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DNN as a web application framework


Last year we developed an application for one the divisions within a Dutch medical university. The application truly showed the strength of DNN as a web application framework.

This particular application supports a peer review process of research papers written and submitted by medical students in their last year of their studies. It allows students to login and upload research papers (pdf). These papers are then stripped from author and other identifying characteristics and saved in a secure location. Upon a given deadline all submitted papers are randomly distributed among the students that have in fact submitted a paper. Each paper is reviewed 4 times and the results are entered in in the system.

The system automatically tracks progress, send mails to students who are late with submitting their reviews and calculates grades for each paper and student. It also has functions to support re-submitting papers that failed review criteria. The system saves the support staff of the department an enormous amount of tedious administrative work as well as makes life easier for students.

From a development standpoint, this application really shows the strength of DNN. It uses:

  • user and permission management
  • off the shelf modules for:
    • user upload,
    • forms and
    • lists
  • custom modules for random paper distribution and pdf processing

Development of such a system can be done relatively cost efficient because of the use of off the shelf modules and still harness all the power of custom programming, but only where this is truly needed.