Development of a web service to access an existing database

Challenge

This project aimed at connecting a customer’s database, storing patient, measurement, and system data to other programs via a web service. While an already existing software accessed this database through a native abstraction layer, the web service should enable its users to install the database on every workstation (stand-alone operation) and to use a central database (client-server operation).

A comprehensive, automated system and integration test environment should ensure the quality of the developed web service and a stable API for its users.

Additionally, the project served as a pilot project for agile development with Continuous Integration and new technology based on .NET. Since the team members also continued developing the existing software in parallel, they incrementally replaced access to single tables of the database with web service accesses in the current abstraction layer.

 

Duration/Volume of the project

5+ years

2-5 software engineers

2 employees of the customer

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Solution

Together with the customer's employees, Method Park's software engineers formed a Scrum team. In code reviews, the team members revised the developed code, while partially generating system tests automatically. This agile approach allowed the developers of the existing abstraction layer to integrate and test the current state of the implementation at any time. As this was the first software project in which the customer applied agile methods, Gerrit and Jenkins created a new Continuous Integration infrastructure for code reviews and an automated build and test pipeline. The seamless integration of new versions into the existing software posed a challenge, but extensive system tests ensured smooth running of the project.

 

Solution

Application of Scrum

Automated unit, integration and system tests

Incremental integration into existing software

Use of code generators and design patterns to avoid code duplication

Benefit

Thanks to their close cooperation, Method Park engineers and the customer's employees were able to incrementally replace the direct access to an existing, complex database with a web service. Method Park built up the customer’s know-how in agile software development as well as in new technologies such as .NET and web services. 

When the entire database was accessible via the new web service, Method Park also took over software maintenance and the development of new tools in the web service environment, supported by the customer's employees.

 

Benefit

Establishment of agile software development according to Scrum

High software quality through automated tests

Incremental integration of the new web service into existing software

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