Chamber Breakfast Event

Wake Up Westmoreland Breakfast

This past week we had the honor presenting at the Westmoreland County Chamber of Commerce monthly breakfast event.  The topic of the morning was the development and demonstration of the new ShopMP application built for the Mt. Pleasant Business District Authority.  It was a great experience to share with other business  people of the area the whole process of developing a custom phone application such as the ShopMP app, and all the decisions that get made in conjunction with the customer as you build toward a final product.

Some of the newer features were introduced to those in attendance including the integration of the phone platform’s navigation software that allows users to be taken or navigated to a business or event location.  Calendar integration was added to improve the experience for users when viewing events, allowing them to add an event to their phone’s calendar with a click of the button.  Push notification improvements now take users directly to the deal, business, or event rather than just opening the front page of the app providing a direct path from a push notification to the desired page within the app.

It’s exciting to be able to share these improvements and the ShopMP application in general with the business owners in the Westmoreland County Chamber of Commerce.  The ShopMP app is available both in the Apple App Store as well as the Google Play Store for download free of charge.

Challenges of Custom Application Development

We recently had a client ask us to build a custom application to run on their environment.  We love these types of jobs because of the challenges they present and the creativity they unleash when it comes to building the solution.  We have plenty of options to choose from when building a custom application in terms of technology.  In some cases we might simply utilize an existing SharePoint /  Office 365 package and build them a small SharePoint portal that utilizes Microsoft Flow to satisfy the requirements of the client.  In other cases we may build a custom .NET web application in .NET Core with a back end SQL database to really customize each aspect of the application for the client.

Challenges

There are some challenges we encounter when building a custom application for a client that, in this case, would like to host the application within their network.  In this case we opted for a .NET application with a back end database.  Typically if we are hosting the application or if the application is going to be hosted on Microsoft Azure, we have a SQL Server available.  This particular client did not have a SQL Server available, so we had to use an alternative to host the small amount of data that will be contained in the application.

The hosting environment can also play a part in what technology we employ.  This client did have a Windows 2012 Server available to host the application, which was something we could take advantage of for our .NET Core application.

Creativity

The creativity kicks in when designing and building the application, blending client side JavaScript and JQuery code to increase the usability of the application for the users.  Optionally we have developers who can build a similar custom application utilizing other front-end technologies like Angular or React to handle UI/UX challenges.  In some cases we’ve taken on a custom application that was previously written in PHP and needed only to make a few small changes to the application.  Custom Application development always has a few challenges with it, but with all the tools available to us and the expertise on our staff, we usually find a path to a success.