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General Site Information
The project is for a hardware\software review site, covering the majority of computer hardware but also including various other electronics and software. The site backend will run on linux\apache\MySQL system and implemented in PHP using the CakePhp framework (www.cakephp.org). Any components can be used along with the above but they have to work through the CakePhp framework. The website layout should be developed with CSS with the ability to use different “themes” selectable by the user. Once the main page is loaded the remaining screen update should be handled through AJAX. With the AJAX support, the site should also keep a history and bookmarks available to the browser. The site should also allow for deep links that would refresh the full main page then load the appropriate data. The site should be fully functional in at least Internet Explorer and Firefox. The site should also include the ability for language selection.
The site should be cpu\memory load aware. It should be”load tolerant” meaning that it is has the capabilities to reduce dynamic content as the load on the server is increased. The site should have at least three stage of content control.
1. Dynamic content for registered users only.
2. Dynamic content for senior registered users only
3. No dynamic content
The load points at which each stage is enacted should be configurable. The site should also be able to offload traffic from news\link aggregating sites like Digg.com, Slashdot.org and similar either by caching or limiting dynamic content to those linked through those sites.
This project also includes all graphic design as well including logo design. Make use of the Web 2.0 stylized design scheme. The site should have black on white text for the majority of the reading material. A nice contrasting color set should be chosen for logo, title and highlighting. Something in the blue or green range for the majority and again contrasting colors to make the highlights and pop the page.
Brief Overview of Front-end Development
Development will be the creation of approximately 30+ pages of templates that will be fed by database queried results depending on the topic. The site will be setup up into five main categories Computer, Electronics, Games, Support Center and Forums. Each index page of Computers, Electronics and Games sections will be a news\review blog gathering the top news\review updates from each of its subsections. In turn each of those subsections will be a news blogs gathering the news\reviews from its subsections and this will continue down to the lowest subsection in the chain.
The computer section will show review and benchmark results for all known components, oem systems, laptops, and servers. The section will also include review and benchmark results for known software and games. Along with the reviews and benchmark results it should also maintain historic pricing information from a select number of vendors. All information should be searchable so that the user can find specific components, software, and games and see the reviews\benchmarks and historic pricing of those items. This section will also include the “System Builder” which will allow user to select from multiple computer components to build a complete system and give a general cost to build it as well as compare it to OEM built systems. The “System Builder” should also maintain a viable url link that user can use to link back to that specific configuration. Along with the system builder it will also include a list of the best DIY systems that will be maintained by the site admins. The electronics and games sections will include reviews on all known items. As with the computer section it should also maintain historic pricing information as well as a “best buy” maintained by site admins.
The support center will include both a wiki style information pages as well as vendor\manaufacture\consumer “Resolution Center”. The resolution center will allow vendors\manufactures to address negative reviews from customers.
The forums will be a standard forums section with a few modifications. The forums should be viewable by all but only users will be allowed to post. It will need a user ranking system with the ability of the user to vote to make changes like removing an entry, create stickys, move entries and etc… The forum should also track and identify to readers when admins\developers or any selected person or group reads the entries.
Also included should be the ability for all registered user to leave customer reviews on any of the items or vendors in the sites database. Along with their review the site should collect vendor information and also if the review is negative gather order information that can be used in the “Resolution Center”.
Brief Overview of Back-end Development
The key points in the development of the backend will revolve around versatility of the database structure. The database should maintain all pertinent information on each component added to it. Is should allow for multiple benchmark\reviews for each component as well as customer reviews. It needs to be capable of maintaining historic pricing information for each component from multiple vendors including shipping cost, rebates or other related fees\discounts. The site administrators will benchmark and review all devices possible and add that information to database as well as all user will have the ability to leave reviews.
There will need to be a complete authentication system setup. A complete set of administrative pages for adding/editing components, modifying forums/users and etc… This will also be needed for all of the news\review blogs for each of the lower subsections throughout the site.
Also included will be the development of a REST service to update/add components as well as pricing information for those components. It should use XML based document that can be parsed on the server side. The service should have authentication to identify the uploader and the uploader will be stored in the database. The service needs to be documented and well protected from invalid input.
The Resolution Center mentioned in the front-end will need to be developed. When a user leaves a negative review that information should be available to special registered users that will represent either the manufacturer or the vendor who sold the item. If the vender\manufacturer never responds the review stands. Once a vendor\manufacturer responds to a negative review the user will have a time period to finalize the review either good or bad. If the time period ends and the user has not finalized the review, the review will be removed from the vendor\manufacturer score but the entry will remain with vendor\manufacturer comments.
Key Design Features
Included below is a set of key features and design ideas to be implemented.
1. AJAX w\ history and bookmarks
2. Load tolerance
3. Redirection of news\aggregating sites.
4. System Builder
5. Resolution Center
6. Price History
7. Vendor Pricing
8. REST service to allow vendors to upload data.
More detailed site documents will be available to those qualified and interested.