by Pete Carapetyan
In the year 2000, dataFundamentals was engaged by a small engineering company with some unnecessarily high clerical costs. Timekeeping for the dozens of engineers it had on site around the country had created a mini-bureaucracy within its home office, and the owners wanted a more efficient way to get the job done.
DataFundamentals was engaged to design and create a secured web application to centralize all of the records in a database that they could query and report on from within the home office.
Framework utilized to prevent duplication of effort
Expresso, then at version 4.2 was used as the secure web application platform, as it was a strong and well documented J2EE platform that was already in use in thousands of installations worldwide. As I had been a core contributor to this and previous releases, it made for an easy choice.
Code Generator Utilized
WebAppWriter, also written and me in earlier years, provided a working application within a few days. Because the company already had a database it had been using (albeit one written in Microsoft Access), it was easy to take this database, make some quick adjustments and data normalizations, and then point the code generator at it to create a new web application written in the Expresso framework.
App customized to business rules
Immediate deployments made it possible for management to come up with requirements that it hadn't been able to predict in advance. They didn't want to have to train field engineers how to enter data correctly, so several enhancements were made to automate data entry and restrict fields to acceptable entries based on project status.
In house admin trained to maintain app
From my first day on site, in-house engineers were involved in the process and brought along with the processes and logic. As the app was deployed, the engineer was trained in its build and deployment, so that he could customize the program at will.