Inova LightLink Ad Hoc Messaging with XML

On the Inova Engineering team, we test LightLink all the time as we add new features, update existing functionality, and fix bugs found in the field. This testing is usually focused and task-specific. New features usually address specific functionality that needs to be implemented in a simple and intuitive way. Often I realize that, with a little extra work and some ingenuity, LightLink *could* already do what is desired, just not exactly in a completely simple ‘turn-key’ way. But there is so much functionality packed in to LightLink that it really can do almost anything anyone can think of.

Take Ad Hoc messaging to LED wallboard displays and Marquee and Tasklink desktop clients in a call center. Right now these messages can be easily created and sent using LightLink’s Message Editor; although you would have to think about when to schedule their end time, or perhaps remember to delete them later using System Manager. But with a little pre-positioning of one or a few specially created messages I realized that a savvy user could implement a cool ad-hoc message ‘feature’ that would make it simple to ‘insert’ ad-hoc messages when you wanted, and ‘delete’ them later, all just by entering the message text into a text file and then deleting the text when you were through with the message.

Read on for detailed instructions on implementing this solution.

Pages: 1 2 3 4

Working software, quickly. Part one

Remember the days when enterprise software was shipped with 300-page hard-printed manuals? Or when costly upgrades and updates were as infrequent as Halley’s Comet sightings? Those days of software development have thankfully gone the way of the dodo – at least at Inova Solutions. Years ago, Inova, like many other technology organizations, jumped on the Agile software development bandwagon.

Agility has been one of the driving factors in Inova’s success over the past five years. The principles of Agile software development aren’t silver bullets, but a pragmatic and functional set of practices that have completely metamorphosed our organization into a successful one. Agile development is simply the way that humans create. The idea and direction of any creative effort is refined along the way through evaluating the results at hand. The Agile methodology simply acknowledges this reality and implements it procedurally. It’s a smart, collaborative approach to development that helps ensure quality software faster.

Here’s what our agility means for our customers:

  • Response to change –  Inova is tuned in to solving the most critical problems our customers and future customers share. That’s not to say that corporate goals and five-year-plans have no place at Inova. It’s just that we value innovative problem solving more than “sticking to plan.” Pervasive market problems almost always trump internal processes and plans. In this way, we have successfully gone to market with our Inova OnAlert™ LED displays for emergency notification.
  • Working software, quickly –  Any organization can develop software at a slow, methodical waterfall-based pace. Agile tells us to develop software features and updates at a rapid, yet bite-sized pace. Working software, delivered quickly means that some corners might be cut. For example, Inova LightLink™ manuals and supporting documentation are updated constantly, meaning customers may need to seek out the latest and greatest versions on our Inova Solutions support website, rather than turn to a handy 300-page printed manual.

Agility in our development team has touched all parts of the organization, from marketing collateral to customer upgrade paths. Stay tuned for part two of this series to learn how Inova has applied Agile to go-to-market plans, and successfully developed, marketed, and brought to market innovative software in as little as three weeks.

Posted in Programming. No Comments »