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Students in UPLB only use Facebook groups as a platform to find an apartment suitable for them. Therefore, if the administrator of the group was not able to verify the credibility of the post, problems for the students will just occur. At the same time, posts in the group are unorganized, sometimes unreliable and inefficient that causes confusion and problems for the students. Students also look for apartments by looking within the vicinity of the campus. This way of looking for apartments is time-consuming, exhausting and stressful.
This special problem aims to design and create an organized and secured web application that can be used by UPLB students to find apartments with ease and the same time help apartment owner find tenants for their apartments.
Currently, there is no organized, secured, reliable and efficient way for UPLB students to find apartments suitable for them. By using Facebook groups as a platform for finding apartments, credibility and lack of information is a big problem. Looking for apartments by looking within the vicinity of the campus is very time-consuming, stressful and exhausting.
This special problem aims to design and create an organized and secured web application that can be used by UPLB students to find apartments with ease and help apartment owners find a suitable tenant for their apartment. This will also have all the features and qualities of an online booking system.
The difference of this web application to all existing online booking system for hotels, apartments, etc. is that the apartments for rent are not just for a short-term stay but for a long-term one. In future versions of this web application; it can be developed from a small scale application, because the target users are for UPLB students and the people around the university, to a large scale application that is open for everyone.
This study is significant because:
The term e-tourism was defined by Buhalis as the “digitization of all the processes and value chains in the tourism, travel, hospitality and catering industries that enable organizations to maximize their efficiency and effectiveness.” It is also defined as “the application of Information and Communications Technologies (ICT) on the industry.” E-tourism, according to Cosma et al., can offer “a possibility to create added value for tourist products.”
The internet is able to give travelers access to reliable and accurate information, and most of the time making a reservation in considerably less time, and less expenses. It helps travelers avoid the inconveniences given by regular methods.
The development of ICT and especially the internet has created a new kind of tourists. More independent and sophisticated tourists that are more concerned enjoying themselves by giving priority for the value of their money and time by satisfying their own priorities and timetables because they presented with a wide range of tools for planning a journey by the internet.
Landvogt evaluates different online booking engines over 23 different criteria, like overall user friendliness, payment method, instant confirmation, reliability, and invoicing function among others.
Law and Hsu were able to evaluate the important features or website attributes important for the online users. Some of the most important website attributes are found to be room rates, availability and security of payments, the location maps, hotel and room amenities, telephone, address and e-mail of the hotel, transportation to the hotel, airports and sights, and up-to-date information, multilingual site and short download time.
Essawy focused on the usability of the website and showed that too much usability problems with interface, information, and service quality affects the intentions of website users negatively. On the other hand, the author found out that exchanging links with local points of interest, shorter pathways to leisure breaks, greater depth of information for room facilities and pricing, providing proactive interactions, and avoiding third-party reservation systems; increase the satisfaction of the online users.
According to some researches, trust is an important factor of website development. If users do not trust the website, they will not visit it nor do any transactions with the website.
In a series of reports, Bainbridge discussed the practical characteristics of an Online Hotel Reservation System (OHRS) design- the search option in the systems, the booking process and the date format. Also, Ivanov discussed the types and main characteristics of OHRSs and the major marketing decisions to be done by the marketing managers in the design.
In conclusion the features needed for an Online Hotel Reservation System are:
In creating a web application, security is a big issue. There are vulnerabilities in a web application that needs to be addressed; one vulnerability is the SQL injection. Many web applications take inputs from users, and then use these inputs to construct SQL queries, so the web applications can get information from the database. Web applications also use SQL queries to store information in the database. These are common practices in the development of web applications. The principal problem of the SQL injection vulnerability is the failure to separate code from data. When constructing an SQL statement, the program knows which part is data and which part is code. Unfortunately, when the SQL statement is sent to the database, the boundary has disappeared; the boundaries that the SQL interpreter sees may be different from the original boundaries that were set by the developers.
SQL Injection Attacks send malicious SQL commands to the database server. It is a code injection technique that exploits the vulnerabilities in the interface between web applications and database servers. The vulnerability is present when the user input is not correctly checked within the web applications before being sent to the back-end database servers.
The most secure way to solve the fundamental problem of the SQL injection vulnerability is by using prepared statement. The workflow of how queries are executed is shown in Figure 1. In compilation step, queries first go through parsing and normalization phase, where the query is checked against the syntax and semantics. The next phase is the compilation phase where the query is interpreted in a format understandable to machines. In the query optimization phase, different plans are considered to execute the query, where the best optimized plan is chosen. The chosen plan is stored in the cache, so whenever the next query comes in, it will be checked against the content in the cache; if it’s already present in the cache, the parsing, compilation and query optimization phases will be skipped. The compiled query is then passed to the execution phase where it is actually executed. Prepared statement comes into the picture after the compilation but before the execution step. A prepared statement will go through the compilation step, and be turned into a pre-compiled query with empty placeholders for data. To run this pre-compiled query, data need to be provided, but these data will not go through the compilation step; instead, they are plugged directly into the pre-compiled query, and are sent to the execution engine. Therefore, even if there is SQL code inside the data, without going through the compilation step, the code will be simply treated as part of data, without any special meaning. This is how prepared statement prevents SQL injection attacks.
The web application will be using JOOMLA as its content management system.
Users will be able to sign up or login in the startup page. When sign up button is clicked, the user will be asked to sign up from the page. The user will have two choices at first; to register as a student looking for an apartment or as an apartment owner. Then, the user will need to input his/her name, desired username, password, contact number, address, and a valid ID for security purposes. After signing up, the new user will have a unique ID number and their data will be put into the database.
When the login button is clicked, the user will be able to login using their username and password. Students looking for an apartment and apartment owners will land on different pages after logging in.
An ‘add apartment’ button will only show up in the apartment owner’s startup page. Here, he can add his/her apartment. The apartment’s location, price, pictures, features and restrictions are required to be indicated for its legitimacy. Checkboxes of the features and restrictions are also in the page. Here are the possible features and restrictions of the apartment:
Also, the apartment owners are required to indicate the apartments nearby and the safety measure of their apartment. A not required comment box will also be included in the pop up window.
A search pop up window will only show up in the student’s startup page. Here, he/she can look for his/her desired apartment. The apartment’s location, pictures, features and restrictions are also shown in the window. Rating of the whole apartment and its security will also be shown. Previous or current apartment renters can rate the apartment. If the user does not want to view apartments one by one there will be a search feature where the user can enter his/her desired apartment features at the same time there will also be a slider with a price range that can be configured by the user looking for an apartment.
The web application will also have a chat system so that user’s looking for an apartment and apartment owners can easily communicate.
An added feature adapted from Google classroom will also be available in the web application. There will be an apartment group that functions like Google classroom. User’s looking for an apartment will apply to their desired apartment and talk through the chat system. If their negotiation is successful, all the tenants of the apartment will be included in the group.
This web application will also have a payment system. Apartment owners will be able to know who their tenants are via the apartment group. There, apartment owners can ask their tenants for payments. Tenants will be able to pay their rents via PayPal’s payment API.
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