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Friday, July 3, 2009

Great Gains in End-to-End Project

Whirlwind week for me here.  I had a couple days off to ponder the benefits of life rolling into version 32.0, and I’m prepping to attend a conference dealing with 2,000 of media history and how it affects the way we communicate.

I also quarterbacked four servers into test and production environments, got a new client build out and began testing of the new intake process for CSR’s.

The last one is where I made my ‘cool’ this week.

The new intake process is an end-to-end solution using the following technologies:

  1. ASP.Net 3.5 with Ajax Toolkit
  2. WCF services
  3. SQL Server 2008
  4. Linq-to-SQL
  5. WPF (using my new bits for polling and MVVM, CodePlex article coming in July)
  6. Windows Services

This was started on Monday and delivered in three working days.

The intake process deals with 30-60 new clients a month.  The volume is low enough that I don’t have to worry about having high-performing components right through, but leveraging these technologies I was able to get this off the ground with very little effort.

I also ran 40,000 test-cycles in an hour to test for load, and the above technologies held up very well.

I should mention that the web app sits outside our network and the WPF app runs inside the network.  There are several network devices between the various application components and performance is still great.  Traffic is forwarded to internal servers on obscure ports (not that it would affect performance) and the DB server is isolated via various security methods, not the least of which is the fact that the only copper going into the SQL box is plugged directly into the server hosting the WCF Windows Services.

The ASP.Net pages collect and validate data from prospective clients and fires that data from the DMZ through the firewall and into the internal mix.  WCF services receive and store the data in the SQL instance private to its own network.  Internally, a custom manager service polls the DB for changes and maintains a list of clients.  CSRs use the WPF application (connected to the manager service) to wait for new prospects.  As the client information comes in, clients are automatically notified and can ‘claim’ and ‘process’ the profiles.

The new process drastically improves the sign-up process for customers and helps to answer the ‘hey, have you got that one?’ questions that are inherit in the old system, where multiple CSRs could end up working on the same client profile.

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