- Background of Study
Collaborative work and file management is one of the major functions in any organization. According to the Collins English dictionary, 11th edition, collaboration entails working together to achieve a common goal. It is a recursive process where two or more people or organizations work together in order to realize shared goals. Traditionally, team members have to be within the same space in order to effectively work together towards achieving desired goals thus making distance and individual location a tradeoff for the growth of a project’s development. In essence, if a potential member of a project team happens to be in a different geographic location, the project would automatically be on hold pending his return. This is not ideal with respect to the collaborative development of a project.
On the other hand, file management refers to the manipulation of documents and data on a computer system which may often include creating, editing, storing and accessing of files. In most computer system’s files are stored locally on the systems hard disk (possibly in different formats) thus occupying memory space which of course is limited in size. Not only is there an issue of inadequate memory space, other factors such as viral attacks, damage etc. can cause loss of vital files on a particular system.
In order to solve the issue of distance as a trade off to a project’s development and also the issue of effective file management, the research team has design and developed a cloud-based collaboration and file management system targeted at mobile device end users
Cloud computing, often referred to as simply “the cloud” is the development of on- demand computing resources – everything from application to data Centre’s- over the internet and on a pay-for-use basis.
According to Raov, Nageswara and Kumari (2009), the birth of the cloud has made it possible to access shared resources from computer systems over different geographic locations using the internet – even mobile devices now have the capabilities to implement the cloud technology.
The application provides a means through which users (potential team members) can effectively work on shared goals irrespective of their individual location by storing, editing, sharing, retrieving and manipulating files and documents collaboratively over the internet using their mobile devices thus fostering a sense of team work amongst them. The application will be designed to be a mobile application in order to eradicate the uncertainty of users being in a location devoid of access to a computer system. Users of the application can carry out file management functionalities effectively without fear of loss or damage to their files due to the fact that all data are managed in a remote location (the cloud).
This system comprises of two parts – a web service written and developed in java or php and situated in a computer system at a remote location and the client software which sits in the mobile device of the end user.
1.2 Statement of the problem
In the course of our research, we discovered that the rate at which the development of shared goal is dependent on the availability of the team members; when a potential team member is not within the same space with other team members, the project development slows down. More so it was discovered that most system users still depend solely on their system’s immediate memory for file processing and management. All these findings have led to various inadequacies which include the fact that
- Project team members need to be in the same space to work together thus creating redundancy in project development.
- While using an online browser based application as a solution to the above problem, team members might find themselves in a location devoid of access to computer system and as such making collaboration at that particularly time impossible.
- Most mobile device memory used for file management are prone to viral attack, theft, system crash, damage etc. and also have inadequate memory space for managing these data.
1.3 Aim and Objectives of study
The objective of this study is to develop a system that should be able to:
- Manage data on a server as a web service.
- Serve as a client side office suite for effectively carrying out collaboration and file management in mobile devices.
1.4 Significance of study
The significance of this research is based on the fact that building a software application that enables users and project team members to effectively edit and co-author files and documents irrespective of their individual location. by storing, editing, sharing, retrieving and manipulating files and documents collaboratively over the internet using their mobile devices thus fostering a sense of team work amongst them.
The system will also enable sharing relevant file and document amongst other team members. To store, retrieve and manage important file so that system memories can be reserved for other uses is also an important feature of this system that brings it to relevance. The system will help to reduce the risk of file loss and damage by storing files in a remote location
The significant can also be seen in a case scenario where a potential team member is say traveling to somewhere on a public fare and his team members urgently needs his input on a project they are working on, of course they’ll call him to tell him what state they are in right then but sure he can’t do anything about it until he alights from the bus and seeks a place with internet connection.
The research team considered this inconsistency, embarked on some research and found out that most mobile phone users uses smart phones and therein goes about with them. This led the research team to explore the possibility of implementing cloud-collaboration using mobile devices.
1.5 Scope of study
- This project work is expected to allow users create, edit, delete, save, retrieve, upload and manipulate their files online via their mobile device.
- This project will also allow team members to share and co-author files thus effectively carrying out collaboration irrespective of individual location.
- The system allows users to share and manage files not exceeding a maximum file size of 20Mb (20 megabyte) while handling file management.
1.6 Definition of terms
Cloud computing: the practice of using a network of remote server hosted on the internet to store manage and process data (dictionary.com)
Server: a computer system or network that is shared by multiple users (computer desktop encyclopedia, 2012)
File: a computer file is a specific piece of data that is held on a computer system. (wise geek.com)
Collaboration: the act of working with another person or group of people to create or produce something (oxford advance learner’s dictionary 6th edition)
Network: this is a collection of computer and other network component inter connected by communication channels that allows sharing of resources and information.
Software as a Service (SaaS): is a software delivery mode in which software and associated data are centrally hosted on the cloud an accessed through a web browser.