A Global Web Enablement           Framework for Small Charities and             Voluntary Sector Organisations            ...
AbstractWith more people gaining access to the internet every day, the web enabling of core servicesand business processes...
A Global Web Enablement Framework                                                                                         ...
A Global Web Enablement Framework                                                                                      Tom...
A Global Web Enablement Framework                                                                                   Tom Ro...
A Global Web Enablement Framework                                                                                       To...
A Global Web Enablement Framework                                                                                     Tom ...
A Global Web Enablement Framework                                                                                    Tom R...
A Global Web Enablement Framework                                                                                        T...
A Global Web Enablement Framework                                                                                 Tom Robi...
A Global Web Enablement Framework                                                                             Tom Robinson...
A Global Web Enablement Framework                                                   Tom RobinsonChapter 1.              In...
A Global Web Enablement Framework                                                       Tom Robinson           A case stud...
A Global Web Enablement Framework                                                       Tom Robinson         World Wide We...
A Global Web Enablement Framework                                                  Tom Robinson1.3.2. Profitability vs. gr...
A Global Web Enablement Framework                                                                      Tom Robinson       ...
A Global Web Enablement Framework                                                     Tom Robinson           The chart abo...
A Global Web Enablement Framework                                                  Tom Robinson1.4.2. GAP Activity Project...
A Global Web Enablement Framework                                               Tom Robinson1.5.   AimsThe main aims of th...
A Global Web Enablement Framework                                                    Tom Robinson1.7.   Key web enablement...
A Global Web Enablement Framework                                                   Tom Robinson1.8.     Overview of the r...
A Global Web Enablement Framework                                                 Tom Robinsonnearly 200 members of volunt...
A Global Web Enablement Framework                                                   Tom RobinsonChapter 2.              Li...
A Global Web Enablement Framework                                                   Tom Robinsonorganisations although the...
A Global Web Enablement Framework                                                     Tom Robinson           An extract fr...
A Global Web Enablement Framework                                                    Tom Robinsonthese findings with inter...
A Global Web Enablement Framework                                                Tom Robinsonorganisations. They found tha...
A Global Web Enablement Framework                                                                 Tom Robinson            ...
A Global Web Enablement Framework                                                    Tom Robinsonpay-as-you-go basis. Ther...
A Global Web Enablement Framework                                                 Tom Robinsonpackages, workgroup collabor...
A Global Web Enablement Framework                                                   Tom Robinsonwork covers more than just...
A Global Web Enablement Framework                                                   Tom Robinsonsolutions which are approp...
A Global Web Enablement Framework                                                     Tom Robinson                        ...
A Global Web Enablement Framework                                                   Tom Robinson2.5.4. Automatic redirecti...
A Global Web Enablement Framework                                                      Tom Robinson2.5.5. Language and cul...
A Global Web Enablement Framework                                                                 Tom Robinson2.5.6. Inter...
A Global Web Enablement Framework for Small Charities and Voluntary Sector Organisations
A Global Web Enablement Framework for Small Charities and Voluntary Sector Organisations
A Global Web Enablement Framework for Small Charities and Voluntary Sector Organisations
A Global Web Enablement Framework for Small Charities and Voluntary Sector Organisations
A Global Web Enablement Framework for Small Charities and Voluntary Sector Organisations
A Global Web Enablement Framework for Small Charities and Voluntary Sector Organisations
A Global Web Enablement Framework for Small Charities and Voluntary Sector Organisations
A Global Web Enablement Framework for Small Charities and Voluntary Sector Organisations
A Global Web Enablement Framework for Small Charities and Voluntary Sector Organisations
A Global Web Enablement Framework for Small Charities and Voluntary Sector Organisations
A Global Web Enablement Framework for Small Charities and Voluntary Sector Organisations
A Global Web Enablement Framework for Small Charities and Voluntary Sector Organisations
A Global Web Enablement Framework for Small Charities and Voluntary Sector Organisations
A Global Web Enablement Framework for Small Charities and Voluntary Sector Organisations
A Global Web Enablement Framework for Small Charities and Voluntary Sector Organisations
A Global Web Enablement Framework for Small Charities and Voluntary Sector Organisations
A Global Web Enablement Framework for Small Charities and Voluntary Sector Organisations
A Global Web Enablement Framework for Small Charities and Voluntary Sector Organisations
A Global Web Enablement Framework for Small Charities and Voluntary Sector Organisations
A Global Web Enablement Framework for Small Charities and Voluntary Sector Organisations
A Global Web Enablement Framework for Small Charities and Voluntary Sector Organisations
A Global Web Enablement Framework for Small Charities and Voluntary Sector Organisations
A Global Web Enablement Framework for Small Charities and Voluntary Sector Organisations
A Global Web Enablement Framework for Small Charities and Voluntary Sector Organisations
A Global Web Enablement Framework for Small Charities and Voluntary Sector Organisations
A Global Web Enablement Framework for Small Charities and Voluntary Sector Organisations
A Global Web Enablement Framework for Small Charities and Voluntary Sector Organisations
A Global Web Enablement Framework for Small Charities and Voluntary Sector Organisations
A Global Web Enablement Framework for Small Charities and Voluntary Sector Organisations
A Global Web Enablement Framework for Small Charities and Voluntary Sector Organisations
A Global Web Enablement Framework for Small Charities and Voluntary Sector Organisations
A Global Web Enablement Framework for Small Charities and Voluntary Sector Organisations
A Global Web Enablement Framework for Small Charities and Voluntary Sector Organisations
A Global Web Enablement Framework for Small Charities and Voluntary Sector Organisations
A Global Web Enablement Framework for Small Charities and Voluntary Sector Organisations
A Global Web Enablement Framework for Small Charities and Voluntary Sector Organisations
A Global Web Enablement Framework for Small Charities and Voluntary Sector Organisations
A Global Web Enablement Framework for Small Charities and Voluntary Sector Organisations
A Global Web Enablement Framework for Small Charities and Voluntary Sector Organisations
A Global Web Enablement Framework for Small Charities and Voluntary Sector Organisations
A Global Web Enablement Framework for Small Charities and Voluntary Sector Organisations
A Global Web Enablement Framework for Small Charities and Voluntary Sector Organisations
A Global Web Enablement Framework for Small Charities and Voluntary Sector Organisations
A Global Web Enablement Framework for Small Charities and Voluntary Sector Organisations
A Global Web Enablement Framework for Small Charities and Voluntary Sector Organisations
A Global Web Enablement Framework for Small Charities and Voluntary Sector Organisations
A Global Web Enablement Framework for Small Charities and Voluntary Sector Organisations
A Global Web Enablement Framework for Small Charities and Voluntary Sector Organisations
A Global Web Enablement Framework for Small Charities and Voluntary Sector Organisations
A Global Web Enablement Framework for Small Charities and Voluntary Sector Organisations
A Global Web Enablement Framework for Small Charities and Voluntary Sector Organisations
A Global Web Enablement Framework for Small Charities and Voluntary Sector Organisations
A Global Web Enablement Framework for Small Charities and Voluntary Sector Organisations
A Global Web Enablement Framework for Small Charities and Voluntary Sector Organisations
A Global Web Enablement Framework for Small Charities and Voluntary Sector Organisations
A Global Web Enablement Framework for Small Charities and Voluntary Sector Organisations
A Global Web Enablement Framework for Small Charities and Voluntary Sector Organisations
A Global Web Enablement Framework for Small Charities and Voluntary Sector Organisations
A Global Web Enablement Framework for Small Charities and Voluntary Sector Organisations
A Global Web Enablement Framework for Small Charities and Voluntary Sector Organisations
A Global Web Enablement Framework for Small Charities and Voluntary Sector Organisations
A Global Web Enablement Framework for Small Charities and Voluntary Sector Organisations
A Global Web Enablement Framework for Small Charities and Voluntary Sector Organisations
A Global Web Enablement Framework for Small Charities and Voluntary Sector Organisations
A Global Web Enablement Framework for Small Charities and Voluntary Sector Organisations
A Global Web Enablement Framework for Small Charities and Voluntary Sector Organisations
A Global Web Enablement Framework for Small Charities and Voluntary Sector Organisations
A Global Web Enablement Framework for Small Charities and Voluntary Sector Organisations
A Global Web Enablement Framework for Small Charities and Voluntary Sector Organisations
A Global Web Enablement Framework for Small Charities and Voluntary Sector Organisations
A Global Web Enablement Framework for Small Charities and Voluntary Sector Organisations
A Global Web Enablement Framework for Small Charities and Voluntary Sector Organisations
A Global Web Enablement Framework for Small Charities and Voluntary Sector Organisations
A Global Web Enablement Framework for Small Charities and Voluntary Sector Organisations
A Global Web Enablement Framework for Small Charities and Voluntary Sector Organisations
A Global Web Enablement Framework for Small Charities and Voluntary Sector Organisations
A Global Web Enablement Framework for Small Charities and Voluntary Sector Organisations
A Global Web Enablement Framework for Small Charities and Voluntary Sector Organisations
A Global Web Enablement Framework for Small Charities and Voluntary Sector Organisations
A Global Web Enablement Framework for Small Charities and Voluntary Sector Organisations
A Global Web Enablement Framework for Small Charities and Voluntary Sector Organisations
A Global Web Enablement Framework for Small Charities and Voluntary Sector Organisations
A Global Web Enablement Framework for Small Charities and Voluntary Sector Organisations
A Global Web Enablement Framework for Small Charities and Voluntary Sector Organisations
A Global Web Enablement Framework for Small Charities and Voluntary Sector Organisations
A Global Web Enablement Framework for Small Charities and Voluntary Sector Organisations
A Global Web Enablement Framework for Small Charities and Voluntary Sector Organisations
A Global Web Enablement Framework for Small Charities and Voluntary Sector Organisations
A Global Web Enablement Framework for Small Charities and Voluntary Sector Organisations
A Global Web Enablement Framework for Small Charities and Voluntary Sector Organisations
A Global Web Enablement Framework for Small Charities and Voluntary Sector Organisations
A Global Web Enablement Framework for Small Charities and Voluntary Sector Organisations
A Global Web Enablement Framework for Small Charities and Voluntary Sector Organisations
A Global Web Enablement Framework for Small Charities and Voluntary Sector Organisations
A Global Web Enablement Framework for Small Charities and Voluntary Sector Organisations
A Global Web Enablement Framework for Small Charities and Voluntary Sector Organisations
A Global Web Enablement Framework for Small Charities and Voluntary Sector Organisations
A Global Web Enablement Framework for Small Charities and Voluntary Sector Organisations
A Global Web Enablement Framework for Small Charities and Voluntary Sector Organisations
A Global Web Enablement Framework for Small Charities and Voluntary Sector Organisations
A Global Web Enablement Framework for Small Charities and Voluntary Sector Organisations
A Global Web Enablement Framework for Small Charities and Voluntary Sector Organisations
A Global Web Enablement Framework for Small Charities and Voluntary Sector Organisations
A Global Web Enablement Framework for Small Charities and Voluntary Sector Organisations
A Global Web Enablement Framework for Small Charities and Voluntary Sector Organisations
A Global Web Enablement Framework for Small Charities and Voluntary Sector Organisations
A Global Web Enablement Framework for Small Charities and Voluntary Sector Organisations
A Global Web Enablement Framework for Small Charities and Voluntary Sector Organisations
A Global Web Enablement Framework for Small Charities and Voluntary Sector Organisations
A Global Web Enablement Framework for Small Charities and Voluntary Sector Organisations
A Global Web Enablement Framework for Small Charities and Voluntary Sector Organisations
A Global Web Enablement Framework for Small Charities and Voluntary Sector Organisations
A Global Web Enablement Framework for Small Charities and Voluntary Sector Organisations
A Global Web Enablement Framework for Small Charities and Voluntary Sector Organisations
A Global Web Enablement Framework for Small Charities and Voluntary Sector Organisations
A Global Web Enablement Framework for Small Charities and Voluntary Sector Organisations
A Global Web Enablement Framework for Small Charities and Voluntary Sector Organisations
A Global Web Enablement Framework for Small Charities and Voluntary Sector Organisations
A Global Web Enablement Framework for Small Charities and Voluntary Sector Organisations
A Global Web Enablement Framework for Small Charities and Voluntary Sector Organisations
A Global Web Enablement Framework for Small Charities and Voluntary Sector Organisations
A Global Web Enablement Framework for Small Charities and Voluntary Sector Organisations
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A Global Web Enablement Framework for Small Charities and Voluntary Sector Organisations

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With more people gaining access to the internet every day, the web enabling of core services and business processes is becoming essential. There is a great deal of existing research covering techniques and approaches to web enablement for commercial and public sector organisations, but very little that is aimed specifically at small charities and voluntary sector organisations. Numerous studies have shown that charities often lag behind commercial organisations when it comes to their internet infrastructure and the extent of web enablement. This dissertation investigates the needs and issues which charities face, in order to define a number of key web enablement aims and objectives. Some problems are unique to the charitable sector whilst others apply to all types of organisations.

As most web applications can be accessed from anywhere in the world, globalisation is an inherent web development issue. A number of the most common issues associated with globalisation are examined and current best practice solutions suggested.

The Foundations, Fundamentals, Features and Future (F4) Framework is the outcome of the research into the situation, needs and issues faced by charitable organisations. It offers a simple but detailed framework designed specially for web enablement projects within charitable organisations. The framework is broken down into four key stages of web enablement – foundations, fundamentals, features and future possibility. Through the four layers, the framework covers key business drivers, internet access and security, error-handling techniques through to global database access and undeveloped future technologies.

The framework was developed and refined through research and work undertaken with GAP Activity Projects, a worldwide gap year charity. To demonstrate the implementation of the framework, GAP is used as a case study. A number of web and related applications are developed and evaluated including an online application system, mass mailing tools and an extranet application. The case study demonstrates a number of novel techniques that have been developed to solve some of the problems which were faced, including the use of XML as a data storage method and a unique form validation technique.

Although the evaluation of the framework shows that it meets well the objectives it set out to achieve, there are opportunities for improvement and future work. A number of future expansions possibilities are examined including the use of mobile technology and content management systems.

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A Global Web Enablement Framework for Small Charities and Voluntary Sector Organisations

  1. 1. A Global Web Enablement Framework for Small Charities and Voluntary Sector Organisations Tom Robinson Supervised by Dr. Rachel J. McCrindle School of Systems Engineering The University of Reading, EnglandA dissertation submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements ofThe University of Reading for the degree of Master of Science inEngineering and Information Sciences.
  2. 2. AbstractWith more people gaining access to the internet every day, the web enabling of core servicesand business processes is becoming essential. There is a great deal of existing researchcovering techniques and approaches to web enablement for commercial and public sectororganisations, but very little that is aimed specifically at small charities and voluntary sectororganisations. Numerous studies have shown that charities often lag behind commercialorganisations when it comes to their internet infrastructure and the extent of web enablement.This dissertation investigates the needs and issues which charities face, in order to define anumber of key web enablement aims and objectives. Some problems are unique to thecharitable sector whilst others apply to all types of organisations. As most web applications can be accessed from anywhere in the world, globalisationis an inherent web development issue. A number of the most common issues associated withglobalisation are examined and current best practice solutions suggested. The Foundations, Fundamentals, Features and Future (F4) Framework is the outcomeof the research into the situation, needs and issues faced by charitable organisations. It offers asimple but detailed framework designed specially for web enablement projects withincharitable organisations. The framework is broken down into four key stages of webenablement – foundations, fundamentals, features and future possibility. Through the fourlayers, the framework covers key business drivers, internet access and security, error-handlingtechniques through to global database access and undeveloped future technologies. The framework was developed and refined through research and work undertaken withGAP Activity Projects, a worldwide gap year charity. To demonstrate the implementation ofthe framework, GAP is used as a case study. A number of web and related applications aredeveloped and evaluated including an online application system, mass mailing tools and anextranet application. The case study demonstrates a number of novel techniques that havebeen developed to solve some of the problems which were faced, including the use of XML asa data storage method and a unique form validation technique. Although the evaluation of the framework shows that it meets well the objectives it setout to achieve, there are opportunities for improvement and future work. A number of futureexpansions possibilities are examined including the use of mobile technology and contentmanagement systems. i
  3. 3. A Global Web Enablement Framework Tom RobinsonTable of ContentsChapter 1. Introduction ......................................................................................................... 1 1.1. Chapter outline ............................................................................................................... 1 1.2. Area of work................................................................................................................... 1 1.2.1. Definition of web enablement............................................................................. 2 1.3. Charities and voluntary sector organisations ................................................................. 3 1.3.1. What is a charity? .............................................................................................. 3 1.3.2. Profitability vs. growth....................................................................................... 4 1.3.3. Trustees and volunteers...................................................................................... 4 1.3.4. Size variance in charities ................................................................................... 4 1.3.5. Financial contribution of charities .................................................................... 5 1.3.6. Why do charities need to be web enabled? ........................................................ 6 1.4. Case study ...................................................................................................................... 6 1.4.1. Knowledge Transfer Partnerships ..................................................................... 6 1.4.2. GAP Activity Projects......................................................................................... 7 1.5. Aims ............................................................................................................................... 8 1.6. Objectives....................................................................................................................... 8 1.7. Key web enablement drivers .......................................................................................... 9 1.7.1. Competitiveness.................................................................................................. 9 1.7.2. Cost cutting ........................................................................................................ 9 1.7.3. Communication with volunteers......................................................................... 9 1.7.4. Globalisation...................................................................................................... 9 1.8. Overview of the remaining chapters ............................................................................ 10 1.8.1. Chapter 2 – Literature review.......................................................................... 10 1.8.2. Chapter 3 – Problems to be solved .................................................................. 10 1.8.3. Chapter 4 – The F4 Pyramid Framework........................................................ 10 1.8.4. Chapter 5 – Case study – GAP Activity Projects ............................................. 10 1.8.5. Chapter 6 – Summary, evaluation & further work........................................... 11 1.9. Chapter conclusions ..................................................................................................... 11Chapter 2. Literature review............................................................................................... 12 2.1. Chapter outline ............................................................................................................. 12 2.2. Previous research and studies....................................................................................... 12 2.2.1. Giving (in) to the Internet................................................................................. 12 2.2.2. Virtual Promise ................................................................................................ 13 2.2.3. Hall Aitken........................................................................................................ 14 2.2.4. Civic and community technology ..................................................................... 15 2.2.5. Developing the ICT capacity of the voluntary and community sector ............. 15 2.3. Existing models and frameworks ................................................................................. 16 2.3.1. The technology trap.......................................................................................... 16 ii
  4. 4. A Global Web Enablement Framework Tom Robinson 2.3.2. Application Service Providers (ASPs).............................................................. 17 2.4. Support organisations and websites ............................................................................. 19 2.4.1. Charity IT Resource Alliance (CITRA) ............................................................ 19 2.4.2. London Advice Service Alliance (LASA) Knowledgebase................................ 19 2.4.3. Making the Net Work........................................................................................ 20 2.4.4. IT 4 Communities ............................................................................................. 20 2.5. Globalisation ................................................................................................................ 20 2.5.1. Definitions ........................................................................................................ 21 2.5.2. Planning for multiple localised websites ......................................................... 21 2.5.3. Directing users to the appropriate site ............................................................ 22 2.5.4. Automatic redirection....................................................................................... 23 2.5.5. Language and cultural differences................................................................... 24 2.5.6. International characters and writing systems.................................................. 25 2.6. Chapter conclusions ..................................................................................................... 26Chapter 3. Problems to be solved........................................................................................ 27 3.1. Chapter outline ............................................................................................................. 27 3.1.1. Similarities between business and charities..................................................... 27 3.2. Communication ............................................................................................................ 28 3.2.1. Email ................................................................................................................ 29 3.2.2. Moving from basic to advanced uses of email ................................................. 29 3.2.3. Sending bulk emails.......................................................................................... 30 3.3. Non-technical issues..................................................................................................... 31 3.3.1. Organisational culture ..................................................................................... 31 3.3.2. Fear of failure .................................................................................................. 31 3.4. Legislative compliance................................................................................................. 32 3.4.1. Data protection ................................................................................................ 32 3.4.2. Disability Discrimination Act........................................................................... 33 3.5. Globalisation ................................................................................................................ 34 3.5.1. Local infrastructure.......................................................................................... 34 3.5.2. Language.......................................................................................................... 34 3.5.3. Culture.............................................................................................................. 35 3.5.4. Design sensitivity.............................................................................................. 35 3.5.5. Legislation and currency.................................................................................. 36 3.6. Infrastructure ................................................................................................................ 36 3.6.1. Variance in technology, infrastructure and security overseas......................... 36 3.6.2. Designing for technical limitations .................................................................. 37 3.6.3. Weight............................................................................................................... 37 3.7. Chapter conclusions ..................................................................................................... 37Chapter 4. The F4 Pyramid Framework............................................................................ 39 iii
  5. 5. A Global Web Enablement Framework Tom Robinson 4.1. Chapter outline ............................................................................................................. 39 4.2. The framework ............................................................................................................. 39 4.2.1. Development of the framework ........................................................................ 39 4.2.2. Framework model and framework infrastructure............................................ 39 4.2.3. The layers of the framework model .................................................................. 40 4.2.4. Why a pyramid? ............................................................................................... 41 4.2.5. Content of each layer ....................................................................................... 42 4.2.6. Implementing and using the framework ........................................................... 45 4.3. Foundations (F1) .......................................................................................................... 47 4.3.1. Introduction...................................................................................................... 47 4.3.2. Checklist ........................................................................................................... 47 4.4. Foundation: Internet access.......................................................................................... 49 4.4.1. Connectivity...................................................................................................... 49 4.4.2. Hosting ............................................................................................................. 49 4.5. Foundation: Email ........................................................................................................ 50 4.5.1. Spam ................................................................................................................. 51 4.6. Foundation: Security .................................................................................................... 51 4.6.1. Firewalls........................................................................................................... 52 4.6.2. Anti-virus.......................................................................................................... 52 4.7. Foundation: Software ................................................................................................... 53 4.7.1. Reduced price software .................................................................................... 53 4.8. Foundation: Data storage ............................................................................................. 53 4.8.1. Databases ......................................................................................................... 53 4.8.2. File storage and backup................................................................................... 54 4.9. Foundation: Programming platform............................................................................. 54 4.9.1. Programming environment choices ................................................................. 54 4.9.2. Java 2 Platform, Enterprise Edition (J2EE) .................................................... 55 4.9.3. Microsoft .NET Framework ............................................................................. 55 4.9.4. LAMP ............................................................................................................... 57 4.9.5. Using the Microsoft .NET Framework............................................................. 58 4.9.6. Recommended programming platform features............................................... 58 4.9.7. Object-oriented programming (OOP).............................................................. 58 4.9.8. XML & web service support............................................................................. 59 4.9.9. Intermediate code............................................................................................. 59 4.9.10. .NET managed code ......................................................................................... 60 4.10. Summary of foundations .............................................................................................. 61 4.11. Fundamentals (F2)........................................................................................................ 62 4.12. Fundamental: Industry guidelines and best practice .................................................... 62 4.12.1. Coding style and naming conventions.............................................................. 62 4.12.2. Standards compliance ...................................................................................... 62 4.12.3. Proprietary technology .................................................................................... 62 4.13. Fundamental: Code Library ......................................................................................... 63 4.13.1. Database access ............................................................................................... 63 iv
  6. 6. A Global Web Enablement Framework Tom Robinson 4.14. Fundamental: Error handling ....................................................................................... 63 4.14.1. Alerting the user ............................................................................................... 64 4.14.2. Alerting support staff........................................................................................ 64 4.15. Fundamental: Membership........................................................................................... 65 4.15.1. Registration ...................................................................................................... 66 4.15.2. Role based security........................................................................................... 66 4.16. Fundamental: Testing................................................................................................... 67 4.16.1. Browser testing................................................................................................. 67 4.16.2. User testing ...................................................................................................... 68 4.17. Fundamental: Documentation ...................................................................................... 68 4.17.1. Wikis ................................................................................................................. 68 4.17.2. Inline source code based documentation ......................................................... 69 4.18. Summary of fundamentals ........................................................................................... 70 4.19. Features (F3) ................................................................................................................ 70 4.19.1. Choosing modules and the order of development ............................................ 71 4.20. Feature: Online community.......................................................................................... 73 4.21. Feature: Sending multiple emails................................................................................. 73 4.21.1. Sending bulk emails.......................................................................................... 73 4.21.2. Centralised email functionality ........................................................................ 74 4.22. Feature: Online forms................................................................................................... 74 4.22.1. Layout and navigation...................................................................................... 75 4.22.2. Validation ......................................................................................................... 75 4.22.3. Server-side and client-side validation.............................................................. 75 4.22.4. Loose validation ............................................................................................... 76 4.22.5. Partially completed forms ................................................................................ 76 4.23. Feature: Extranet .......................................................................................................... 77 4.24. Feature: Global data access .......................................................................................... 77 4.24.1. Consolidating existing databases..................................................................... 77 4.24.2. Web enablement of databases .......................................................................... 77 4.25. Feature: Global file access ........................................................................................... 78 4.26. Summary of features .................................................................................................... 79 4.27. Future (F4).................................................................................................................... 79 4.28. Future: Mobile web enablement................................................................................... 80 4.29. Future: Mobile text messaging..................................................................................... 81 4.29.1. Economic viability............................................................................................ 82 4.30. Future: Content management ....................................................................................... 82 4.31. Summary of future ....................................................................................................... 82 4.32. Chapter conclusions ..................................................................................................... 83Chapter 5. Case Study – GAP Activity Projects................................................................ 84 5.1. Chapter outline ............................................................................................................. 84 v
  7. 7. A Global Web Enablement Framework Tom Robinson 5.2. GAP Activity Projects.................................................................................................. 84 5.2.1. Who are GAP Activity Projects........................................................................ 84 5.2.2. Size ................................................................................................................... 85 5.2.3. What do GAP’s IT systems need to support? ................................................... 85 5.2.4. Offices worldwide............................................................................................. 85 5.3. The University of Reading ........................................................................................... 85 5.3.1. Student projects ................................................................................................ 86 5.3.2. Student coursework .......................................................................................... 86 5.4. Implementing the framework ....................................................................................... 87 5.5. Foundations (F1) .......................................................................................................... 88 5.5.1. Email ................................................................................................................ 88 5.5.2. Internet access.................................................................................................. 88 5.5.3. Security............................................................................................................. 88 5.5.4. Software............................................................................................................ 88 5.5.5. Data storage..................................................................................................... 89 5.5.6. Programming platform..................................................................................... 89 5.6. Fundamentals (F2)........................................................................................................ 89 5.7. Fundamental: Membership – myGAP.org ................................................................... 89 5.7.1. Login and authentication ................................................................................. 89 5.7.2. Registration form.............................................................................................. 89 5.8. Fundamental: Industry guidelines and best practice - GAP Website........................... 90 5.8.1. Removal of unnecessary scripting.................................................................... 90 5.9. Fundamental: Documentation ...................................................................................... 91 5.9.1. Wikis for documentation................................................................................... 91 5.9.2. Inline source code documentation.................................................................... 92 5.10. Features (F3) ................................................................................................................ 94 5.11. Feature: Sending multiple emails - GAP Mailer.......................................................... 94 5.12. Feature: Online community - GAP Community .......................................................... 97 5.12.1. Open source and free software......................................................................... 97 5.12.2. Implementation................................................................................................. 97 5.12.3. Integrating separate login and authentication systems.................................... 98 5.12.4. Results .............................................................................................................. 99 5.12.5. Photo galleries ................................................................................................. 99 5.12.6. Customisations ............................................................................................... 100 5.12.7. Overcoming Globalisaton issues.................................................................... 101 5.13. Feature: Online Forms – GAP Online Application System ....................................... 102 5.13.1. Flexible error checking .................................................................................. 102 5.13.2. Automatic saving without user action ............................................................ 103 5.13.3. References ...................................................................................................... 103 5.13.4. Online Application Viewer ............................................................................. 104 5.13.5. XML application forms................................................................................... 107 5.13.6. XPath for data extraction............................................................................... 109 5.13.7. XSLT for data display..................................................................................... 110 vi
  8. 8. A Global Web Enablement Framework Tom Robinson 5.14. Feature: Extranet – GAP Extranet.............................................................................. 112 5.15. Feature: Global data access – GAP Alumni Update System ..................................... 113 5.15.1. Alumni and the Business Partnership Scheme ............................................... 113 5.15.2. Issues with previous system............................................................................ 114 5.15.3. Key benefits of web enablement ..................................................................... 114 5.15.4. Method............................................................................................................ 114 5.15.5. Security........................................................................................................... 116 5.15.6. Storage format................................................................................................ 116 5.16. Feature: Global data access – GAP Management Information System ..................... 117 5.16.1. Web-based MIS .............................................................................................. 117 5.16.2. System convergence........................................................................................ 117 5.16.3. Legal aspects .................................................................................................. 118 5.17. Feature: Global data access – GAP Project Profiles .................................................. 118 5.18. Feature: Global file access – FTP server.................................................................... 119 5.19. Methods and tools resulting from the case study implementation ............................. 120 5.20. Chapter conclusions ................................................................................................... 121Chapter 6. Evaluation, further work & summary .......................................................... 123 6.1. Chapter summary ....................................................................................................... 123 6.2. Summary & critique ................................................................................................... 123 6.2.1. Did it meet aims and objectives?.................................................................... 123 6.2.2. What makes the framework unique? .............................................................. 123 6.2.3. Is the framework suitable for a business environment?................................. 123 6.2.4. Benefits demonstrated by the case study ........................................................ 124 6.2.5. Scalability....................................................................................................... 124 6.2.6. Maintainability ............................................................................................... 125 6.2.7. Industry recognition ....................................................................................... 125 6.3. Challenges faced during implementation................................................................... 125 6.3.1. Email address validation................................................................................ 125 6.3.2. Online application system .............................................................................. 126 6.3.3. Automatic application form saving ................................................................ 126 6.3.4. Alumni update system..................................................................................... 126 6.3.5. GAP Mailer .................................................................................................... 127 6.3.6. User registration ............................................................................................ 128 6.4. Future work ................................................................................................................ 128 6.4.1. Globalisation.................................................................................................. 128 6.4.2. Mobile technology .......................................................................................... 129 6.4.3. Refinement and improvement of the model .................................................... 129 6.4.4. Specialisation of the model ............................................................................ 129 6.4.5. Team development.......................................................................................... 129 6.4.6. Exploration of methods and tools................................................................... 129 6.5. Chapter conclusions ................................................................................................... 130 vii
  9. 9. A Global Web Enablement Framework Tom RobinsonTable of FiguresFigure 1. Percentage of total income for Charities in different income brackets [4] ................. 5Figure 2. The Technology Trap................................................................................................ 17Figure 3. International gateway example ................................................................................. 22Figure 4. Business and charity issues....................................................................................... 27Figure 5. Data Protection Act 1998.......................................................................................... 32Figure 6. The F4 Pyramid Framework ..................................................................................... 41Figure 7. Direction of expansion and progress ........................................................................ 42Figure 8. Foundations............................................................................................................... 43Figure 9. Fundamentals ............................................................................................................ 43Figure 10. Features................................................................................................................... 44Figure 11. Future ...................................................................................................................... 44Figure 12. Implementation flowchart....................................................................................... 46Figure 13. Foundations checklist ............................................................................................. 48Figure 14. Defence in depth ..................................................................................................... 52Figure 15. Microsoft .NET Framework ................................................................................... 56Figure 16. Intermediate code compilation................................................................................ 59Figure 17. Summary of Foundations........................................................................................ 61Figure 18. Example of wiki entry history comparison with MediaWiki ................................. 69Figure 19. Summary of Fundamentals ..................................................................................... 70Figure 20. Feature Planning Matrix ......................................................................................... 72Figure 21. Example of an XML email template....................................................................... 74Figure 22. Summary of Features .............................................................................................. 79Figure 23. Web browsing on mobile and simple devices ........................................................ 80Figure 24. Summary of Future ................................................................................................. 83Figure 25. Mapping between F4 Framework and case study................................................... 87Figure 26. Problems with proprietary code.............................................................................. 91Figure 27. GAPs Documentation Wiki ................................................................................... 92Figure 28. Example inline code documentation....................................................................... 93Figure 29. Example output from NDoc.................................................................................... 94Figure 30. GAP Mailer with addresses imported from Excel .................................................. 95Figure 31. GAP Mailer showing message entry tab................................................................. 96Figure 32. Using a web service to synchronise different systems ........................................... 99Figure 33. Example of Community Server gallery image ..................................................... 100Figure 34. Default Community Server Header ...................................................................... 101Figure 35. Customised Community Server Header ............................................................... 101Figure 36. Further visual customisations ............................................................................... 101Figure 37. Error checking before application submission...................................................... 102Figure 38. Reminder for applicant to check the page for potential errors ............................. 103 viii
  10. 10. A Global Web Enablement Framework Tom RobinsonFigure 39. Confirmation that the page validates .................................................................... 103Figure 40. GAP Online Application Viewer.......................................................................... 105Figure 41. Example of online application form in viewer ..................................................... 106Figure 42. Application Form Stages ...................................................................................... 108Figure 43. Uses for various sections of the application form................................................. 110Figure 44. Using XSLT for processing online application forms .......................................... 111Figure 45. GAP Extranet........................................................................................................ 113Figure 46. FreeTextBox control in action .............................................................................. 119Figure 47. Benefits for GAP .................................................................................................. 124Figure 48. Save Now button on online application form ....................................................... 126 ix
  11. 11. A Global Web Enablement Framework Tom RobinsonTable of TablesTable 1. Locale codes combing location and language............................................................ 24Table 2. Examples of world writing systems ........................................................................... 25Table 3. Basic and advanced email usage ................................................................................ 30Table 4. Comparison of .NET and J2EE features .................................................................... 58Table 5. Registration and linking scenarios ........................................................................... 115Table 6. Account linking scenarios ........................................................................................ 116Table 7. Methods and tools resulting from the case study implementation........................... 121 x
  12. 12. A Global Web Enablement Framework Tom RobinsonChapter 1. Introduction1.1. Chapter outlineThis chapter will introduce the area of work that this dissertation covers and look at theoverall aims and objectives. This chapter will also include an outline of the dissertationstructure and a description of the contents of the remaining chapters. Each chapter in thisdissertation starts with a short introduction explaining the chapter contents and setting thescene.1.2. Area of workThis dissertation begins by looking at the reasons why charitable organisations can benefitfrom the web enablement of current and future business processes. While many businesses now use the Internet as a core part of their operations, charitiesand smaller organisations can find it more difficult to find the time and resources tosuccessfully web enable their business processes. Most previous work on web enablement hasconcentrated on commercial organisations where funding and resources are less scarce than inthe charitable sector. This dissertation will look at ways in which the web, related Internettechnologies and a suitable IT infrastructure can be of benefit to charities, communityorganisations and even small businesses. After looking at the background and identifying the key problems involved with webenablement, the dissertation introduces a framework to achieve a structured approach to webenablement. Following an exploration of the framework as a generic approach to webenablement there is a case study demonstrating an actual implementation of the framework.The defining features of a charitable organisation are examined and the management cultureand other issues explored, in order to justify the need for a structured web enablementframework such as the one described in this dissertation. The framework has been designedfor organisations that have little or no in-house computing expertise, a limited budget andshort timescales. These types of organisation are most likely to need a framework to follow, toenable them to get the most out of their investments in technology. Page 1
  13. 13. A Global Web Enablement Framework Tom Robinson A case study of the work carried out for an international educational charity is used toillustrate and provide evidence of the effectiveness of the framework. The charity used for thecase study is GAP Activity Projects (GAP) Ltd1, a non-for-profit charity based in Reading butwith offices worldwide. GAP is the largest gap year organisation for 17-25 year olds in theUnited Kingdom. As the Internet allows almost instant communication to anywhere in the world, there isadditional material focusing on the web enablement of a charities global operations, hence thetitle of the dissertation. The Internet is a key tool in allowing a charity to increase its reach toa global audience but there are a number of complex challenges which must be overcome, inorder for a successful outcome. The final stages of the dissertation deal with suggestions for further work, outlinesome limitations of the framework and finally look at an evaluation of the project, frameworkand the example implementation. The reason for choosing to study web enablement for the charitable and voluntarysector is that there is a lack of information about web enablement which is specific to theunique needs and issues of such organisations. Although there is a large amount of researchwhich applies to the needs of commercial organisations, relatively little is specific to charitiesor gives any mention to the unique challenges they may face. There are however a number ofdetailed studies into use of the internet and web technology within charities, this is covered inthe literature review.1.2.1. Definition of web enablementIn order to justify use of the term web enablement rather than e-enablement or Internetenablement we need to look at what the web is and how it differs from the Internet. Chaffey etal [1] highlight the key differences between the Internet and the World Wide Web in thefollowing way: The Internet The Internet, refers to the physical network that links computers across the globe. It consists of the infrastructure of network servers and wide-area communication links between them that are used to hold and transport vast amount of information on the Internet.1 http://www.gap.org.uk/ Page 2
  14. 14. A Global Web Enablement Framework Tom Robinson World Wide Web The World Wide Web is a medium for publishing information on the Internet. It is accessed through web browsers, which display web pages and can now be used to run business applications. Company information is stored on web servers, which are usually referred to as web sites. In the context of this dissertation, web enablement is defined as the process ofincreasing an organisations ability to conduct work and offer services using globallyaccessible web applications. The scope of this work also includes related Internet technologiessuch as email and the File Transfer Protocol (FTP), so it could more accurately be describedas Internet enabling. The reason for using the term web enablement is that the focus will bethe World Wide Web rather than the many other Internet technologies which are available.Internet technologies are important complimentary technologies to web enablement and willbe examined where appropriate.1.3. Charities and voluntary sector organisationsare a number of important differences between the way commercial organisations andcharitable organisations operate. One of the major differences, implied by the fact that mostcharities operate as not-for-profit organisations, is the decrease in the importance ofprofitability on investments. Although in many cases this is an important difference betweenthe two types of organisation there are many other differences which can make a difference –organisational culture, existing infrastructure, lack of an internal IT team and differences inpriority and purpose of the business.1.3.1. What is a charity?To be officially recognised as a charity, the organisation must be registered with the CharitiesCommission1, a government funded organisation that regulates the charitable sector inEngland and Wales. Scottish charities must register with the Office of the Scottish CharityRegulator2. There are similar systems for regulation in the United States, Australia andCanada. The Charities Act 1993 [2] is the most recent act detailing the definitions andstructure of UK charities. There are over 190,000 charities registered with the CharitiesCommission, employing over 600,000 staff and 900,000 trustees [3].1 http://www.charity-commission.gov.uk/2 http://www.oscr.org.uk/ Page 3
  15. 15. A Global Web Enablement Framework Tom Robinson1.3.2. Profitability vs. growthCharities aim to grow and to fulfil a vision or purpose, such as the development of a cure for adisease, rather than aiming for profit. This is a major contrast to commercial organisationswhere profit for shareholders or company owners is usually the main goal.1.3.3. Trustees and volunteersTrustees are the people responsible for administration and control of a charity. Depending onthe type and size of the charity this may include the Executive or Management Committee,Directors or in the case of a charitable trust – Trustees and Governors. Trustees come from arange of social backgrounds and a variety of age ranges although they must be over 18 andthere are requirements which must be met regarding previous convictions and bankruptcystatus. Trustees are generally unpaid volunteers who take on responsibilities on behalf of thecharity. Volunteers are an essential resource for many charities. Whilst staff working in thehead office are likely to be salaried, they are often supported by numerous volunteers whowork a variety of hours and participate in a wide range of activities. Many organisations suchas Riding for the Disabled1 have more volunteers than paid employees. Volunteers are a veryunique feature of charitable organisations and must always be taken into consideration whenchanging business processes or developing new tools.1.3.4. Size variance in charitiesThere are currently over 190,000 registered charities in England and Wales [3]. The majority,approximately 57%, of these charities have a recorded income of £10,000 or less [4]. Smallcharities represent nearly two-thirds of registered charities but make up less than 1% of thetotal charity income. The Charity Commission’s 2005 Annual Report [3] states that the largest500 charities are responsible for over 46% of the total charitable income. The size of charitiesvaries as much as the size of non-charitable organisations but many of the core characteristicsstay the same. The European Union [5] defines a small enterprise as an organisation with lessthan 50 full-time employees and a turnover of less than 7 million Euros.1 http://www.riding-for-disabled.org.uk/ Page 4
  16. 16. A Global Web Enablement Framework Tom Robinson Charities vary in size enormously; the largest non-profit organisation in the UnitedStates is the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation1, which has an endowment of approximately$27 billion. At the other end of the scale are small charities for local communities whoseturnover is negligible. Many charities have wholly owned subsidiary organisations that operate as separatelegal entities and can make a profit, as long as the profit is donated to the parent organisation.One of the largest charitable trusts in the UK, The Wellcome Trust2 has established a whollyowned trading subsidiary, Wellcome Trust Trading Limited, to handle non-charitable tradingat the Wellcome Trust Conference Centre. GAP Activity Projects (GAP) Ltd. also has asimilar subsidiary called GAP Activity Projects (Enterprises) Ltd. The operation of a separatelegal entity removes some of the restrictions which a strictly charitable organisation mustcomply with and allows a charity to fundraise by selling merchandise or renting facilities.1.3.5. Financial contribution of charitiesNon-profit organisations are growing rapidly in the UK and currently accounting forapproximately 8% of the gross domestic product (GDP). The non-financial benefits thatcharities contribute to society are even greater and cannot easily be measured on a financialscale. Charities are legally obliged to submit their accounts and annual returns to the CharitiesCommission [3]. £1,001 - £10,000 £10,001 - £100,000 £0 - £1,000 £100,001 - £250,000 £250,000 - £1m £1m - £10m Figure 1. Percentage of total income for Charities in different income brackets [4] (Source: Charity Commission)1 http://www.gatesfoundation.org/2 http://www.wellcome.ac.uk/ Page 5
  17. 17. A Global Web Enablement Framework Tom Robinson The chart above illustrates the importance of small charities with regard to the totalcharitable income. With 86% of total income for charities coming from organisations with anincome of less than £100,000 the importance of small charities is significant.1.3.6. Why do charities need to be web enabled?Web enablement can bring a number of benefits to small organisations, some of which wouldbe prohibitively expensive using traditional forms of communication. Publicity materials canbe sent around the world at a greatly reduced costs, and the organisation’s message can beglobally available to anyone with internet access. An organisation may also be able to makegains in terms of the efficiency and speed of their operations. As the resources of smallcharities are limited, it is important that they are able to make the most of these opportunities.1.4. Case study1.4.1. Knowledge Transfer PartnershipsKnowledge Transfer Partnerships (KTP)1 are a Department of Trade & Industry (DTI)2sponsored scheme to encourage and support the transfer of knowledge between academicinstitutions and companies. A committee comprising academic staff, staff at the company andKnowledge Transfer Partnership support staff, manages each partnership. The partnershipinvolves the employment of one or more graduates who work at the company on a fixed termcontract, with the support of the knowledge base partner. The government sponsors thescheme by contributing up to 60% of the total programme cost. Grants includes the graduatesalary, academic support and budgets for equipment, personal training & development andtravel & subsistence. For all organisations, and especially charities who might not otherwise be able toafford it, a KTP scheme can be of great benefit. It allows for the employment and support of anew employee at a significantly reduced cost. GAP Activity Projects is currently workingwith The University of Reading as part of a Knowledge Transfer Partnership. GAP chose toembark on a KTP scheme for the web enablement of its key business processes and forgreater use of IT generally. This dissertation is a result of a combination of research and workcarried out with GAP.1 http://www.ktponline.org.uk/2 http://www.dti.gov.uk/ Page 6
  18. 18. A Global Web Enablement Framework Tom Robinson1.4.2. GAP Activity ProjectsGAP offers an interesting case study as it is a large and well-established organisation with anumber of interesting organisational features, making it possible to examine the impact ofweb enablement in a number of areas. GAP has a variety of offices and partnerships worldwide. The main office is based inthe United Kingdom and employs around 30 full-time staff. Other offices are smaller, withGAP Australia having around eight full-time staff whilst other smaller offices have as few asone person working full-time. GAP also works in partnership with YouLead1 in Canada whoperform similar functions to the other overseas offices but are not owned or directlycontrolled by GAP. Large numbers of volunteer staff, both in the United Kingdom and overseas, are anessential part of GAP’s operations. There are well over a 100 volunteer staff actively workingfor GAP and there are many opportunities to allow them to become more involved throughweb enablement. The range of ages, IT skills, locations and access to infrastructure of GAP’svolunteers brings a number of unique challenges and complexities. Prior to the implementation of the work detailed in the case study, GAP only had onefull-time member of staff who dealt with IT matters. This support was limited to day-to-daymaintenance of the infrastructure, and all development work or creation of new systems wasoutsourced to a consultant at a significant cost. The most significant product created byexternal consultancy was GAP’s ‘Core’ database, which stores and manages the majority ofGAP’s operational data. This was completed shortly before the web enablement processbegan. The basic IT infrastructure required for the framework to be implemented was not asgood as it could have been to start with, however, GAP has had a broadband Internetconnection, fairly modern PCs for each member of staff, an internal network, a large websiteand a comprehensive central database for some time.1 http://www.youlead.org/ Page 7
  19. 19. A Global Web Enablement Framework Tom Robinson1.5. AimsThe main aims of the research and this dissertation are to:1. Demonstrate the importance of web enablement in the charitable sector.2. Examine the current state of the art.3. Develop a generic framework to support and guide web enablement of charitable sector organisations.4. Show how the framework can be applied.5. Discuss the effectiveness of the framework and ideas for expansion and improvement.1.6. ObjectivesThe wider aims are to be achieved by completing the following objectives:1. Give background information regarding charities and voluntary sector organisations, web enablement and globalisation.2. Compare and contrast charitable and commercial organisations so that key differences can be highlighted and business drivers identified.3. Outline the problems which a charity may face when dealing with web enablement.4. Look at existing research which is relevant to the subject area.5. Highlight the key problems to be solved, both technical and non-technical.6. Develop a framework which deals with all areas of web enablement, from the infrastructure through to future possibilities.7. Demonstrate an implementation of the framework by use of a case study.8. Evaluate the framework using the lessons learnt from case study and make suggestions for resolving any issues or limitations.9. Offer suggestions for further work to expand the framework. Page 8
  20. 20. A Global Web Enablement Framework Tom Robinson1.7. Key web enablement driversAll voluntary sector organisations have a number of key business drivers which must be takeninto account when developing a web enablement strategy.1.7.1. CompetitivenessCharities often compete against commercial organisations in the market place. Smallerorganisations also compete against larger charities with bigger spending budgets. Althoughnot all charities are a competitive market, those that are need to be able to keep up with otherorganisations in their market area. Web enablement is an area where larger and commercialorganisations tend to be ahead of smaller organisations that have more limited resources.1.7.2. Cost cuttingCharities are always looking for ways of keeping costs down. Traditional methods ofcommunication and advertising are expensive to produce and physical items cannot reach aworldwide audience. By using the web as a marketing and communication tool, costs can bekept down and new markets can be reached. Rather than posting documents, charities can useemail and websites to distribute material to almost anywhere in the world at a very low costper transaction.1.7.3. Communication with volunteersMany charities rely on volunteers to perform key tasks. As voluntary staff, they are likely tobe part-time, often retired and may not work in the charity’s office or even in the samecountry. The web can be a useful tool for communicating with voluntary staff and integratingthem into the core of the organisation.1.7.4. GlobalisationMany charities are either globalising their operations or looking to do so. This brings acompletely new set of challenges which the organisation must face. Globalisation also bringsmany opportunities for growth and the ability to spread an organisation’s message overseas.By harnessing the power and abilities of the World Wide Web, a charity can expand its reachat a very low cost, provided that the technical and cultural aspects are taken into account. Page 9
  21. 21. A Global Web Enablement Framework Tom Robinson1.8. Overview of the remaining chapters1.8.1. Chapter 2 – Literature reviewThis chapter looks at the work of other researchers in the areas covered by this dissertation.There is a look at previous research and studies which have been conducted within thecharitable sector. Coverage of existing frameworks is limited, as most past work has beenaimed at commercial organisations and not charities. Charities usually have very differentaims and objectives and the methods they use must allow for this. The ability of a webapplication to be globally accessible is essential for many organisations, even smallorganisations that do not have any staff or volunteers overseas. As the issues surroundingglobalisation have been around since the birth of the Internet, there is a great deal of existingwork in this area. This chapter also looks at some of the key technical issues and the solutionswhich are appropriate for the type of web applications discussed elsewhere in thisdissertation.1.8.2. Chapter 3 – Problems to be solvedThis chapter looks at the web enablement challenges facing charities and voluntary sectororganisations. Some of these problems are unique to charities whereas others apply to anysmall organisation, particularly those with little in-house computing expertise and limitedfunds.1.8.3. Chapter 4 – The F4 Pyramid FrameworkThis chapter outlines a generic framework for web development, designed primarily forcharitable organisations, but also suitable for many small businesses. The framework uses amodular approach to web enablement and covers suitable approaches and techniques for webenablement of a number of key business areas.1.8.4. Chapter 5 – Case study – GAP Activity ProjectsThis chapter introduces GAP Activity Projects, the case study being used to demonstrate theideas developed in the framework. It then goes on to describe how the framework has beenused successfully in projects at GAP. GAP is a non-for-profit charity which helps organisegap year placements for 17-25 year olds. The main office employs approximately 30 staff andthere are a number of regional offices around the world. As well as paid staff, GAP also has Page 10
  22. 22. A Global Web Enablement Framework Tom Robinsonnearly 200 members of volunteer staff. The complexity, size and distribution of GAP as anorganisation makes it an interesting case study for the framework.1.8.5. Chapter 6 – Summary, evaluation & further workIn this chapter, the framework as well as examples if its use and implementation will beevaluated. The starting point for the evaluation is the challenges faced during implementation.This leads to an evaluation of the effectiveness of the framework itself and a discussion ofideas for further work, expansion and refinement.1.9. Chapter conclusionsThis chapter has introduced charities and voluntary sector organisations and has highlightedsome of the unique features that differentiate them from commercial businesses. With theexception of communication with volunteers, charities have similar web enablement drivers tomany small businesses. The aims and objectives have been outlined and these are to be thebasis for the remaining chapters. Page 11
  23. 23. A Global Web Enablement Framework Tom RobinsonChapter 2. Literature review2.1. Chapter outlineThis chapter looks at the work of other researchers in the areas covered by this dissertation.There is a look at previous research and studies which have been conducted within thecharitable sector. Coverage of existing frameworks is limited, as most past work has beenaimed at commercial organisations and not charities. Charities usually have very differentaims and objectives and the methods they use must allow for this. The ability of a webapplication to be globally accessible is essential for many organisations, even smallorganisations that do not have any staff or volunteers overseas. As the issues surroundingglobalisation have been around since the birth of the Internet, there is a great deal of existingwork in this area. This chapter also looks at some of the key technical issues and the solutionswhich are appropriate for the type of web applications discussed elsewhere in thisdissertation.2.2. Previous research and studiesThere have been a number of studies and reports on Internet and Information CommunicationTechnology (ICT) use within charities and voluntary sector organisations. The majority ofthese studies are based on surveys. A selection of the most significant and appropriate studiesare detailed in this section.2.2.1. Giving (in) to the InternetThe results of Goatman’s 2004 [6] e-communications survey revealed that larger charitiestended to be more positive about the potential impact of their website. They perceived thecosts and barriers to entry to be lower than smaller charities did. They were positive about thepotential of their website and the possibilities for extension and improvement. The majority ofthose surveyed used email both internally and externally, however half of those wanted to beable to use email more, particularly as a way of spreading information. Again, larger charitieswith a bigger fundraising income were more positive than those in lower income brackets. Across all sectors surveyed, there was a concern that email could become prone tobeing caught by spam filters. Intranets and extranets were found to be in use by some Page 12
  24. 24. A Global Web Enablement Framework Tom Robinsonorganisations although they tended to be used as internal tools, rather than reaching out toother stakeholders. Goatman concludes that there is a wide variety of engagement with weband email technologies but that the majority of organisations see it as having a positive futureand are anticipating making improvements in the future.2.2.2. Virtual PromiseThe latest Virtual Promise report [7] contains the results of annual surveys of charities’ use ofthe Internet between 2000 and 2004. Because Virtual Promise is an annual survey, the reportis useful in demonstrating trends in terms of the speed and direction of change. The ability tocompare results with previous years distinguishes it from one-off surveys, which give lessindication of trends. The survey found that 78% of charities now have a budget dedicated to their website,an increase from the previous year’s 65%. This demonstrates that more charities are realisingthe importance of setting aside resources for web enablement. To back this finding up, it wasalso found that the number of staff employed full-time in Internet-based roles had increased.The majority of respondents had the following features as standard features of their websites –information, links, news, downloadable files, an email enquiry services and job vacancies.Whilst this shows good progress, it is still static content. Whilst static content is useful andwill always be necessary, a website can be improved by having dynamic content such asevents calendars that respond to the current date and news pages which are driven by an easilyupdatable database back-end. Worryingly only half of the responding organisations had websites that conformed tothe accessibility guidelines [8] of the W3C1. There is clearly a lot of work to be done inensuring accessibility to website content. 64% of charities were found to be using contentmanagement systems; this is an encouragingly high percentage for a relatively new way ofmanaging website content.1 http://www.w3.org/ Page 13
  25. 25. A Global Web Enablement Framework Tom Robinson An extract from the conclusion of the report, which is applicable to the purpose of thisdissertation, is quoted below. Charities have entered a second phase regarding the Internet, moving from asking “should we have a website?” to “now that we have a website, how can we make it better?”2.2.3. Hall AitkenIn 2001 a comprehensive report titled E-enabling the Voluntary and Community Sectors wasprepared by Jeremy Wyatt [9] for Hall Aitken1 under commission from the ActiveCommunities Unit, the Department for Education and Skills and the Office of the E-Envoy.The aims of the study were to assist with government policy development for ICT and relatedmatters within the voluntary and community sectors. The study comprised of a telephonesurvey of 1,400 organisations as well as follow-up email surveys, focus groups, interviews,desk research and informal discussion. Although the report is now around 4 years old it wasarguably the first large scale survey of ICT use in the sector. The study found that organisations could improve the effectiveness of their services byusing the Internet as a delivery tool but found that the organisation needed to be suitably ICTenabled in order to do so. Whilst most organisations were using basic ICT functions such asword processing and email, only a few were found to be using more advanced functions suchas web based donations, online recruitment and acceptance of electronic payments. There were concerning findings regarding the ICT infrastructure of manyorganisations; the worst being that 60% of organisations with 25 to 49 employees had lessthan nine computers between them. The number of organisations with an Internet connectionwas found to be significantly lower at 78% compared to 94% of commerical businesses. Ingeneral, the voluntary sector was found to be behind business in a number of key areas.Businesses were significantly in the lead when it came to having a website, the speed ofInternet connections and the use of an intranet. This lack of infrastructure was found to affectan organisation’s ability to take advantage of web technologies leaving the voluntary sectorbehind when it comes to online promotion and online recruitment. The study followed up1 http://www.hallaitken.co.uk/ Page 14
  26. 26. A Global Web Enablement Framework Tom Robinsonthese findings with interviews which revealed that a lack of funds and limited knowledgeamongst some senior staff were the main causes of the lack of a suitable infrastructure.2.2.4. Civic and community technologyWilcox and Pearl [10] discuss what they term ‘civic and community’ use of the Internet. Theyoutline a number of uses for the Internet and web technology, particularly by government andnon-profits, and look at the success of projects in previous years, enabling them to identify thecommon problems which emerge. They later cite Adrian Hancock of the Improvement andDevelopment Agency (IDEA) as stating that there are two key attributes which are needed forsuccessful use of technology – skills and finance. He warns that there is more to planning anIT strategy than the initial phase and that there should be resources available to allow theproject to develop further, otherwise a project may not reach its full potential. An interesting point made in the article is that even when a system is web enabled,there may be some cases where the previous system needs to still be available. Even with thelarge number of people who can access the Internet at home or work there may still be otherswho are unable to, for one reason or another. So that these customers, donors or volunteers arenot ignored, they must be able to access services by alternative methods. If this is notcarefully considered when developing a web application, then it is likely to be problematiclater on. Even ‘online’ businesses like Amazon still have a postal address, fax and phonenumber although it is not needed, advertised or made visible to most people. According to the Wilcox and Pearl [10], one of the main lessons to be learnt fromprevious projects is that there is a major skills shortage in the sector and therefore arequirement for adequate and structured training for all staff, not just those that are developingsystems. In addition, many projects are not carefully planned or are unsuitable for theorganisation’s current internal state which can cause them to be less successful than theycould be or even to fail.2.2.5. Developing the ICT capacity of the voluntary and community sectorThe National Council for Voluntary Organisation’s (NVCO1) report [9] to the ActiveCommunity Unit (ACU) of the Home Office contains the results of market research carriedout by independent consultants amongst the NCVO’s 2,500 members and 500 non-member1 http://www.ncvo-vol.org.uk/ Page 15
  27. 27. A Global Web Enablement Framework Tom Robinsonorganisations. They found that although 61% or organisations had Internet access, someorganisations were far more restricted. It was found that 14% of organisations only had asingle point of Internet access and 22% only had access for key staff. This demonstrates thatsome organisations neglected or were unable to fund a network infrastructure to support theirInternet connection. Web enablement requires organisation wide internet access, not justaccess for key staff or a single terminal. An area neglected from many reports but covered by the NVCO is the need for riskmanagement. They state that whilst benefits of ICT can be very positive they can also bringassociated risks. There are a number of risks which any new way of working brings, but theareas which are of particular concern in ICT projects are security, privacy, intellectualproperty, transparency and compliance with legislation. These issues could be the reason whysome organisations are cautious about web enablement of their processes, and often with goodreason. A further conclusion, and one shared by other reports, is that there is a lack ofunderstanding and knowledge at management and trustee level of the relevance and benefit ofICT and the Internet.2.3. Existing models and frameworks2.3.1. The technology trapWilcox and Grunwald [11] use the matrix in Figure 2 to explain what they call “TheTechnology Trap”. They explain that in order for an organisation to make a change, such assuccessful web enablement, there needs to be change in at least two dimensions of the matrix. Page 16
  28. 28. A Global Web Enablement Framework Tom Robinson Figure 2. The Technology Trap (Source: D. Wilcox and T. Grunwald [11]) The goal is to move from “Old, Old” (1) ways of working to “New, New” (4) ways ofworking. The two traps which may be fallen into, are to introduce new technology without theorganisational approach being changed (3) or changing the way the organisation works, butnot having the technological infrastructure to back it up (2).2.3.2. Application Service Providers (ASPs)Application Service Providers are businesses that offer services, generally via the Internet,which customers can access remotely. The business model behind ASPs1 is to provide aservice which is complex or expensive to set up but which many organisations would finduseful. The service provider then sells access to this service for a small amount, but to a largenumber of customers, and is therefore able to profit from the revenue generated and covertheir initial investment. There are many different ASPs available and they can range fromemail providers to remote application providers to processor time on super computers. For charities without the resources to have complex or expensive systems in-house, anASP can provide very useful services at a good price. ASP resources are usually paid for on a1 It should be noted that the term Application Service Provider (ASP) is unrelated to the term Active Server Page(e.g. ASP and ASP.NET) which is a development technology not a concept. Page 17
  29. 29. A Global Web Enablement Framework Tom Robinsonpay-as-you-go basis. There is no need for a specialised infrastructure as most services areaccessible using the Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) as web pages, or Extensible MarkupLanguage (XML) web services. When it comes to looking at the issues with ASPs, one of the main problems is thatthere is limited scope for customisation of the service. For many customers, this is not aproblem but there may be times when the only way to get the required service is to developand manage it in-house. ASPs work best with services that can be used by a large number ofdifferent organisations but which would be too expensive or difficult to be provided andmanaged internally. Services that are bandwidth intensive are not always suitable forprovision as an ASP either, unless there is a suitably fast connection between the provider andthe consumer. An example of an ASP, which fits the model very well, is a service for looking upaddress details given a postcode. This is a good service for an ASP to provide as it is useful toa large number of organisations, the bandwidth required for each transaction is low and itwould be very expensive for a small organisation to buy and manage its own postcodedatabase. By subscribing to an ASP such as this, a charity could dramatically reduce the timeit takes for a visitor to fill in a literature request form online. ASPs allow the organisation touse a complex system to improve the user experience but with very little in-house expertiseother than the initial set up and linking to the ASP. Whilst postcode lookup is a relatively basic service, there is no limit to the potentialcomplexity of an ASP. A more complex example is one of the many services which provideonline survey systems. These ASPs allow organisations to design and publish questionnairesand then make the results accessible online. There is no need for the consumer organisation tohave its own website to take advantage of the system. To develop a similar system in-housewould require many resources and the total cost of ownership could be higher, especially forsmaller organisations. Larger organisations may prefer their surveys to be managed in-housebut for smaller charitable organisations, that may be a luxury which they cannot afford. A useful guide produced by CompassPoint Nonprofit Services [12] contains a detaileddirectory of ASPs which provide services either specifically for the charitable and non-profitsector or for any type of organisation. Some examples include remote donor database Page 18
  30. 30. A Global Web Enablement Framework Tom Robinsonpackages, workgroup collaboration systems, event management, questionnaire providers,payment providers and volunteer matching systems.2.4. Support organisations and websitesThere are a growing number of organisations that offer help and resources tailored forcharities and other voluntary sector organisations. Some offer commercial consultancyservices as well as free advice while others such as the Charity IT Resource Alliance(CITRA)1 are founded by a group of collaborating organisations. There are too manypotentially useful organisations and websites to list them all but the selection below gives anindication of the variety of help available and is a good starting point for a more in depthinvestigation, based on an individual organisations needs.2.4.1. Charity IT Resource Alliance (CITRA)CITRA is a collaborative technology alliance formed by eight charity sector bodies – theInstitute of Fundraising2, Charity Consortium of IT Directors Group (CCitDG)3, CharityTechnology Trust (CTT)4, The Association of Charitable Foundations (ACF)5, CharityLogistics6, smartchange7, and Community Network8. Its aims are to help improve access torelevant and trusted IT information, people and resources and through the collaborativealliance has a combined membership of over 40,000 individuals and organisations. TheCITRA website contains forums, white papers, polls, surveys, resources and eventinformation.2.4.2. London Advice Service Alliance (LASA) KnowledgebaseLASA9 is a development and resource agency for advice and information providers. The aimsof the organisation are to make good advice available to all those who need it and to promotethe development of high quality information and advice services. Whilst the scope of their1 http://www.citra.org.uk/2 http://www.institute-of-fundraising.org.uk/3 http://www.cfdg.org.uk/4 http://www.ctt.org/5 http://www.acf.org.uk/6 http://www.charitylogistics.org/7 http://www.smartchange.org/8 http://www.community-network.org/9 http://www.lasa.org.uk/ Page 19
  31. 31. A Global Web Enablement Framework Tom Robinsonwork covers more than just IT, the Information Systems Knowledgebase gives good advice onmany subject areas including accessibility, buying equipment, databases, Internet and webdevelopment, IT management, project management, software and troubleshooting.2.4.3. Making the Net WorkMaking the Net Work is a website which provides guidance for organisations, individuals andcommunities who are looking to improve or set up their online presence. The Department ofTrade and Industry (DTI) funded the first project that the founders were set and later projectshave been funded by the Department for Education and Employment (DfEE)1. The sitecontains a great deal of information and is especially suitable for charitable organisationslooking into web enablement as it has an extensive set of links to other useful onlineresources.2.4.4. IT 4 CommunitiesIT 4 Communities2 allows IT professionals to volunteer their services to community andcharitable organisations. It is supported by a partnership of organisations including the BritishComputer Society (BCS)3, the Worshipful Company of Information Technologists (WCIT)4and the industry publication, Computer Weekly5. The partnership aims to increase the numberof IT professionals volunteering in local communities and to make sure that the input theyprovide is effective. For charities which cannot afford their own IT staff or the often highcosts of consultants, this, and other similar services, can be of great benefit.2.5. GlobalisationThe ability of a web application to be globally accessible is essential for many organisations,even small organisations that do not have any staff or volunteers overseas. As the issuessurrounding globalisation have been around since the birth of the Internet, there is a great dealof existing work in this area. This section looks at some of the key technical issues and the1 http://www.dfes.gov.uk/ (formerly Department for Education & Employment)2 http://www.it4communities.org.uk/3 http://www.bcs.org/4 http://www.wcit.org.uk/5 www.computerweekly.co.uk/ Page 20
  32. 32. A Global Web Enablement Framework Tom Robinsonsolutions which are appropriate for the type of web applications discussed elsewhere in thisdissertation.2.5.1. DefinitionsInternationalisation (i18n) is the process of design or modification of a software project sothat it can be later localised. With web projects, this is often done by separating the contentfrom the design so that localised variations can be made without major rewrites andmodifications of the design. The aim is to produce software that is free of any dependency onlanguage, culture, script, and coded character sets. Localisation (l10n) is the process of converting a, preferably internationalised,application so that it is suitable for another language, culture or location. This often includesrewriting content and navigation into the target language, but sometimes involves morecomplex changes such as handling special character encoding methods. If the originalapplication has not been internationalised first then the localisation may prove more difficult.Localisable products separate data from code, correctly display the target language andfunction properly after being localised. Globalisation is often used to as an alternative description for internationalisation.Globalised software is written to change the locale-specific information it uses to process dataand display information to the user based on the configured locale of the operating system, orthe personal preference of the user.2.5.2. Planning for multiple localised websitesIt is important to think about the long-term plans for the website structure, even if there arecurrently no plans to have localised sites. Country Coded Top Level Domains (ccTLDs) are the approach taken by Google andmany other companies. Each localised website is hosted at the root of its own dedicateddomain. This approach works well if the domain name is available for each of the requiredlocalised regions. A limitation of this approach is that in some cases there may need to befurther subdivision for multiple languages. Google uses the ISO language code on the end ofthe domain to resolve this complication. For example, the URL of Google Switzerland inFrench is: Page 21
  33. 33. A Global Web Enablement Framework Tom Robinson http://www.google.ch/frWhere it is not practical to obtain a ccTLD for each localised site, a common approach is toobtain a generic Top-Level Domain (gTLD) such as ibm.com and then use sub domains foreach localised site. Wikipedia is a well-known example of this. The example below is for theInternational English version of Wikipedia. http://en.wikipedia.org/Directory based is another common technique used by a number of sites. It is similar to thesub domain approach, but the localised site is referenced as a directory, rather than a subdomain, as used by IBM UK: http://www.ibm.com/uk2.5.3. Directing users to the appropriate siteMany sites use an international gateway page to direct users to the most suitable localised site.The most difficult part of this is often that it needs to cater for visitors from many cultures andlanguages so has to be as clear as possible, whilst also maintaining a corporate look and feel.There are two routes which can be taken to reach a gateway page. The first approach is direct access, so that the gateway page is held at the root of thesite. This means that when the main site URL is entered, e.g. ford.com then the first page toappear will be the gateway page. The second option is to have a link to the gateway pagesomewhere on the site’s front page. This works well where the localised sites have their owndomain names and visitors are less likely to come across the incorrect site for them. Forexample, www.microsoft.co.uk goes straight to the Microsoft UK site, as it is presumed thatany visitors who have used that domain name will be visiting from the UK. Figure 3. International gateway example (Source: Wikipedia) Page 22
  34. 34. A Global Web Enablement Framework Tom Robinson2.5.4. Automatic redirectionTo automatically redirect a user you must determine the location of the user and the languagethey prefer to use. The Internet Protocol (IP) address of a visitor can be determined with eachrequest that a visitor makes. Geolocation software can use this information to determine thegeographical location of a visitor by comparing it with databases of the IP address ranges andtheir location. Additionally the IP address can be matched against other similar IP addresseswhere the physical location is known. Unlike Internet servers, which are relatively static, home users with dialup connectionsare often assigned different IP addresses and hostnames each time a new connection isinitiated. In this case the location can be hard to determine as it’s likely to change regularly,depending on where the dialup user is. The naming conventions used by some ISPs includesinformation which can be used to help determine location, for example: Modem-226.ca.us.dal.net With the example hostname above, geolocation software can take a good guess thatthe user is connected with DALnet in California, USA and is on a dialup modem. When a web browser makes a request for a page, the HTTP header can contain dataabout the preferred language of the browsers user. This is normally based on the languagesettings of the operating system, but it can be altered in the browsers settings. For example,the header may contain: Accept-Language: cy, en-gb;q=0.8, en;q=0.7 Which means the user would prefer to retrieve a Welsh (cy) version of the page butwill accept British English (en-gb) and other types of English if Welsh is unavailable. Thevariable q gives each language a quality factor, i.e. weighting between 0 and 1, where anyvalue over 0 is acceptable. In this example, British English (en-gb) is given a higherpreference to International English (en). Page 23
  35. 35. A Global Web Enablement Framework Tom Robinson2.5.5. Language and cultural differencesThe localisation of a web application requires more than just direct translation. There aremany differences in local culture which need to be reflected in a localised web application.For example, in Germany it is seen to be unprofessional to use lowercase text for titles andsite logos whereas in other countries this is often done to give the site a more youthful imageor to show informality. A technical problem, which is caused by the complexities of location, culture andlanguage, is representing all the possible combinations. If a web application is to be localisedfor different languages, cultures and locations then there needs to be a way or representingthese. The approach taken in many applications is to combine the ISO1 language code andISO country code, in the hope that this will be enough to distinguish between differentcultures. These combinations are often referred to as the locale – a combination of languageand location. Code Language (Location) en-UK English (United Kingdom) en-US English (United States) fr-CA French (Canada) Fr-FR French (France) Table 1. Locale codes combing location and language If the location is not relevant, then language code on its own can be used. This is oftenthe case with scientific or academic websites where slight regional variations do not matter, sothere is no need to assign a specific country code. The problem with this approach is whenthere is a need to distinguish between two different cultures where the language and locationare the same; a further level of specification is required.1 International Organization for Standardization (http://www.iso.org/) Page 24
  36. 36. A Global Web Enablement Framework Tom Robinson2.5.6. International characters and writing systemsThere are many hundreds of languages which require special characters, accents andcompletely different language structures and writing systems to English. Some examples ofthis are show in Table 2. Although some languages share similarities, such as English andFrench, both are derived from Latin, other languages are completely undecipherable withoutbeing learnt from the ground up. Type Language Example1 Phonetic English/Latin (Alphabetic) Characters represent vowels or consonants, left-to- right. Phonetic Arabic (Alphabetic) (right-to-left) Characters represent vowels or consonants, right-to- left. Phonetic Russian/Cyrillic (Alphabetic) Characters represent vowels or consonants, left-to- right. Phonetic Tagalog (Syllabic) (Philippines) Characters represent combinations of consonants and/or vowels, each called a syllabary. Ideographic Chinese Thousands of ideographs used to communicate meaning, traditionally written top-to-bottom but nowadays left-to-right is commonly used. Table 2. Examples of world writing systems1 “Design will save the world” and translations sourced from http://www.artlebedev.com/studio/slogan/ Page 25

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