Digital Legal Services
"We estimate that we saved four months of development time and $60,000 by using Iron Speed Designer."

- Jim Murphy, Owner and Chief Application Designer and Developer for River City Software Development LLC


Digital Legal Services
Houston, TX USA

Servant7 is a document warehouse for Digital Legal Services ( customers. Using the application, Digital Legal provides state of the art digital documentation management, electronic discovery and litigation support to law firms dealing with class action suits.

When a class action suit is filed against a company, it involves many depositions, pleadings and other court activities. Servant7 gives attorneys, court officials and subject matter experts a central place to access and store information about each case.

First, an attorney working on a new class action suit logs into Servant7 to create a new case. Then, he or she can upload corresponding documentation (in PDF format) and assign read-write privileges to other application users. They may also assign a relevancy rating to documents in order to prioritize important pieces of information.

Adding or editing a file allows the administrator to grant user security.

Court officials, subject matter experts and other attorneys may login to Servant7 to view the documentation they've been granted access to or to upload new documents. For example, court officials login to the application to add court scripts and translation documents for attorney review.

The My Profile page allows each user to change his name and password without administrative assistance.

Other important features in Servant7 include:

Version control — Often times, an Attorney needs to download, make changes and upload a new version of a document to Servant7. The system always displays the latest version of a document and maintains an audit trail of changes by user and version.

Security — Application users can only see cases to which they are granted access. Files are marked "read only" unless the user in question is given special permission to edit the document by its creator.

Audit Trail — The system audit log records major activities including: user login, user IP address, file upload/download, changes to user accounts and more.

Audit Trail tracks key activities throughout the system.

Application size and scope

Servant7 is a brand-new application. It is comprised of one Microsoft SQL Server 2005 database, 18 tables, five views and 102 web pages. The File table contains 100,000 rows and is the largest table in the application. We estimate it will grow to contain millions of rows in the future.

Several thousand Servant7 users process 10,000 transactions each month.

The User table displays users along with relevant information.

The project

I created and implemented Servant7 in nine days. The Iron Speed Designer portion of the project only took about seven days to build.

Code extensions and customizations

I wrote approximately 350 lines of code customization in a day and a half.

Major code customizations include:

Upload documents to the file system instead of a database.
Download files from a file system instead of a database.
Audit logging of key activities in the system.
Automatically add a row linking the current user with the file they just uploaded by inserting a new row to the intersection (many to many) table when a file is received and a row saved in the File table.

Clicking the document title will download the file.

Page layout customizations

I used the standard Mount Redmond page style in Iron Speed Designer. I applied several layout customizations including the option to add and edit a user. This functionality ensures each user is assigned to a focus group (such as a category) and has workflow and at least one role assigned. I also created a file ranking page that displays an edit table of read-only customer data. All read-only information is displayed with the exception of a drop-down menu of user rankings.

The File Metadata Vote page allows the user to rank many files at once.

Iron Speed Designer impact

I estimate that I saved four months of development time and $60,000 by using Iron Speed Designer to create the Servant7 application. The project would not have been feasible without the help of Iron Speed Designer.

Next steps

Digital Legal Services plans to extend Servant7. We are currently working together to compile a features list for Phase II. We will also be adding more users and deploying to additional sites in the future.

About the developer

Jim Murphy is a full-time private consultant and the owner of River City Software Development LLC. He is an expert in the Software Development Life Cycle using Object Oriented Analysis and Design (OOA/D) methods. Jim has more than 16 years of experience in the development of database-driven applications of all sizes for industries such as Health Care, Insurance, Banking/Lending, Real Estate, Oil & Gas, Manufacturing and Government. He is highly versatile, having worked on large multi-million dollar enterprise systems with Database Clusters and Web Farms to small weekend "get-me-out-of-trouble" projects.

Jim has built a strong reputation for rapid development without sacrifice. He is committed to quality and is a firm believer in thorough testing. Although Jim is highly technical, he has the ability speak "business" to business people, and "geek-speak" to technical staff, often playing the role of translator to facilitate effective communication between the two.

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