Alliance National Database Project Overview


Charlottesville Staff
Thank you all so very much for your responses and input so far! We've gotten a ton of excellent points and ideas!

In light of some of the responses we've been getting, I'm posting this Project Overview so that you all can see where we're headed. As you will see from this overview, some of your concerns will be addressed in later Stages and Phases of the project. For example, the problem of downloading and uploading data for Chapters without internet access at their site is something that we will address in the Application Development Stage.

First in this thread, I'd like to introduce our team. Mind you, this is only the team who has volunteered to be a part of the project from start to finish. We will definitely be enlisting the help of others of you who have specialized skill sets as the need arises. As you have already seen, we are also asking that each and every one of you contribute your thoughts and ideas to this project because we want to make this new database the best it can be!

Here are our team members:
  • Luke Goldsmith, Project Manager, Database Designer
  • Matt Watkins, ALC Chairman, Current Database Guru
  • Jesse Hennessey, Owner of Alliance CT, ALC Member
  • Jeremy Davis, National Forum Admin, Crossroads Webmaster, Web Application Developer

This project is also being checked on regularly by the Alliance Chair, Christina Velderman.

The overall project will be divided into three Stages, each with its own set of Phases:
  1. Database Design
    1. Mission Statement and Mission Objectives
    2. Analyze the Current Database
    3. Create Data Structures
    4. Establish Table Relationships
    5. Define Business Rules
    6. Determine and Define Views
    7. Review Data Integrity
  2. Application Development
    1. Initial Functionality
    2. Full Functionality
    3. Improved Functionality
  3. Maintenance & Improvement
    1. Establish Processes
    2. Follow-Through

The process is designed to logically build this capacity from the ground up with a solid foundation in what we need and with a generous helping of all the stuff we just think would be awesome to have!

With our current schedule and progress, we are looking at getting through Stage 2-Phase 2: Full Functionality in less than a year.

I will also answer questions regarding the overall project in this thread:

Avaran said:
are we talking one big DB for everyone, or a DB with an "instance" of each chapter that is accessible via choice?
This is intended to be a National-level Database that will house all data from the chapters with read/write access restricted, depending on each person's position (player/staff/owner/etc.). Further details are being discussed far above our heads and will be addressed later on in the process.

tolgar undershaft said:
What happens if the database gets hacked? Is there a master back up which overwrites any changes. Is there software that tracks changes through your system so that any unauthorized changes can be reverted back.
Security is at the forefront of our concerns. We will seek out the best security code that we can find to prevent unauthorized access to the database. We will also keep backup copies of the database as well as track who changes what so that if someone "goes rogue", we can simply undo their changes.

Avaran said:
Dan Nickname Beshers said:
Is there any plan/wild scheme to implement a similar national database for restricted magic items?
Monsters too?
Yes. Eventually (beyond Stage 3), the system should be expanded to help out with all admin functions that are necessary to run games at each chapter. For now, due to quite a bit of diversity in how each chapter handles these other issues, we are focusing on the Logistics aspect only.

Mobius said:
In truth, all the logistical duties of running a chapter are already covered by the current Database system. ¿Could a more dynamic, functional DB be developed? Sure, but the need for a different local DB of character information isn't what I see as the biggest benefit to this undertaking.
While this isn't a direct question, I wanted to address this, as well. The functions of the current database will also be added to the list of Mission Objectives. We wanted to put out the call for ideas before combing through the current database for two reasons:
1. We wanted to ensure that plenty of time was allowed for people to get online, see the post, and respond to it with their thoughts.
2. We didn't want those thoughts to be influenced by what we currently have, so much as we wanted you all to explore what you think we should have.

Thank you again for the great responses and I am looking forward to working with each and every one of you on this project!

-Luke G.