10 December 2017

DevExpress Case Study: Roman Shelomanov from DevPark

Company Information

DevPark is a Russian company, specializing in development, deployment and maintenance of software products for plant automation systems in various fields.

In our work, our primary focus is always our customers. We also leverage our great technological expertise, knowledge of the world's leading technologies and products and understanding the specific business processes of domestic enterprises to create and deliver high quality and modern software to the market. Of course, we could not have achieved this without our people. All key DevPark employees have many years of experience in the IT industry and are highly qualified professionals in this field.

All DevPark services are aimed primarily at finding effective solutions for various problems arising for the enterprise, to enable our customers to successfully and efficiently reach their business goals.

We offer our customers the following services:

  • Development and implementation of various systems based on WEB technology and a 3-tier architecture (application server, database server, a client workstation) and their subsequent launch;
  • Integration with different information and hardware-software systems (e.g. 1C, bank-client, etc.);
  • Deployment and configuration of leading domestic and foreign software products, based on the needs of individual customers.

Paid Access Control Systems

One of the software products we have been successfully developing and selling for the last few years at DevPark is called “Paid Access Control Systems”. Access Control is an accounting system for cash sale and access control for various services. Typical venues include recreation centers, fitness clubs, spas, saunas and other locations where you want not only to sell access to the service, but to provide automatic control for the service to prevent any abuse by the staff.

The Access Control system provides the following capabilities:

  • Commodity and financial accounting system
  • Access control and automatic control system
  • Cash system
  • Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system
  • Work time tracking system

It also integrates with the following equipment:

  • Cash, check printers
  • Bar Code Readers
  • Card reader access
  • Turnstiles, barriers, doors

The Access Control software system consists of an administrative module, built utilizing the DevExpress eXpressApp Framework (XAF) technology, and client (cashier) sections, built using DevExpress WPF Controls. Have a look at the following screenshots for more information:

From the architectural POV, the "Access Control" system consists of the following components:

  • Business model. Describes the storage structure and logic of object interaction used to automate: clients, tickets, receipts, invoices, transactions, deposits, discounts, privileges and other domain objects that are formalized in the model.
  • Database server. MS SQL Server 2008 R2. Stores all data in the system and protects them from unauthorized access.
  • Management server. Manages access control: turnstiles, doors, gates. It currently supports ACS Legos-RS485 controllers, access control and Sphinx-IP controllers. Performs integration tasks and calculations.
  • Cash and commercial equipment control module.
  • Customizable user interface module.
  • POS module. Designed for sale ofl goods and services. Intendede for high bandwidth point of sale, barcode reader support, magnetic card readers, cash registers and touch screens.
  • Report designer and printing forms module.
  • Security permissions editor module.
  • Replicator. Server data exchange and synchronization for network objects.

"Access Control" also ships with numerous modules:

  • Customer base
  • Subscription
  • Warehouse
  • Cashier's office
  • Reservations and schedule
  • Discounting
  • Client deposit
  • Visits tracking
  • Staff card
  • Work time
  • Staff key performance indicators (KPI)
  • Access control
  • Power control
  • Biometric
  • SMS Newsletter
  • Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
  • Reports and statistics

Accelerated Development of LOB Applications

Our experience in XAF development starts in 2007. We were looking for software solutions that would allow us to accelerate the development of LOB applications for data entry and editing based on the automatically generated GUI. The benchmark for us was the designer provided by 1C (a popular business automation software in Russia). We also desired our future application to be highly customizable by end-users, without having to recompile and redeploy the program, to accelerate the deployment process. Eventually, we have found all these features in DevExpress eXpressApp Framework (XAF).

Quality, Speed, and Cost

For us, XAF-is the ability to conduct high quality, rapid and thus inexpensive development of modern, good-looking business applications.

High Quality - DevExpress is considered to be the gold standard in the development of graphical user interfaces. Using XAF is like hiring a team of professional developers, analysts and graphical designers to design our program. It also gives us testers for free, because XAF ships with a built-in functional testing framework - Easy Test that helps us to automatically check the quality of the programs we created.

Rapid - most of the time with XAF is devoted to programming business processes. The UI is automatically generated by XAF. Also, XAF adds multiple service options, without which it would not look as professional. The default XAF UI is also very customizable and we can easily extend it with even more options, based on our specific business needs.

Inexpensive - XAF helps us save a lot of time on the development and deployment of the program. We highlighted the main aspects of development acceleration above. Deployment acceleration is possible due to the highly customizable nature of XAF, as it provides us with a lot of features to configure end applications based on the needs of an individual client at runtime. Setting up entry forms, appearance rules, data validation, built-in access control, built-in report designer, etc. - all this is available to my clients at runtime to make the program comfortable without involving the developer.

We want to note that the DevExpress Support Team promptly resolves all the emerging issues I sometimes encounter during the development process. The dedication and courtesy of their support is second to none.

Roman Shelomanov