Zend framework, PHP, MySQL, HTML, CSS, JS & AJAX
Railway – a well-known mode of transport to YOU, ME & US all. We all must have enjoyed train travelling at least once in a lifetime. And after accomplishing different projects for various industries, this time we were working for one of the biggest names in Railways sector that is recognized for providing great and unaffected Railway services throughout the year, round the clock.
With ideas on the mind and requirements on the notepads, the client aims to improve the information management of its railways. Today, Information Technology has a broad scope that encompasses so many aspects in people’s lives. Keeping those different aspects in mind following were the initial requirement for the project.
- To add a managing system of train information system to its information technology.
- The management system should be digitalized in all aspects, which can provide information about delayed as well as cancelled trains.
- System will be easier to inform commuters about the arrival and departure time, warnings of delay, reasons for delay, and other information about all the trains in the railways.
- The system must be nicely wrapped with a backend UI to manage, add, edit, delete trains’ information and at the same time (in cases when there is no info) can show infomercials and video streaming to passengers.
As IT plays an important role in today’s railway system and makes the operator’s job easier and more efficient, and the client wants to achieve more developed information management for its railways. For this, there were four major issues (challenges) we had to address.
The issues we addressed were:
- It was required to develop software that is capable of displaying important information about trains that are delayed, cancelled, or diverted on three different stations. The software should also display the train number, the name of the train, how much time will it be delayed, when the expected arrival is, and when is its expected departure.
- All of the three stations must be connected and operate through one main central server, i.e. one main management system.
- The display should show train info + videos and image slides.
- A Front and backend UI to be controlled by railway employees.
For SOLUTION, a Train Information Management System (TIMS) was developed to bring all the data into one major server. To integrate the information in all three different railways, a real-time train management system was created.
Why we opted this solution? Because, a real time system processes information live as it comes in without any delays or buffering. A real time form the cornerstone of a common system for the traffic control, train control and information management.
However there were COMPLEXITIES also, we faced while developing this system and these complexities were:
- Syncing all of the information from the different locations of the railway to a single operating system where the operator can just sit in one location to manage all of the data displayed.
- The LCD placement and the display quality is another challenge because as the LCDs that cover the entire station gets farther from each other, the quality of its display becomes less clear.
- The framework, the OS, the language, and the database to be used for the real time system should be identified.
But when we have strong minds with great ideas, we can cross any hurdle. And so on, we came up with the following resolutions to fix the complexities.
- To sync all information, the open source, web application framework called Zend Framework was used to develop the real time system.
- Unearthed power of Jquery to send and receive thousands of responses in just seconds.
- Clean UI that became a cakewalk for railway employees to understand how to control trains information on the fly.
- Smooth sailing database architecture build on MySQL integrated with Apache Solr search and memcache to give that 5 star comfort level of calling and receiving queries.
- To make sure train information is clearly visible to passengers, custom resolution software was built and LCD's are equipped with the systems to control that custom resolution software.
- The operating system that was used is the Windows Client. The language used was- PHP5.2, AJAX, JQUERY and the database, we used was MySQL.
To Summarize, TIMS should be backed with a strong user interface. This way, the trains can be managed, added, removed, and edited in the system, while this information will be displayed to the passengers through a video and images on the LCD screens in each railway stations. There will be a master database of the trains and the data that only the admin can modify. The operator can use this intelligent system to type the train number of the train name. As he types, these data will show on the LCD screen. By developing TIMS, its real time system can help manage the railway information smoothly.