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Creating a Simple Help Desk Application

, 11 Apr 2011
A demonstration of how you can quickly create a simple help desk application using modern development tools with little to no hand coding required.

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Introduction

A Help Desk application can be a great way to provide assistance and support to users. A simple IT Help Desk application will allow you to log problems and solutions. You can grant your staff/customers access to it allowing them to report their problems direct. Staff can then review the problem list and post solutions. Over time you will build up a repository of common problems and their solutions all in a central searchable place. Simple web applications like this can prove to be really useful.

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Solution

To build your own Help Desk application you will need access to some development tools. In this example I have used MS SQL Server 2008R2 for the database and Iron Speed Designer v8 to build the application. You will also need to decide what information you want to collect. As this is your own custom application you will be able to collect just the right information for your business. In a basic system you will mostly likely need to log at least what software/hardware they are using and get a full description of their problem.

Create a Database

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Once you have decided what information you want to store you can create your database. I have provided a sample database schema below.

The HelpCase table is used to store a list of all reported problems and their respective solutions. The related tables are simple type tables designed to hold lists of information. These can then be used to populate drop downs for the user to select from.

Create an Application

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Once the database is complete you will need to create an application to use it. To keep things simple I have used a code generator called Iron Speed Designer to generate the application. This allows us to build the user interface without writing any code. I have generated a simple search page with additional add and edit pages. The screen shown below allows you to add/edit existing help cases and you can also search for key words in the problem description/solution.

This system also gives you access to an admin menu which you can use to configure data stored in the other tables. This is a very simple application but can easily have extra features added. With Iron Speed Designer you can build in role based security and various extra customisations without writing any code.

Conclusion

You can use modern development tools to generate simple applications without writing any code. This means you can create applications quickly to provide useful tools for use in your business. This help desk application is a prime example of what you can achieve. You could use the same basic principles to create other simple apps for tasks such as time tracking and customer relations management. As these are web applications you can deploy them on internal company networks or have them accessible on the public internet allowing your staff and customers access from anywhere. All these applications can be tailored to meet your particular business needs.

License

This article, along with any associated source code and files, is licensed under The Code Project Open License (CPOL)

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About the Author

Ben Demes
Software Developer ECPR
United Kingdom United Kingdom
Ben Demes holds a bachelor’s degree in computer science from the University of Essex and is a professional member of the British Computer Society (MBCS). Ben has been instrumental in completing a number of web applications for NHS in the UK. Ben’s skill set extends to programming in C#, VisualBasic.NET and JavaScript and working on data migration scripts for Microsoft SQL Server.
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Comments and Discussions

 
GeneralSeems a bit expensive PinmemberEdw12-Apr-11 3:22 
GeneralRe: Seems a bit expensive PinmemberBen Demes12-Apr-11 4:21 
GeneralRe: Seems a bit expensive PinmemberSamDaMann19-Apr-11 5:57 
GeneralRe: Seems a bit expensive PinmemberBen Demes19-Apr-11 6:30 

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