STAR Scholarships

scholarships03

Summary :
This web application was created to allow University of Hawaii students easy access to the list of Scholarships that are available.
Details : Through the website interface, the website allow parsing based upon various criteria such as Major, Degree, and Financial Assistance Needed. Upon searching for scholarships, the user is able to submit a scholarships by answering a collection of questions. When a user applies for a scholarships, a notice will appear notifying the user that upon submission similar criteria-based scholarships will also receive the scholarship application. After the user has successfully submitted an application, the user can track the status of the application and view the answers that were submitted.

Responsibilities :
My responsibilities for this project was the interaction of the user between the web page and the database. For this project I had to learn JSTL, HTML, JavaScript, and AJAX. Although I had close to no experience with those technologies, this project aided my understanding of working with technologies to create a web application.

In order to search for a scholarships, I had to use AJAX to populate the criteria for the search. But the problem with AJAX is that since each AJAX call is not synchronized the web pages may return in a different order. In essence AJAX is not a First In First Out situation. Rather, it is based upon the response time back from the server which determines the order the AJAX calls complete. Thus, I could not try to populate all the boxes at the same time as to not have mismatching search criteria results. In order to remedy this problem, the search criteria does waits until the box above it finishes its AJAX call, then does another AJAX call to populate itself. For example, changing the College criteria drop down will populate the Major criteria drop down. But to populate the Standing criteria drop down, the Major AJAX call must first complete.

Another problem with AJAX is the web browser shows no indication of the AJAX working in the same manner of loading a new page. At the time of creating this application, I was unfamiliar with AJAX so in my best judgment I pushed a “Loading…” message to every area on the web page that would be loaded using AJAX. Reflecting back upon this decision, I believe that I decided on the best route. After understanding more concept that surround the design, I believe a moving graphic would better indicate that the AJAX call is running. In the beta version of Scholarships, this design concept has been implemented.

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