?> suREFIre 2.0 CRMS Geeked Out Development Update
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suREFIre 2.0 CRMS Geeked Out Development Update


suREFIre logoCRMS Geeked Out Development update          4/21    


We came, we released, we got great feedback, and as Mark said Monday, we went back to the drawing board.  While this is true, we didn’t really have to go all the way back to the “dragging our knuckles” stage of development and we actually have a lot of evolved and reusable code that fast tracks our User Interface transformation over the next few weeks.

To help keep you more informed and better able to understand our progress and/or delays as we furiously race towards 5/14, we wanted to share more of our internal development operations with you; partially to provide more transparency to our work, but mostly because Mark gets hernias and internal bleeding every time he tries to explain our development process (ha ha ha, just kidding Mark) 🙂 .

Seriously though, it makes  a lot more sense for development updates to be coming from me and I’m happy to oblige every 48-72 hours.  So, here is my first development update for the CRMS system since our early adopter release was jettisoned.

New Deadline:  5/14
Code Complete: 20%
Momentum:  Strong
Current Roadblocks: None
Confidence Level: 95%

What’s going well?

  • The User Interface (UI) – the UI transformation is going well.  We’ve torn apart our dense pages and gone with lots of little pages.  I’m almost completely done with the entire UI framework, next just comes putting all the code into the pages.


  • Back to basic controls – Most of the proprietary (and heavy) controls we were using are going to be ripped out in favor of lightweight vanilla asp.net controls.  This creates a little more work on our end to get the functionality we need, but the performance improvements are already noticeable.  The initial work the last few days was finding adequate asp.net replacement controls for all the proprietary ones we were using.  We have a solution for all but one, the email editor.


  • Back to basic layout/style – All image elements have been ripped out.  Now we’re just using cheap and free styles (like “background-color:blue;” to differentiate objects and layout, instead of loading images from web pages which increase load times.  Another area creating load time benefit that is already noticeable.


  • Code conversion – We’re slowly moving all code back from javascript/ajax to C# code behind files.  My long term plan is to use Javascript/Ajax “when appropriate” to help with page navigation, layout, etc.  I think we tried to overdo it on the client side to compensate for heavy controls on the server side and just bound ourselves to a sinking ship.  I still definitely think there is a place for Javascript/Ajax and I continue to look for ways to use it sparingly, but I’m generally staying away from it for now until we get data access right and it’s no longer necessary for me to support two different codebases (We currently run C#/ASP.NET code for the CRMS and we’re in the process of converting ColdFusion code that runs our backend operations).


  • Browser compatibility – Making all of the above changes has fixed a number of compatibility problems we were having between IE and Firefox.  I was more relieved than surprised by this, but it’s a win all the same.


  • Dev team is kicking on all gears – We recently brought on help to speed up and improve our development process.  We’ve taken a divide and conquer approach and everyone is busy on their tasks.  We’re still early on in this “complete overhaul in sixty seconds” project, but signs are favorable that things are moving smoothly and we’re going to be able to roll out code on time and on schedule.

What could be better?

This is my section for honest dialogue about what’s not going well with the project.  We’re only about three days in and everything seems pretty positive right now, so I don’t have anything to share at the moment that is concerning me.  My hope is that I won’t end up needing this section very much, but if I run into roadblocks or issues, you’ll hear about it here first.


April 21, 2010 by · Leave a Comment

About Sherwood

Sherwood joined Top of Mind Networks in November 2004 after working seven years at Microsoft; providing rare but powerful evidence that it is possible for an individual to emerge from the collective even after full assimilation has occurred. When he is not listening to ambient, electronica, dance music or reading a scifi/fantasy novel, he loves to transform great ideas into compelling products and services.

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