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David Clover

 

    Office Schedule tool in XPages written in two days

    David Clover  12 September 2013 10:10:38
     A neighbouring department had an urgent need for a utility to meet a work planning need. The office supports a wide range of activities across the organisation. To date, the office had been using a shared MS Excel spreadsheet to manage work scheduling, and this approach had been used for several years despite a number of disadvantages – only one person could use the spreadsheet at a time, records could be accidentally over-written or deleted with no audit trail and the amount of data that could be displayed was limited. Excel is not a suitable tool for a task of this complexity. The schedule also employed a complex system of colour coding to indicate priority, status and due date, and these colours all needed to be applied by hand where relevant: a time-consuming manual task.  Despite these limitations, this Excel schedule was the main record of ongoing, upcoming and completed work for the whole survey office  team and as a result was integral to the office’s smooth running.

    While moving to a web-based tool for managing their scheduling has been a desirable idea for some time, it became a higher priority following an incident where the office found that a record had been accidentally deleted, causing inconvenience to a client who was expecting some results and considerable disruption to the office as work had to be hastily re-arranged to prioritise work that had been missed.

    So an IBM Domino web-based tool was created by a member of our MCT IT-Development Group running under XPages, and because of the urgency, it was developed in two days of intensive programming and analysis.

    The main benefits of the new approach are:
    • Everyone can use the schedule at the same time;
    • It’s impossible to delete a record by accident;
    • ‘Info’ entries (the purple bars across the whole sheet) will automatically disappear once their date has passed;
    • The client group will be able to record more details about jobs than are currently possible – a notes field has been added which can hold an unlimited amount of text;
    • Each member of the client group has a personal view so each person can see just those jobs that are relevant to him or her;
    • People outside the survey office, including managers, can be given access to use the link to see jobs in progress without needing access to server folder shared area;
    • The green/blue shading for this/next week’s jobs will be applied automatically over time rather than needing manual updating;
    • Jobs will automatically move to the ‘finished’ tab when they have been completed.
    The client department is thrilled with the new environment and it represents another significant achievement for the rapid development potential and flexibility of our Domino 9 XPages rapid development environment.

    Here's a screen shot of what the user sees:
    Image:Office Schedule tool in XPages written in two days

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