Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Student Financial Aid Software System - A Drupal tech note

This is my tech. follow up on the article 'Student Financial Aid Software System' before I can formally suggest ideas to the open source Drupal community.

After complete the article, I sit down and think about how can I contribute to the open source Drupal community. I try to formulate what I did regarding to the 'registration code' and 'workflow' into a clear and generalized ideas so that, once implemented, it can have greater use. After navigating the Drupal module site, I think I am not quite ready to submit my idea as extensions to those modules.

As reasoned above, idea presented here will be rough and unpolished.

Registration Code
I did not deployed the 'registration code' module for couple of reasons. In the beginning, I think it is a module I should use. But I run into some difficulties because of using the Drupal 6. The bug was soon fixed and I was very impressed by the 'registration code' team. Before the code is fixed, I have moved along and implemented some features I need and which may not be well supported in the 'registration code' module yet - I did not spend enough time looking around in that module to see if this is totally true.

While forming my idea on how to implement the Financial Aid Software System, the Workflow module seems to be a no-brainer. However, after taking a closer look, I realized that I will have to make some modifications so that it is practical in using the module. Through the work, I did find the Workflow, together with its related modules, provide a lot of flexibilities that I may never think of implementing them if I were to development the Financial Aid Software System from scratch and I believe this is an unspoken advantage of the open source development model - The competition between similar projects are based on services provided to adopters, be it be the functionality, the documentation ... etc, and not the business muscle.

The major modification is the content based workflow instead of role based workflow. In our Student Financial Aid System, all high school counselors perform the same task so are all our college registrars. However, they do not perform the task on all contents. They only perform these tasks on content with special values.

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