File-Sharing Social Network
Bringing to Life a Startup Project
- Document storage and versioning
- Conversation boards and social networking capabilities
- Desktop clients for Windows and Mac OS integrated with the website
Our Customer – a US-based technology startup company – was aiming to launch a document-sharing social networking application. Tailored specifically to the needs of architects, engineers, manufacturers and their clients, the solution was designed to combine the functionality of file storage, a social network and collaboration workspace.
For the vast majority of startups the primary challenge lies with passing early funding stages towards entering consumer markets. With a sound concept behind the project, our Customer had to make sure they didn’t fall short of startup performance expectations regarding technical implementation of the solution. That was the point at which Itransition was invited to handle custom app development.
The Customer preferred Ruby on Rails web framework as the platform of choice due to its agility, flexibility, rapid deployment and time-to-market – the traits crucial to any modern startup.
Itransition’s skilled Ruby developers and QA engineers joined the designer agency and the Customer’s on-site team working on the project. The Itransition dedicated team worked remotely and was tasked with requirements analysis, development and testing of a web application and desktop clients integrated with it.
Considering the tough functionality implementation timeline, particularly during the initial project phases, Itransition’s specialists were delivering new features within an extremely tight time-frames, but without compromising the quality of the solution.
The web application built using Ruby on Rails has a model-view-controller (MVC) architecture pattern and leverages Pjax technology to progressively enhance page loading. MySQL open source database, subsequently moved into the cloud, forms the database layer. To build desktop clients integrated with the website, Itransition’s .NET and Objective-C developers were involved.
Integration with Oracle AutoVue provides web-enabled capacity to view, annotate and collaborate on multi-format technical documentation without requiring installation of specialized CAD tools. Integration with Google Maps enables to assign geo-tags landing automatically on designated projects.
The developed system handles large amounts of files, including CAD (computer-aided design) drawings, helping players in the architecture, engineering and construction (AEC) industry to work more efficiently towards common goals.
The solution enables to securely share and discuss project images while building meaningful connections between individuals, companies (design agencies, engineering bureaus, etc.) and their projects. A project is represented by a set of ‘Building blocks’ – the drawings/images that can be uploaded to the system or searched for and borrowed from the extensive library of templates and other publicly-shared projects. System users can either create new projects or join the existing ones.
The web-based application covers the following functionality:
Desktop clients running on Windows and Mac OS automatically sync files across computers, keeping them backed up online.
As soon as the development project objectives were accomplished – and the opportunities to receive further investment skyrocketed – Itransition handed over the application evolvement to the Customer’s on-site team, assembled by that time. Moreover, having completed their mission, Itransition’s specialists contributed greatly to preparation of patent documentation on the project.
Advocating agile project management methodologies, the Customer evaluated highly the Scrum practices adhered to at Itransition. Thus, backlog grooming meetings were held weekly to ensure requirements clarification and adoption of any slightest requirement modification. Special effort was paid to settle seamless communication with the US-based project team.
So far, the solution has been advantageously used by 11 AEC companies investing in the project. A public beta system version has been released. With frequent iterations and functionality augmentation still on track, the solution has already started showing promising results in the industry emphasizing strongly implementation of the latest information exchange technology.
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