Stage 4: Installation and Testing
The installation required the data from the original Back End to be imported into the new structure; this was achieved by creating a blank version of the new Back End and then importing some data and generating other data by means of a series of queries. Once the Back End was in place the Front End could be tested. Initially, it ran very slowly and this was found to be due to several different problems.
Some of the reporting that had run quite quickly in the test environment ran very slowly once more data was introduced and so some of the reporting queries had to be re-written.
There was also a “bloating” effect on the Front End database, which caused all functions to slow down. The database Front End should be small in size (typically 3-10MB depending on temporary tables used, complexity, etc). In fact, we were finding that the Front End was quickly “bloating to more like 50MB, even with almost no data in it. This problem was traced to the setting of “Track Name Autocorrect”, which stored information about every single field name in every single table. Since the original database had one table containing over 150 fields, this caused it to grow in size as soon as it linked to the Back End. Once “Autocorrect” was disabled, the size shrank back to normal and the whole database ran much more quickly and efficiently.
Once the database was running correctly a month’s worth of user testing was run to check all aspects of the functionality. This resulted in some changes to the original data validation criteria in some of the forms and the addition of some new reports. Finally, a small amount of user training was provided to familiarise the main database users with every aspect of the tool in order to allow them to trouble-shoot for others.
Value to our client
Firstly all aspects of Cranfield University database are now fully functional. The interface is user friendly and easy to navigate.
Importantly the speed of the tool has been significantly improved and new functionality coupled with reporting upgrades has improved the insight and efficiency of the department.