Learning how to type with a web app
Typ-Top is the typing e-learning web app of the leading Antwerp publisher VANIN. It consists of two parts: a textbook and Typ-Top Online, the application to learn to type blindly according to the teen finger system. The interactive tool allows children and youngsters to learn to type smoothly and faultlessly from an early age.
Practice makes perfect
Schools all over Flanders use this web app during class. Thanks to the diversity of practice forms, pupils can improve their typing skills in an informal way. While doing the exercises, pupils get an overview of their current typing pace and the number of mistakes they made. Teachers can adjust the difficulty level per class group or individual student to suit the level of the group, but also to keep challenging everyone.
In a clear logbook both students and teachers can view and filter exercises made. Teachers can also have exercises automatically graded using self-managed evaluation sets. In the same place they can give students feedback.
There are currently more than 40,000 unique users of the Typ-Top platform, most of them students and teachers, and then two authors and a handful of administrators.
The new version of Typ-Top runs only for students who have a license to five new books. Exercises from the other books will be done this year in the old application. Here is an overview of the statistics for one month. On average there are about 2.000 sessions a day, with peaks of up to 250 users at the same time.
It is the intention that even more students will work with Typ-Top, and that the authors will be able to enter new manuals with exercises directly into the application.
What tools did we use?
All created exercises, ratings and exercise controls are stored via a perfomant MongoDB and disk storage. We optimized the database and tuned it to easily cope with peaks during school sessions and to keep track of the workload of thousands of diligent students at the same time. With the powerful Laravel backend, our solution is future-proof: the capacity can be significantly increased over time and if necessary. We streamlined the front-end and all interactions with the ReactJS framework.
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A high-performance MongoDB and disk storage
All created exercises, quotations and exercise checks are stored via a perfomant MongoDB and disk storage. Mongodb is an alternative to MySQL. MySQL is an ideal application for storing relational data, but for this case we need a document-based model.
MongoDB is an open source document-oriented database where you can store documents as completely as possible, including all relations, as one document. The solution for Typ-Top is much more comparable to a Solr platform than to a traditional database. Moreover, in a MongoDB solution, you can store a lot of data, more than in a traditional RDBMS (Relational Database Management System). To easily handle the peaks during school sessions, we optimised the database.
The advantages of ReactJS framework as frontend
We streamlined the front-end and all interactions with the ReactJS framework. In a well-organised log, both pupils and teachers can view and filter the exercises they have made. Teachers can also have exercises graded automatically using self-managed evaluation sets. In the same place, they can give feedback to students.
The ReactJS framework turns the interactive Typ-Top tool into an efficient web application. The code is clean, easy to maintain and well-documented. Again, future-proof.