Datacomm Cables Inc.
Custom Cable Configuration
"We estimate we saved $5,000 in development costs."

- Jason Moore of Light Speed Solutions

Custom Cable Configuration

Datacomm Cables Inc.
Hauppauge, NY USA

The Custom Cable Configuration application was created for Datacomm Cables Inc. to reduce the number of customer service calls and enable 24-hour ordering capabilities. Datacomm Cables Inc. is one of the largest custom cable suppliers in the United States. The application is used internationally by customers placing orders at website. Some internal staff members perform administrative tasks, such as updating price lists, product availability, shipping charges, etc.; however, the real user base are customers.

Prior to implementing this application, the company was only able to process complex quote requests by hand. Since there are many variances in price based on type of cable, length of cable, connectors, boots, etc., clients had to call customer service for assistance with a quote. Obviously, this was an inefficient and inconvenient method of creating quotes.

The Custom Cable Configuration application allows customers to enter their exact specifications on the website and get an accurate quote without interacting with customer service. The application not only streamlined the order process; it also opened up international ordering for Datacomm Cables. Custom cables can now be ordered around the clock rather than just during US East Coast business hours.

The application is part of the ordering process and allows a customer to enter a custom cable order. Each response from the user creates a custom prompt for the user's next input. The end result is that the application calculates the cost of creating the cables in the appropriate color, with connectors attached and shipped to the customer's location. The customer can compare various order profiles and then place an order for the desired product.

A customer looks at the product catalog if necessary. Most of the customers placing orders at already know exactly what they want to order and are just interested in getting an accurate quote. The customer starts out by selecting the cable type. Once the type is selected, a specific cable can be selected, along with different connectors installed at either end. A length is then selected, custom labels (if desired), as well as boots, color, and number of cables. When all the information is entered, the application calculates the price and the weight of each cable for shipping cost calculations. The customer can then revise the selections to get a different quote or elect to add the product to the shopping cart and place the order.

Application size and scope

The Custom Cable Configuration application utilizes one Microsoft SQL Server database, 10 database tables and five database views. Since the database has been normalized, the largest number of records in any table does not exceed 5,000, but the combination of tables can provide more than 1 million options in custom cables.

The application has approximately 21 web pages; however, 20 of them are part of the back-end and only one is visible to the public.

It is hard to estimate the number of application users; however, 1,000 custom cable configurations are processed each month.

The project

The project was completed and implemented in less than a week, by one developer using Iron Speed Designer.

Code extensions and customizations

We wrote approximately 100 lines of code customizations, which took one day.

The major customizations included:
  • Multiple dropdown fields that dynamically update each other

  • Filter dropdown list box content

  • Validating field value

  • Retrieve information from session variables

  • Save information in session variables
We used several third-party software development kits (SDKs) to incorporate the e-commerce portion of this project.

Page layout customizations

We created our own .NET themed page style in Iron Speed Designer.

Iron Speed Designer impact

The entire project was completed in record time — one week — by using Iron Speed Designer. We estimate we saved $5,000 in development costs. The project would have been feasible without Iron Speed Designer, but would have taken twice the amount of time, and the costs would have risen as a result.

Next steps

Datacomm Cables plans to extend the application by building more configurators for other custom solutions they sell. For example, they'd like to add an application for Custom Cabinet orders. Extending the application will require us to add more users and deploy to additional websites.

About the developer

Jason graduated from Nassau Community College with a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Information Systems. For the last ten years, Jason has developed applications with various programming languages such as Java, C++, VB, SQL, JavaScript, CSS, VB.NET, and C#.

Jason is so enthusiastic about Iron Speed Designer that he now refuses to create an application without it. He feels all application development is possible using Iron Speed Designer.

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