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Village Moves Offices   1 May 2011, by Johnny

Village have moved about 100 meters around the corner.

Our new home is the first floor of Saunders house. The team are pleased to be in the pleasant new office, which has been empty for a while now. We've found that delivery companies acknowledge that the building has a ground floor and a second floor, but occassionally are not prepared to admit that there might be a first floor -- A warning to software writers everywhere!

Application integration   4 December 2008, by Johnny

Enterprise systems represent large investments, and need to last a good decade to be worth the cost. So, at any one time, an enterprise has a mix of 'state of the art' systems... and systems that were 'state of the art' 15 years ago. We integrate these, and we do it using a broad range of tools.

Historically, systems have been integrated by file transfers or by direct access to databases. These are still the most common -- we have recently built systems that read flat file outputs from old systems or provide protected, secure database access to 3rd party systems.

Modern systems are often linked by offering interfaces to third party software. Often this is consuming a web service, for example, we have been integrating smart card payment systems in the transport industry. On other occasions, we've used proprietary interfaces such as RPC calls to SAP, or accessing the Sage SDO.

We recently took over and upgraded an EDI component... well! We were writing EDI systems in the 1990s when the Internet was still in short trousers. These technologies live on; it's not all apps.

Working on Enterprise systems takes a team with long experience, a big bag of tools, and a realisation that enterprise scale systems are not just large small-business systems.

Process Integration   4 December 2008, by Johnny

Some elements of enterprise systems are very small - sometimes deliberately so.

For example, we have produced a system for gathering details of printing production line processes at a minute-by-minute level. The in-built recording in the Technique MIS software, used in printing, overwrites a small status file every minute, with the latest data. Our system must copy these files (from about 30 production machines) within that minute, then extract the data into a database, and produce appropriate live production graphs for last 12 hours. The live graph can be displayed on the factory floor machines and even tablets.

Printing Press Infographic

The critical action is copying the file; it is gone in 60 seconds. Copying files is easy, but the tactics for keeping it going 24/7/365, and recovering from the various ups and downs of a corporate network, takes great software engineering thought.

86,400 tiny files per day are turned into a dynamic and useful intelligence graph. That's the power of connected systems.

Paylink 2009   14 April 2008, by Johnny

Village have released the 2008-09 versions of it's Paylink project. This is a joint project with partner This year has been notable for an enhanced release program with primary user Driver Hire. A further 3 years contract has been agreed with Driver Hire guaranteeing ongoing upgrades of this project.

LabCom 2.3   12 February 2008, by Johnny

LabCom version 2.3 is released. There are a large number of changes under the hood, including several speed enhancements. Additionally there are new facilities to enable managment of client sample sites and other value-added data.

Healthy Buildings run on LabCom   25 January 2008, by Johnny

Healthy Buildings International Ireland are the latest company to go live as LabCom users. Keeping clients' data and lab results online will speed up their communication with their Liverpool lab supplier, and allow clear reporting of results to their clients.

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