Preferred Testing and Compliance
Preferred Portal
"We estimate saving at least three months of development time and $30,000 in costs using Iron Speed Designer."

- Doug Cottrell, President of The Software Builders

Preferred Portal

Preferred Testing and Compliance
Austell, GA USA

The Preferred Portal application was developed by The Software Builders for Preferred Testing and Compliance, a one-stop source for Underground Storage Tank (UST) compliance needs.

Main operator dashboard. Displays status of different indicators that might need attention. Operator can click on one of the websites for additional information.

The Preferred Portal provides a management tool for Preferred Testing to track its customers, the equipment at their sites, the current status of the sites, and a history of testing. The Portal can also be used by owners and operators of the sites to view this information. They can also track their daily fuel inventories and total sales. The Portal does this by bringing together electronic information from several places (cash registers, automatic tank monitors, jobbers, etc.) into one single view, saving the owner/operator time and effort.

This application has two types of users. The employees of Preferred Testing and Compliance use the Portal on a daily basis to track their customers, add new sites, update inspection information, and help maintain compliance.

The other users are the owner / operators of the individual site. They can log in and see the status of their individual sites. They can see alarms indicating problems with their fuel systems that require immediate attention. They can also track daily sales information and different types of information, replacing paper logs at the site.

Application size and scope

The Preferred Portal is a new application, using one Microsoft SQL Server 2005 database. The database is comprised of 35 tables and two views. There are approximately 100 Web pages, but this is growing. The application is so new we have few users, but we anticipate growth in the future.

The project

The application was developed entirely with Iron Speed Designer and a small amount of custom coding. No third-party components were used. The Preferred Portal took one developer six months, working part-time — about the equivalent of three months of work.

Code extensions and customizations

The Portal includes several customizations, including:

Real-time data imports and exports to and from other systems that run in the background.
Photo database.
Document filing cabinet.
Complex, custom reports that couldn't be created in a reporting tool.
Unique user interfaces.
Ability to send emails.

The code customization took a third of my development time.

Site Inspection page. Summary of information tracked throughout the website. Includes business information, emergency contact information, POS configuration, and all the information about the underground storage fuel tanks, island dispensers, and each dispenser hose and nozzle.

Page layout customizations

We used the standard Everest design theme in Iron Speed Designer. This saved us a significant amount of time.

Site Inspection report. This document can be printed, making the annual site inspection quick and easy.

Iron Speed Designer impact

We estimate we saved at least three months of development time and $30,000 to $40,000 in costs by using Iron Speed Designer. The project would have been feasible without Iron Speed Designer, but it would have taken at least six calendar months. In addition, the initial quality of the product would not have been as good as what we achieved using Iron Speed Designer.

Further, maintenance of the application will be easier with Iron Speed Designer than had we developed the application without it.

Next steps

The plans to expand The Preferred Portal application include additional features to support existing customers, and new features to expand Preferred Testing's customer base. See

About the developer

Doug Cottrell is the president of The Software Builders. He has a B.S. in Computer Science from Purdue University, and more than 20 years experience in software development. See for more details.

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