Custom B2B Web Service
Custom Business to Business Web Service for a charity using C# XML
Using Web Service tools including C# and XML we developed an application that would automatically upload relevant data from our client's office management database to a central internet data storage application.
The Forum of Mobility Centres, in conjunction with the Department for Transport, introduced a new central database for storing information about driving assessments for Mobility services across the UK.
As the Bristol Mobility Service wished to continue using their existing integrated system, we provided an automatic process for uploading Mobility Service information into the new Forum eBusiness System (FeBS).
The Bristol charity has a well established database, developed by PC Access, which they had been using for over 7 years previously. This combines equipment reservations with staff appointment bookings. It records information about enquiries, consultations, and clients attending the centre for driving assessments. It is an integrated system that links financial records with driving assessments, and records the full range of services provided by a Disabled Living Centre in addition to driving assessments.
When the new central repository for driving assessments was introduced, Bristol was faced with the prospect of having to enter their information into two separate electronic data storage systems, which would have been wasteful of precious staff time.
The new FeBS system was funded by the Department for Transport for use by any of the other 16 centres in the UK. However, it did not meet all the requirements of the Bristol office. As management and staff were very happy with their existing database, they needed an interface to the new government system.
As an IT contractor to Bristol, with funding and support from the Department for Transport, PC Access designed a bespoke service to upload assessment records to the core database system on a regular basis via the Internet.
A key feature is that Bristol DLC have no interruption to their service when the upload process is run. Furthermore, as this system is transparent and automatic, there has been no change to their business process and very little staff training was required.
Stringent checking processes ensure that no data is lost if an upload process cannot be completed for any reason, such as interruption to the Internet connection, or the central database not being available.
The service was written in C# and uses a SOAP based XML Web Service to effect the transfer of data from a Microsoft Access database to the Forum eBusiness System. This case study is an example of a heterogeneous system integration. Bristol run a Microsoft Windows network running Microsoft Office, while the FeBS system is an Open Source Apache Web Server with the FeBS system built using Java.
On a personal note I am happy to say that PC Access worked professionally and cooperatively. There were a number of technical challenges to developing the interface which needed to be overcome.
PC Access were always upfront on the commercial side – giving clear estimates and delivering within budget.
Stephen Silver, Client Project Manager