windows

Dale Care – Call Log Comparison Case Study

Prior to Xyroh, Andy was the founder of dotUK (A software development firm based out of Yarm and Stockton on Tees here in the North East), again specialising as a developer in mobile apps, web applications and desktop software for a number of business clients – this is one of those portfolio case studies

Summary

Dale Care are a home care provider based in the North East of England, and operate in County Durham. They have an existing call confirmation system that confirms calls within the Staffplan system, however logged calls did not tally with actual calls, and it was time consuming to manually compare

Technical

Client Dale Care – North East and County Durham based home care provider

Platforms Windows Server, SQL Server, Staffplan, NEC Phone System

Technologies Python, Windows Exe

Development Software Development, Windows Server

Case Study

A key factor in how Dale Care manage, and bill their home care services is through quickly, and accurately confirming calls made by carers to clients at their homes, into the Staffplan management software specific to the home care industry. This is done primarily by the carer ‘phoning home’ from the client’s home, and the CLI is matched, recorded, and the visit logged into Staffplan.

This matching is currently done by a call logging box the runs in parallel to the existing NEC phone system and is monitored by a standalone windows server based application. However not all calls are being confirmed within Staffplan, yet the are identified in the NEC Phone System logs, which leads to discrepancies in payroll claims, and potentially under billing for clients as the system does not believe home visits have been made.

As a short term solution dotUK provided a daily analysis tool that runs as a scheduled task that picks up all call logs on the dedicated inbound phone system trunk and attempts to match them with confirmed calls in Staffplan, this matching is done with a time threshold to allow for subtle time logging differences, and highlights any calls the phone system has identified that are not properly confirmed. These calls are then output on a daily management report that allows Dale Care staff to batch update Staffplan, and correct the anomalies, and saving significant man-hours in chasing manually reported discrepancies.

Both the NEC Phone System, through the My Calls add on, and Staffplan utilise MS SQL Server s the back end database, and for simplicity dotUK chose to utilise a simple Python script compiled as a 64bit Windows Server executable running as a scheduled task, as the method to implement this call comparison.

Art Screen Prints – Cross Platform Mugs App Case Study

Prior to Xyroh, Andy was the founder of dotUK (A software development firm based out of Yarm and Stockton on Tees here in the North East), again specialising as a developer in mobile apps, web applications and desktop software for a number of business clients – this is one of those portfolio case studies

Summary

Art Screen Prints based in Guisborough here in the North East specialise in producing print based fund raising merchandise for schools, clubs and other associations. One such product is ceramic mugs printed with the pupils drawing. In order to best represent the potential end product the need to produce Parental Order Forms (POF’s) that are personalised with the pupil’s details, and as close as possible to a final representation of the Mug printed with the pupils drawing. We would also need, within the same workflow, to print the final print ready templates in PDF format for use in the printing process,

Technical

Client Art Screen Prints – Guisborough based School and Fundraising Print

Platforms Apple Mac, Windows

Technologies C#, Mono, GTK+, .Net, ImageMagick

Development Desktop Software, Mac Software, Windows Software, Cross Platform Software

Case Study

One of the unique requirements of this software development was the fact that the client used a mixture of both Apple Macs, and Windows based PC’s and as such this tool would potentially need to run, in the same manner, across both platforms.

The workflow is in essence two fold, presented with a folder of pre-scanned images (grouped by Class, or other equivalent organisational hierarchy), the desktop application we developed would need to take this feed of images, process them, and generate one, or both of;

  • Print Ready, PDF Formatted print template for the actual scaled image to appear on the Mug
  • A Parental Order Form to be distributed to the schools representing a final printed mug as closely as possible.

To do this we built the application utilising the Mono framework (a Cross platform representation of the C# language that allows applications to be built from a single codebase under Windows, Mac, and Linux).  However as this was a desktop application and we had to consider the User Interface (UI) it was also necessary to make a decision on the UI framework.  In the end we settled on GTK as the best performing, simplest, multi platform graphical interface framework, for what was as an interface quite simple.

The application itself was mostly a wrapper around pre-generated ImageMagick (A cross platform software suite for manipulating images programmatically) commands that we built to create both the print template, and the POF.  Particularly challenging was the need to take a flat two dimensional image, and create the effect of wrapping and warping the image ‘around’ the Mug so as to represent what the human eye would see in the flesh.

In addition, owing to the batch processing and time it would take, we had to ensure to user asynchronous event based programming within the apps interface to ensure that a consistent update on progress was fed back to the user, without the application timing out, or ceasing to respond as it would with lengthy synchronous waits.

Thanks to our success the project grew to encompass a sister project for the generation of Calendar templates, and associated order forms.