Case Studies - Rubric

A Hybrid Web & Windows Client System For Distributed Project Tracking

Rubric custom software
Software Developers

1 developer, 1 manager, 4 man-months

Software Technologies

.NET 1.1 client, ASP.NET

Rubric required a system for distributed project tracking that would allow all its team members to participate in the process of event reporting and resolution.

Blueberry designed a system that distributed project reports to team members automatically via e-mail and web-based interfaces - and implemented it in just six months.

The Requirements

Blueberry was asked by Rubric to design and implement a distributed system to co-ordinate problem tracking by project teams whose members were dispersed over a wide area.

Software localisation is an increasingly complex process, involving the translation of English words and phrases that are frequently embedded in the code of the program. Mistakes are relatively easy to make, and a systematic approach is required for testing, reporting and resolving such mistakes.

Unfortunately, this process is complicated by the dispersed nature of the teams working on such projects. A typical team will comprise client representatives, testers and project management personnel at Rubric’s main office, as well as a number of off-site translators.

Because internal Rubric staff would be using the system continuously, it needed to be quick and responsive, but it also needed to be accessible to external users via the web-site - hence it required both a Windows PC client and a web client.

Our Solution

Blueberry designed a system with both e-mail and web-based interfaces, which was implemented very quickly.

Blueberry realised that the key problem was the speed of the translators’ communication links. Rubric uses a large number of freelance translators, and maintaining good relationships with these translators is very important. Many of them are working from home in different countries across Europe, often using slow modem connections. A system that required the translators to spend large periods of time on-line would almost certainly cause them serious problems.

Blueberry reviewed existing problem tracking solutions, and observed that the currently-popular, purely web-based systems would not work well for Rubric because of the translators’ slow connections. The solution was to design a system that distributed problem reports to team members automatically via e-mail. Using e-mail as a distribution channel had many benefits, not least that Rubric’s translators were already using it.

However, as clients and some translators sometimes need alternative access to the system, the final design also included a web site that continually reflected the current state of the system.

The Results

Blueberry successfully implemented its design just four months after initially being approached by the client. BugzNET has been deployed on Rubric’s servers and is now used for all Rubric’s projects.