A series of workshops broken down into key discussion points took place during a Discovery Phase. The workshops were designed to determine important aspects of the two main development phases of the new Umbraco website, including the creation of individual yet flexible templates with a fresh design, whilst customising existing widgets to display dynamic data like latest news and blog posts. Those functions that required re-development and a re-design in order to improve their visual impact and functionality were also addressed.
Ensuring smooth integration and data exchange between the Umbraco CMS and Pivotal CRM was a challenging element to this project. In the previous website’s configuration, data exchange from and to the “MemberLink” user controls was not as efficient as it could have been. The reason for this was two-fold: (1) a vast quantity of data was being stored in the ASP.NET session which significantly reduced website performance, and (2) there was no discernible structure to the way data was stored and subsequently delivered back to users who entered search queries in the “MemberLink” page.
To overcome these issues Codehouse developed a bespoke ASP.NET solution that involved the restructuring and re-development of MSI's “MemberLink”.
Firstly, Codehouse restructured the connection to MSI's database by developing a Caching Layer. This Caching Layer, a repository base that stores members' Personal, Company and Location information, sits between MSI's databases and the Member Page base. With this new configuration, whenever a member enters a search query the system first looks at the Caching Layer. If queried data has been previously cached it will be presented to the user. If however, data is not in the Caching Layer, then MSI's databases will be searched, and the results cached in the appropriate repository for future use, and of course presented to the user. Whereas previously there was a lot of data stored in the ASP.NET session clogging performance now, with our expert ASP.NET team having developed the Caching layer, the speed of the ASP.NET session has significantly improved.
Secondly, Codehouse re-developed MSI's “MemberLink” section which included the re-design of Individual and Company profile pages. In addition Codehouse refined the search functionality by using Lucene Search with an improved two level Taxonomy based on a scoring system which rates each member based on their speciality (or Practice area).
The Codehouse Umbraco development team delivered the project using Agile Project Management Methodology, whereby features and functions for delivery were broken down into shorter development cycles called sprints.