We were in Qatar a couple of weeks working on a huge Joomla website. The website was for a portal for a school (unfortunately the agreement states that we cannot mention the school name on our website). This is the second largest website we’ve done in Qatar, the first one was a non-Joomla website we’ve done for a major Qatari bank.
The project consisted of the following:
- Installation of Joomla
- Integration of the design that was already created by the design team in Qatar (Note that the design team does not work for itoctopus)
- Integration of Moodle in the Joomla website
- RSVP (Répondez S’il Vous Plaît) extension creation, where students RSVP to certain events
- E-com integration to accept credit card payments from parents for different events/activities (the e-com was integrated with the RSVP)
- PCI security compliance, which included ensuring that the e-com database is separate, that both transactions and credit card numbers are secure, and that all the security leaks are taken care of
- Integration of a Web Service provided by the Qatar Meteorology Department to list the weather warnings on the website
- Creation of many extensions to accommodate the different services that the school wanted to support
It took 2 of our people 2 months to finish the job, and we’re happy to say that the school board was really happy with the results, and the website is used extensively by the students. We are also happy that we will work with the school again on a phase II of the project which consists mainly of:
- Providing sub-blogs for students (We might use WordPress with Joomla to provide this functionality): This means that students will be able to have their own blogs that are hosted on the school’s website. For example, let’ say that a student’s name is “ABC”, then his blog will be abc.blogs.websitename.com.qa . The blogs will be used by students to share their experience about their classes. The blogs will be secured and a mechanism will be used to prevent abuse.
- Facebook integration with the website: Including unifying the login, commenting on pages/blogs, sharing the school’s events on Facebook (so when the school creates a new event it will be automatically published on Facebook), etc…
- Ranking professors: Anonymous ranking of the professors will be provided to registered students.
Some things to say
- We were impressed by the country: It is really booming, and the infrastructure, when it comes to technology, is new and efficient.
- The people there are really great: They are very intelligent, very helpful, and really generous (we were invited to breakfast, lunch, and dinner every day – no kidding, and lately we were invited to Iftars and Souhours since it’s Ramadan).
- We love the weather: Yes it’s hot, it’s very very hot. But if you live in Canada you start to appreciate very hot weathers.
- Companies love Joomla in Qatar: Yes they do, we were able to establish many contacts there because they were interested in creating a Joomla website for their business.
- Development standards are really high: We remarked that both the school and the bank had some really high standards when it comes to development: They were very exigent about the documentation, the security, the coding standards, the compliance with the W3C for HTML and the compliance with PCI for security, etc…
- We did not want to leave: Yes, we really wanted to stay there.
The first time we undertook a project in Qatar was back in October of 2010 (less then a year ago), and we started the school’s project in June of 2011. We think that there’s a great potential there, and we will continue to seek opportunities in the Qatari market. We even have a Middle Eastern number that our Qatari clients can call to, which is: +961 71 90 23 99.