Project Management System Conversion

This client is engaged in the design, manufacture, and support of aerospace engines for both commercial and defense customers. A key requirement of being a US Department of Defense contractor is support for Earned Value Management (EVM) throughout all phases of a project. The internal system used at the client is based on the Artemis 9000/EX system, in additional to a series of complicated Excel macros stored in a shared folder.

The macros use Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) to connect to Oracle 11 to manipulate some of the data exported from Artemis. The macros were not documented and the shared file concept simply doesn't work for the large user base. In addition, the original developer/architect had little database knowledge and was not interested in providing the data in formats that users could easily consume. Most of the macros dumped out all the records of a particular type and the end users were forced to create their own macros to massage the data into the format they really needed.

Solution

Given the large, distributed nature of the workforce, as well as security requirements surrounding the shared drive space, a web application was a good solution to update these macros. Conversion of the macros took several forms, depending on the functions provided.

For the functions that were simply dumps of data, these functions were converted into web-based reports stored in a custom-built report generator, since no commercial reporting solution was available for purchase or use in the enterprise. As users were introduced to the report generator, they were able to see how new reports could be created to pull exactly the data they needed instead of making them rely on their own Excel skills to do the manipulation.

Macros that were used for data entry were converted into ASP.NET web form pages. Newer Javascript/MVC forms could not be used due to the enterprise's outdated browser (IE 9) as well as stringent security rules. These web forms were put into a structure that supported an Active Directory-based single sign-on system, along with a custom security system that supported both "derived" permissions and explicitly granted permissions. Derived permissions were based on whether a user was involved in a particular activity that could be easily queried against the database. Explicit permissions were assigned to roles, and users could be granted roles to access features of the application.

Tools and Technologies

  • Visual Studio 2013
  • ASP.NET
  • C#
  • Oracle 11g
  • Industry: Aerospace
  • Technologies: VS 2013, ASP.NET, C#, Oracle 11g
  • Date:Jul 2015 - present