by Cory Dalton and Luke Fader
One of the perks of Computer Science at FHU is our ability to take classroom projects and take them into Dr. Casey’s research group in order to expand and improve upon them. This semester we did this with DocuSim, a web application for FHU’s nursing school (see this article for more info). Cory and I have been involved in DocuSim from its inception and we are in charge of bringing it to completion.
We quickly realized that DocuSim needs a backend that includes a database to store patient information and assessments. We chose to create the backend in a way where we can connect to it from a number of frontend applications. This means we should be able to use our backend database with our web application, but also have the freedom to make a native iPad/iPhone application that uses the same database backend.
Entity Framework and Web API allows us to accomplish this within Visual Studio 2012.
DocuSim database model created using Entity Framework.
To begin on DocuSim we have started by setting up a backend web api server. This has proven a little more difficult than originally thought. We spent a good while defining a database and used entity framework to create it. We ran into several issues with its creation. The main issue was that the entity models we incorrectly generated produced conflicting code and duplicate data. The lesson learned is to completely understand a tool before using it. After better understanding entity framework it was easy to create a basic API that allows for querying GET requests to the database, though we are still testing out the other types of queries.
DocuSim’s future looks bright. Once we get the rest of the backend queries working, we’ll look to host our Web API and then begin improvement on the frontend web application(s).