is the figure which is the graphical representation of the firms with each other. This is used in connection with the different database systems and computing the data organizing. It is the place of linking the data with that of the information system and storing data. The relationship can be one to one, one to many and many to many. In the case of online shopping web development, the relation is many to many.

Entity Relationship Diagram Example 1

Fig4: Entity Relationship Diagram Example 1

As it can be seen in the diagram, there are many relation exists with the information system for an online shopping website. Entity means as object which are shown in the boxes which wants to store information and data. The key attribute or the unique features of each entity shows the distinguishing characteristics of the company or the website. The relationship explains how each attribute shares the data and the information from the database using the Information systems. In short, the Entity relationship diagram illustrates the database logical structure.

Entity Relationship Diagram Example 2

Fig5: Entity Relationship Diagram Example 2

An essential aspects of mapping out an effective entity relationship model for the trading site, it having clear understanding of the relational database management and how data management must function within a web 2.0 landscape. The above diagram demonstrates that the primary focus of all data on the site is to serve barter agreements/ trades, and to supplement these transactions. Activity in regards to the exchange and transfer of information stems primarily from this objective. There are tables for the storage of personal profile info and tables for the item exchanges, but in the end the core function of the site is to oversee, and supplement, the interaction between two specific individuals as they carry out a trade.

Developing the application

The aim of the research is to highlight the significance of the Social media in the development of websites. The other goal is to build a database design to develop the website application. The research also aims to define the concepts of social media and web 2.0 in more detail with the help of scholarly resources and articles. The process of application development plays a key role in forming s website that satisfies its core objectives, specifically to supplement the trade of items across the platform between users. This entails effective application development on the front end of the site, intuitive database design, and user account management features that make the site appealing to the end user.

Front end implementation 

Frontend implementation includes all aspects of the site’s surface presentation from the Home page, Login page, and the Registration page.  The following breaks down the structure of front end implementation and contributing factors related to its used.

Home page

The home page, in addition to being the core piece of web real-estate and infrastructure for the company’s brand and operations, houses the key front end resources and tools through which users will first engage with the site. The home page houses all tabs leading to supplementing pages of the site such as the login tab, the about us tab, site logo and search engine boxes that enable users to search the site’s database for available items. Banner and contextual advertising is also present on the home page for revenue and marketing purposes. Contextual advertising is also located on the site in necessary locations for ideal SEO purposes, as it can enhance the ability of the site to reach its target audience [14, 151]. The banners utilized for self-promotion are affiliated with the actual trademark of the site [26, 289]. The main banner at the top of the home page represents the trademark of the site and can be utilized as a distinct promotional resource both on and off the site for advertising purposes.  The banner itself can be placed throughout social network outlets to enhance exposure audiences have to the brand as a whole [33, 529].

Login page

The login page is where existing users login to their account, which they previously established with the website. The login page is an essential aspect of the frontend portion of the website as it provides users with access to the main site and its core functions. Due this fact special emphasis is placed on security in the form of added ant-phishing applications and authentication to ensure that private data of users is not corrupted. The Login page utilized for the site will be similar to the one below, where there will be a prompt visible for the user encouraging them to register and “create an account,” in the case that they have not already registered with the site and accessed the login page by mistake. There is also a visible table making it possible for the user to recover their password or login details in the case that they are forgotten. All recovery procedures are handled by e-mail.

Login Page Example

Fig6. Login Page Example

A key aspect of the login page that must be noted is its seamless integration with social media network API. Through the use of Application Program Interface (API) tools provided by social network sites like Google+, Twitter, and Facebook, users have the option of creating an account using their accounts on any of these respective sites by simply logging into the social network. The added marketing advantage presented when the user chooses to login using their social network website account profile is that upon registering they will be prompted to inform their friends or followers that they have just registered on with the trading app. While they have the option to opt out of alerting their friends or followers, the process still provides and invaluable form of free advertising for the site.

Registration page

The registration page of the site is formulate din such a way that users can either register through their social network accounts or by the standard process of signing up through their e-mails, upon registration the users is provided with a new account on the site but must confirm with their e-mail address through a message sent to them automatically from administration. The system’s database formulates a profile, inbox, and other standard account features where they can input their personal information. The user is also prompted to create a password and for later logins.

Database design

The database design for the trading site is constructed using MySQL, which is recognized as the second most commonly used relational database management system (RDBMS) and the most commonly used open source system in the world. MySQL was chose as the primary database design language do to its convenient accessibility, as the MySQL source code is available as an open source language through the GNU General Public License and provided by the Oracle Corporation. The database is constructed through a model driven schema design where model and scheme validation are supported through MySQL-specific physical standards of design. The actual work of designing the database for the trading site is executed utilizing MySQL workbench, a unified visual tool for developers, database architects and programmers. MySQL was chosen specifically as the tool to implement the database design needs for this project because it offers SQL development resources for data modeling, user administration support, data backup capabilities, and the comprehensive administration resources necessary for server configuration. MySQL is also conveniently compatible with Linux, Mac OS and Windows. An example of the work desk is shown below:

MySQL Workbench

Fig 7. MySQL Workbench [23, 1480]

When going through the database designing process, MySQL Workbench allows data architects and developers to design a visual model and manage databases simultaneously. One of the most essential aspects of the database designing process is to develop a system that has the capacity to keep data secure while also being able to adapt to relevant trends. This entails the act of database migration which could pose potential problems in the future. Database migrations through the use of MySQL Workbench, provides for the migration from Microsoft Access, the Microsoft SQL Server, SQLite, PostgreSQL, Sybase ASE, Sybase SQL Anywhere, and many more programs [23, 1480]. In the development process of this trading website, data migration will play an essential role in designing the databases effectively to service the user’s ideal need. There will be need for adaption can changes and shifting the project in different direction in regards to website architecture. MySQL Workbench enables the developers for the project to source and target specific selections as they design which lets the user define specific data sources and to assess source data prior of the migration process, enabling object migration allows users to select objects to migrate, assign sources to target mappings where needed, and edit migration scripts and create the target schema in the form of tables and a database table structure.

There are 12 tables in MySQL database Table Structure

 

Table 1

 

Stores all the added items and has 16 rows

Table 2 Stores all the traded items and has 16 rows
Table 3 Stores the statistics of the items that means it holds the number of offers given for a single item and has 2 rows.
Table 4 Stores information about the messages and has 7 rows.
 

Table 5

 

Holds information about the opened offers and has 7 rows.

 

Table 6 Holds information about the accepted offers and has 9 rows
Table 7 Stores information about the declined offers and has 8 rows.
Table 8 Stores information about shipping info and has 8 rows
 

Table 9

 

Stores information about user and has 6 rows

 

Table 10 Stores information about user statistics and has 2 rows
Table 11 Stores information about temporary users and has 5 rows
Table 12 Stores information about feedback and has 6 rows

 The tables of the site are organized through MySQL, and they represent the base from which the website architecture is constructed. For example, table 1stores all the added items through a 16 row organizational structure. This section shows users what items have been added to the site for trade. On the front end, the registered user only sees their personal items. On the back end, admin sees all of the collective items that have been added to the site. Table 2 stores all the trades items, specifically the data related to the items that have already been traded. Table 3 serves as a resource for the data related to offers given for items. Each table stores respective data related to the fluid functioning of the site. The efficiency with which this data is managed, interpreted, and exchanged across tables can significantly impact the response the site gets from its users. All SQL code, through the use of MySQL Workbench, is automated and does not need to be manually written. The system is capable of forward and reverse engineering the construction of each table and all rows.

User account management

After the users logged into their account they will directed to the following menu page:

Items menu

The items menu breaks down the list of items currently on the site by category. For example, certain items might fall under the category of active items, which entails items approved by the admin, while pending items, refers to items awaiting approval from the admin and the add item tab allows registered users to add new items. The key aspect of the items menu is that it’s accessible as a front end portion of the home page as well as a back end portion of the main site where non-registered visitors to the site are able to view items prior to becoming registered members, but they have no access to detailed criteria involved in the trading of a particular item until they register. Non-Registered members are provided with social network API tabs that enable them to share a particular item to their preferred social network, like Facebook or Twitter. This creates and added avenue for organic promotion which extends into the social network marketing landscape. When a non-registers, or registered user, shares a particular item with their friends or followers it creates a backlink to the site and serves as a form of unpaid advertisement. The intended result of this entity relationship is that it makes the site more accessible as well more sharable within the social media community.

Trades menu

The trades menu breaks down information associated with the trades of a particular user. This is primarily a back end feature that is provided solely to registered users where they are able to review their trade history for personal record. The trades menu provides the information to registered users like, offers received, offers made, offers declined, and completed trades. It should be noted that an extension of the trades menu that plays a pivotal role in the functionality of the site is the sites rating system. While the number of trade offers received, made, or declined, of a particular user is not made public to other users the number of completed trade is visibly placed next to each individual user’s avatar along with a five star rating system based on user feedback. This five star rating system is a community based representation of consumer feedback and is a natural self-sustaining system of review within the site that helps the site maintain integrity and establishes trustworthiness among users.

Messages menu

The sites database allows for a mailing system that is directly connected to the e-mail address provided to administration during the user’s initial registration through API. The in-site mailing system is composed of the standard features of traditional e-mail such as an inbox, a sent mail folder, a trash folder, and a word processing feature for users to compose messages. The mail menu is the primary resource through which admin and users can communicate and users can interact with one another.

Inbox

The inbox of the trading site is where users can receive important messages from administration, as well as messages from fellow users regarding trades. Similar to most sites that rely on e-mail systems, managing multiple e-mail accounts requires substantia use of data which in turn requires substantial maintenance. Depending on the level of site activity it may be deemed necessary to purge inbox accounts of messages older than 90 days. It may also be necessary to keep archived documentation of messages to resolve potential conflicts related to trades.

Sent

The sent message section of the messages menu keeps track of all messages sent by the user. This is equally an important feature provided by the site because as both parties engage in bartering over particular items, the back and forth interactions between users could serve as legally binding contracts in scenarios where the completion or legality of a trade is put into question.

Trash

The trash folder of the message menu serves as a data consolidation tool, with zip folder capabilities, to enable users to organize their inbox, while also enabling the site as a whole to function more efficiently through reduced data hosting obligations. This folder is where users place messages that they are comfortable with having removed from the site’s database within 30 days, but still have the option to retrieve if they change their minds.

Compose

The compose section of the message menu serves both as a word processor as well as an essential resource for documenting correspondence between users. When a user starts composing a message, the message is automatically saved as a draft every five seconds, or when the user stops typing. The compose portion of the message menu comes equipped with industry standard word processor features such as a variety of fonts, italics, bold type, spell check, and text size options.

My Account menu

The “My Account” menu provides the user with a variety of features through which they can setup their level of engagement with the website and the site’s community. Within the “My Account” menu, the user provides important personal information that will assist them in engaging the site community and building trust, while also providing information that supplements the execution of effective trades. This includes the user’s profile and their shipping information.

Profile

The profile page is an important feature of the site because it plays a pivotal role in how individuals interact on the network. Through the use of social network API, users can setup their accounts on the site using their Facebook, Twitter, or Google+ accounts automatically transferring their social network profile information over to the site itself. This includes the use of their primary Facebook, Twitter, or Google + profile image as their main avatar for the trading site. Users also have the choice of uploading a photograph from their personal computer, or not using an image and leaving the Avatar blank. Users are encouraged to provide some form of visible identification to enhance the credibility and trustworthiness of their profile and the integrity of the site as a whole.

Shipping info

The shipping info section of the “My Account” menu is where users provide the address to which they want their traded items sent. In addition to the above menus there is one more menu that the admin could access.

Admin menu

The final menu that assists in allowing the site to function is the Admin menu, which entails the user, pending items and reports, as shown below.

Users The registered users.
Pending The items added by the users and waiting the admin approval.
Report The reported items by the users to be banned by the admin.

The admin menu is essential in supporting the management of the site, and tracking data necessary for continuing operations.

Discussions 

The data in this report has clearly demonstrated how internet has been an important tool of modern business, and how it has become one of the main channels of communication, and sales of various products or services.  Many industries shifted to the internet, such as real estate, automobile business, trade appliances and clothing, home delivery of books, food and other goods.  The trading site proposed for this social media and web development project involves the creation of a site that provides trading services within the bartering sector. This entails a keen understanding of consumer needs in respect to trading. As research demonstrates, due to the fact social media plays such a substantial role in the effectiveness businesses today to reach their consumer base, it is critical that the site proposed in this project incorporate social media as an inherent part of its marketing strategy. This can be done through the use of social media network API to enable the site to seamlessly connect to Twitter, Facebook and sites like Google+. By ensuring that processed data is stored in a secure and efficiently managed database, the site can sustain the non-functional requirements necessary for success within its market in addition to its core objective.

Integrating trade operations with aspects of social media can provide the site with an advantage over other bartering sites within its market. Preparing the site for this level of expansion is not easy and does require some level of development and restructuring.  The previous mentioned research revealed many of the advantages and disadvantages associated with incorporating systems which utilize social media API as integral parts of their operations. One distinct disadvantage that has yet to be addressed deals with the integrity and sustainability of social media platforms. It’s possible that these third party sites can lose their influence and reach over time, reducing their value for marketing purposes.

There are also some concerns in regards to design that will greatly influence how traffic visiting from social networks sites to the trading respond to the sites content. Some important design features include, the way the site is structured, the ease and uniqueness of the design, and the convenience of transactions. It’s also vitally important that the site be able to host high-speed downloading, have the right choice model to maintain a solid understanding of his consumer base [4, 30], and that all interface functions are correctly developed [4, 30], The final important design issue that is of concern relates to the sites key operation of trade and the possibility of running out of items to trade. This is why the constant renewal of items on the site is must be sustained [4, 30].

Due to the fact that this trading site is developed using HTML5 and Java Script at the front end and MySQL relational database and PHP as backend languages, it makes it more conveniently adaptable to social media site usage. As the research shows this is incredibly invaluable for the sites ability to assist users in trading items across the platform. In addition to this, it is recently become standard for every website to be integrated with social media outlets for web based advertisement and for international accessibility.  Facebook, Twitter and Google+ represent the most widely used social media networks to date; for this purpose, features of Application Program Interface (API) of respective social media networks are the primary resource that will assist the trading site in reaching new users. API is valuable for its ability to assist in the social network to website interface process, but also in the diverse unique ways these interfaces are formed across different platforms. Overall, the above research assessed the factors associated with designing a trading website that functions and operates through social media channels as well as through its own independent web infrastructure for optimized performance and self-sufficient marketing. The goal initially set in the opening analysis of this project have been met in respect to establishing an effective relational data model that incorporates social media network API to expand reach and secure data.

Conclusions

In sum, the goal of the above research was designed to assess factors involved in designing and implementing a trading website inherently connected with social media as an aspect of its functionality. Data revealed that social media has influenced the e-commerce and development landscape so significantly that developers and managers alike must reconsider how they will approach issues like database design and relational data management. The current information explains the core infrastructure of the website as it works simultaneously as a social network where users can trade items between one another and as an integral part of social media culture. The system provides a registration page for the new users and login functionality for the existing users. Upon successfully logging in, users are able to add items to the website and then trade those items for other ones. In addition, clients can make an offer for other people’s items and receive a notification message when an offer is made for the item. The system sends the notification message to the client’s account to the website and to their mobile phone in the form of SMS. The system is able to gather personal information and items from the client and it handles the data on the server side. The processed data is stored in the database. This web service is developed using HTML5 and Java Script as front end and MySQL relational database and PHP as backend languages. In addition to this, it is recently habituated for every website to be integrated with social media outlets for web based advertisement and for international accessibility.  Facebook, twitter and Google+ represent the most widely used social media networks to date; for this purpose, features of Application Program Interface (API) of respective social media networks are assessed and how they assist in the social network to website interface process through the use of distinct applications. Overall, the above research assessed the factors associated with designing a trading website that functions and operates through social media channels as well as through its own independent web infrastructure for optimized performance and self-sufficient marketing. It is found that through establishing an entity relationship, API can assist developers to seamlessly integrate social media network functions into the site’s operations. This creates a climate where there is a higher probability of reaching more potential users for the site, while at the same time it cuts costs associated with advertising. The research presented in this social media and web development project provides results that support the effectiveness of social media use as a competitive resource for the operations of the proposed trading site.

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