OLPC Activity Details


Google Summer of Code 2008

OLPC - Finance Activity Details 

Some commonly used terms in this description:
OLPC - One Laptop Per Child
OLU - OLPC Laptop User
GSoC - Google Summer of Code


(1) Features
(1.1) Income/Expense Register
(1.2) Monthly Expense Tracker
(1.3) Budget Planner
(1.4) Loan Manager and Calculator
(2) Proposals
(2.1) Online Loan Portal
(2.2) Model Barter System
(2.3) Integration with Banks
(3) Help And Documentation
(4) Project
(5) Roadmap

Features

Income/Expense Register
This feature helps the user to log his daily Income and Expense. At the end of every week, a summary of expenses and savings will be generated which will help the user to track down his/her spending habits and plan a new strategy for the money matters for the coming week. This summary will present expense & income categories separately to keep a check on, how much money is saved actually.
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Monthly Expense Tracker
This will generate a log of monthly expenditures and will point the user to the commodity that is purchased on a regular basis. This will help the user to either cut down on that particular commodity or plan his/her forthcoming budget more effectively.
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Budget Planner
This will help the user to plan the budget for the month next and thus helping him/her to put a check on his/her expenditures. This way he can do his/her savings efficiently too. Options will be provided to classify the budget into various categories, which the OLU has to create, ofcourse.
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Loan Manager and Calculator
This is an interesting feature of the Finance application with the help of which the user can keep a track of all his/her loans and debts. There will be separate columns for both Loans and Debts. User can Add watches to the people he/she has given loans or has to take money from. There will be an option for paying back loan in installments where in the user can file in exactly how much amount has to be returned every month to the person from whom the loan has been taken. This will act as a kind of reminder each month.
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Proposals

Online Loan Portal
I would like to add another feature where-in a OLPC Laptop User (OLU) will have an online identity in a portal meant separately for the OLU Finance Activity. Here an OLU can keep a track of the loans he/she has taken from a friend , and thus the loan data may also be visible to other OLU. Thus other users will also be able to know whether or not to deal money with a particular OLU. This will make money-lending more reliable and simpler. The Portal design and the coding on PHP and MySql will be done by me. Regarding Fraud Prevention in the portal, I have the following proposal: When the OLPC Distributors give the laptops to the children, they are also provided with a code, say of 6 digits. This code will be required while signing up for the Online Portal Services. The code will be given only when a proper address proof and telephone no.s are submitted by the OLU. I need some feedback from the mentors particularly on this topic.
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Model barter System
Also I have an idea for implementing a model barter system wherein OLUs can put up items that they think can be exchanged for some item from some other OLU. OLUs have to decide on their own so as to what is the value of the items that are being bartered. Barter system proves to be very useful when some OLU is in need of a particular item that is not available in the market, but some other OLU has it. This is only a proposal and will be implemented only if time permits during the GSoC period. I might continue on developing this feature after the GSoC although.
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Integration with Banks
The finance app. Can be further improved for integration with banking websites for hassle free transactions with banks providing online services. This is only a proposal although, as of now.
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Help and Documentation

The Activity will be built in such a way that tips are provided to the user on-screen, teaching him/her how to use the software as well as it will throw in general info(s) about finance related stuff like efficient money managing, proper allocation of available funds, stock markets etc. I have planned to write proper documentation for the entire project. This will be don in stages as the development progresses. From the use of this activity, the OLU will benefit both knowledge wise and will become a better manager of his/her own money.
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Project

I have planned the development of the activity/application in three stages.
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Stage 1 (Approx Time: 3 Weeks)
In the first stage, I plan to develop the application in Python. I will be entirely using Python for developing the back-end of the above proposed Finance activity/app. This will involve extensive use of Object oriented programming and File Handling features of Python. There will be classes and sub classes for each and every part of the activity feature. Since I have already handled such class based projects before, It won`t be a problem for me choose classes and define functions. All this would be done suitably.
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Stage 2 (Approx Time: 2 Weeks)
The second stage will mainly involve development of the front-end/GUI for the application. The Python based back-end will then be converted into an intuitive Front-End/GUI using the PyGTK. You may like to check some of the UI Mockups that I have done, by clicking http://dkd903.googlepages.com/homedebjitolpc .
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Stage 3 (Approx Time: 1 Week)
The third stage will involve the development of the Online portal and it`s integration with the Finance application / activity, the details about which I have already discussed above in the features section. The coding of the Finance portal and the proposed Barter System feature will mainly involve PHP, MySQL and JavaScript.
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Two more weeks will be devoted to beta testing, fixing Bugs, Code and GUI Polishing , although these will be carried out simultaneously along with the regular development work as developed in the three stages as discussed above.

Roadmap

I will get familiar with the specific OLPC internals (Like SUGAR(XO), PyGTK, etc.) that I require for my work until 3rd week of May. It would be very nice if I could get some feedback and suggestions on my proposals. I will maintain a blog where I will post daily about the progress I have achieved and will be in constant touch with my mentor, notifying him of my progress.  

I will try to implement features in the order they are specified above. Things will be implemented such the finance application can be used despite its non-completion fully in the stipulated time. These will happen amidst the mid-term and final evaluations.
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