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DESIGN AND IMPLEMENTATION OF AN ONLINE/INTRANET OFFICE CHAT APPLICATION SYSTEM
In Nigerian Universities a lot of time is spent by faculty staff, and lecturers in various departments moving from one office to another in other to communicate with each other or sending files between each one another.
This project focuses on solving the problem by developing an application for communication services in Nigerian universities using the University of Calabar as a case study. The Chat Application is a web-based application intended to be accessible from the internet or intranet. This allows the application to be available to both mobile phone users and PC users who can access the internet from their devices. The chat applications system was developed using open source web technologies notably HTML, PHP, JSON, JQUERY, AJAX and MySQL.
The chat application system produced in this research work has functions that will enable students, lecturers, and staff or various departments in the institution to communicate using asynchronous string transfer know as chatting between each other.
The developed application was tested using the WAMP application suite and the test results show that the application works as expected.
The Internet is the global system of interconnected computers together networks that use the Internet protocol suite (TCP/IP) to link devices worldwide (Wikipedia, 2016). It is a network of networks that consists of private, public, academic, business, and government networks of local to global scope, linked by a broad array of electronic, wireless, and optical networking technologies (Wikipedia, 2016).
An intranet is a network within an organisation that is only accessible to systems in that organisation. A file shared through this network is not available to the public but private to the network domain.
The Chat Application Server functions by establishing a socket connection with the client system, confirming connections, and maintaining the Chat Handler. The Chat Handler is responsible for handling the interactions between the various clients and the server. The handler broadcasts messages to all the clients in a specific room, handles invitations to private rooms, creation of public rooms, and the state of the user list.
1.2 Problem Definition
The major problems regarding the delivery of chat application system in Nigerian universities include:
- unable to access colleagues or ask questions freely without moving from ones desk;
- group work cannot be done independently with intermediate synchronous response from all member in the group in one location
- instant message delivery to all client on the system
- File transfer has never been possible using a private and more secure way.
- Message broadcast within split of second has always been a challenge
1.3 Objective Of Study
The Objective of this project is to implement a web based chat application that will allow users within an intranet / internet connection to engage in private and public conversations. This will be achieve by following the set standard below:
a. Conceptual design for a secure, accessible and user-friendly web based chat application a university, using the University of Calabar, UNICAL, as case study;
b. Development of such a system to demonstrate its functionality, using the WAMP (cross-browser Apache/MySQL/PHP) web server framework;
c. Perform tests on the said system to assure functionality, accessibility and usability of the system.