Northern Territory developer eNTITy1 has completed the first stage of a revamped Web site for the Australian Computer Society (ACS).
The developer was charged with the task of facilitating the Society's internal processes, the delivery of its services to members and the presentation of public information. The project involved the development of an intranet, a member's log-in area and a general public Web site.
"The whole driver for the project was to engineer their business processes on the Web site," said Graeme Sawyer, general manager of IT at eNTITy1. "They wanted the site to become a two-way conversation rather than another piece of brochureware."
Although eNTITy1 has developed several sophisticated sites for organisations such as Northern Territory Government agencies, Sawyer said the ACS project proved quite a challenge. The existing static site ACS had built up over the years included something in the order of 3000 documents, and there was no staff available who knew the location or purpose of every one of these documents. "It's a big lesson for all Web developers - over the years many different people can be involved in a Web site," he said. "In the case of the ACS, some developers were volunteers, others were special interest groups and what you are left with is a mass of unstructured data."
The ACS was keen on maintaining some form of access to this historical information, so eNTITy1 developed a knowledge-management solution to ensure the data was still searchable.
The new site was developed using a combination of an Oracle and a SQL database, with an Allaire (now Macromedia) ColdFusion Web application. Sawyer said there were a number of reasons eNTITy1 was chosen to develop the site, despite its geographic distance from the Sydney headquarters of ACS.
"My understanding is that they were impressed with our ColdFusion development ability," he said. "We use a methodology that gives us the ability to deliver on a project quickly and cheaply, as we have a significant base of reusable objects. This meant the pricepoints were right. We also showed an understanding of their business model."eNTITy1 is still hosting the site at present, but the ACS is involved in ongoing discussions about where the site should be permanently hosted, Sawyer suggesting it is likely to be hosted on-site in Sydney. There are now several more changes in the pipeline for eNTITy1 and the ACS.
"We have now completed the core of the Web functionality which the ACS addressed as a priority," said Sawyer. "They have also identified a number of issues they want to address to provide bigger and better services to their members. We have to ensure any future growth is not stilted by the Web site."