Not unlike hardware, custom-built software applications can age over time. Michael White with Entrance explains the variety of ways that a business can outgrow a software application, and how those aging applications can become more burdensome to maintain than to update or rewrite.
How Software Ages | Application Development Series | Entrance
Technical communication and business software applications
H-Text Digital was developed originally from our expertise in technical communication in this rapidly growing digital world and has progressed to a wider platform of services incorporating a range of business software application services.
One of the biggest problems we encounter is the difficulties people have generally keeping up with the rapid pace of change in digital communication, software applications and the effective integration of systems. Commercial organisations often face a real dilemma in not wanting to change from the systems and platforms they know are serving them well and knowing that if they don’t keep up with the latest communication and software applications they could find themselves being left behind and struggling to compete in their marketplace.
Our original core service
We started off specialising in using Wikis in the workplace for low-cost production systems and techniques for developing user participation and interaction through an array of innovative online applications.
We also work extensively in the use of hypertext for a range of technical communication techniques and concepts. Hypertext in its popular format is content displayed on any electronic device such as a flat screen monitor, CRT, touch screen TV, hand held device or specialised headset such as Google Glass or other video glasses used for displaying different types of media. This content is accessible by means of a hyperlink which allows you to access other files or pages by clicking on a link within the content you're reading.
It was Ted Nelson who originally created the word hypertext for non-sequential writing back in 1965. He also created the word Hypermedia which is not based on text based hyperlinks but on linked images, sound files, graphics and video. In a standard URL you have the HTTP://protocol. HTTP stands for hypertext transfer protocol and HTTPS stands for hypertext transfer protocol with secure sockets layer (SSL) which adds security and safety to online transactions.
Additional key services
Our services have naturally developed as we are asked by our customers to help with a wider scope of commercial requirements and this has led to an ever expanding range of business software application services. Business application software is very simply computer software that enables a computer to undertake a range of tasks that helps a business to function more efficiently and effectively. The application software is in contrast to the computers system software or operating system which manages the running of the actual computer processes.
Generic examples of application software include accounting software, customer contact software and popular office suites that include word processing and spread sheets.
There is an important distinction to be made at this stage between web based application software and the applications written for and residing on mainframe computers and PCs. There is a move towards web based applications where the application software and indeed the data and information is effectively based, stored and operated remotely. Even with the peace of mind of modern back-up techniques and high levels of security there is significant resistance from business operators in effectively handing control of their business data and operating processes to a third party. Site based applications therefore are still very much the norm and make up the majority of the work we do.
Whilst it is always easier and more cost effective to utilise standard industry software packages, and there are loads to choose from, many organisations require bespoke, custom written software to accommodate their own unique requirements. Or alternatively we will find ourselves adapting existing standard packages to meet particular requirements. Another major requirement we encounter is the integration of different systems which can be where the real challenges come from.
We recently undertook a project for a company which specialises in personal debt advice and corporate insolvency. This is a work in progress being scheduled over a planned timetable to coincide with the ongoing development of that organisation. They required extensive database work including secure storage and use of information, functional graphical display of ranges of associated information as well as having a range of hypertext requirements.
Their clients were people looking for debt advice and so the provision of information to them in a range of different formats was a key requirement. The majority of this was digitally driven and working over a range of platforms. When people are experiencing financial difficulties the information needs to be presented to them in a clear and concise way but it also must be understanding and sympathetic to their needs. A particular part of the project was to do with trust deeds which consisted of an online interactive resource that posed a range of questions, collated responses, analysed both financial and personal data and constructed a reply which had to be displayed in a particular graphical format. This information then had to be categorised and stored in a way that could be intelligently accessed at a later date.
What we’re about
We operate in the commercial arena but are also committed to sharing our knowledge for the general improvement of digital communication and all who use it. We hope our posts, articles, news and views will enlighten and inform and make a contribution that goes beyond commercial considerations.