Efficens Software Ltd.
Open House Application
"Only Iron Speed Designer could help us build the application within one day."

- Gil Givati, CEO of Efficens Software

Open House

Efficens Software Ltd.
Rishon Le Zion, Israel

The Open House application was developed by Efficens Software, Ltd. in response to a real-life emergency. The city of Sderot is located in the south of Israel, a few kilometers away from the Gaza Strip. While it has not been in the headlines of the media, for the past several years during the Palestinian Intifada, Sderot has been hit by hundreds, perhaps even thousands, of rockets fired from the Gaza Strip. In May 2007, Sderot took so many rocket hits that it threatened to close the city down. Schools closed and people looked for shelter with family and friends who lived in safer places.

A group of citizens turned to information technology to find places to stay until it was safe to return to their homes. They chose Iron Speed Designer to build a .NET web application to match offers to host the Sderot population with the actual needs of the city's citizens. Due to the imminent danger of the situation, the application needed to be built in the shortest possible timeframe. The application was a public utility used by any citizen of Israel who wanted to be involved in the Sderot "safe home" mission.

The Open House application manages a repository of people offering to host Sderot citizens in their homes. The application also manages the requests for housing from Sderot citizens themselves. The application lets the user match pairs of host and guest, based on several criteria, such as number of family members, location, dates, etc.

A Sderot family who wants to be hosted immediately searches through the current host offers in order to find a suitable host family. When found, the user can interact with the host family by phone, Skype or e-mail.

If no matching offers are found, the Sderot user can add his family request to the system. As soon as a matching offer has been entered into the system, an alert is sent out to both families to notify them about the match.

For the hosting families, the scenario is similar. They search for Sderot families who might be compatible with their housing situation. If a family is not found, the offer is entered into the system. Again, once a match is entered, an alert is sent out to both families.

Application size and scope

One Microsoft SQL Server database comprises 10 tables, three database views, and 25 web pages. The largest table contains 1,000 records.

It's difficult to estimate a daily use of the application as usage varies greatly depending on the level of rockets fired into the city at any given time. Generally, we expect between 20-30 users per month. However, when hostilities escalate, the number of users escalates into the hundreds. The number of actual transactions can vary from 30 to 2,000 a month.

The project

The Open House application was developed in two days by a single developer. Approximately 95% of the application was built using only Iron Speed Designer and the Code Customization Wizard.

Code extensions and customizations

I spent three hours adding approximately 600 lines of custom code to this application. Some of the main customizations included:

authentication
Information validation
Automated email notifications
Format display

We did not need to incorporate any third-party components.

Page layout customizations

We used the standard White design theme in Iron Speed Designer and applied minor layout customizations to the main login page.

Iron Speed Designer impact

"When considering the technologies to be used in developing this application, we knew immediately that Iron Speed Designer was our only choice," said Gil Givati, CEO of Efficens Software Ltd. "Only Iron Speed Designer could help us build the application within one day, whereas other technologies or manual work would have taken at least two weeks. With Iron Speed Designer, we knew we could have a shorter testing period, since the application has already been tested. The tool makes excellent use of a good database design."

The timing of the Open House application was crucial. Delivering it in a period longer than a week would have resulted in it losing its relevance.

Next steps

We currently have no plans to extend the application. It is available to every citizen in Israel.

About the developer

Gil has been working with IT systems for the past 17 years from both the infrastructure side of applications and the development side of it. During these years he has served as a database systems team leader for one of the Israeli Defense Forces Software Units and Chief Technology Officer. Gil has also served as the Products Group Manager and CTO in a software house that is representing Sybase Inc., iAnywhere Solutions, Information Builders and other companies. As part of his job, he was required to take active part in systems design and deployment. For the past two years, Gil has managed Efficens Software while also taking active part in its projects and products activities.

Gil earned a BA in Business Management from Derby University in the United Kingdom.

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