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Project Archive

Software project archive for Hexner Limited

Excel reports from a web interfaced database 2014

Excel report from a web interfaced database


  • Generate weekly KPI reports from the database.
  • Reports need to be suitable for distributing as internal management information.
  • Customers report elements: layout/logos/graphs/summaries.
  • In the event of server failure, require the ability to run the reports from another server.
  • Verification of application logic prior to hand over.


  • Styled excel reports for ease of accommodating the customers’ requirements for data viewing and interpretation.
  • Email circulation of reports at the point of generation.
  • Provision of Windows Installer, for use in the event of server failure.

Technical choices

C# was chosen as the implementation language for the requirements. This language allows effective development of Business Line Applications, with a .NET Framework plethora of various packages available in public domain.

The data can be extracted from the database using standard C# libraries such as ORM system nHibernate or ADO.NET. Due to extensive application logic in this case, datasets populated using ADO.NET, and were further processed before submitting into an Excel template engine for final rendering.

Flexcel from TMS Software was used to design and populate the Excel spreadsheet reports. This package accommodates complex report layout fulfilling all styling requirements in the design time.

Distribution of the reports was resolved using standard Win32 e-mail API. The program provided tools for configuring e-mail distribution list using GUI interface.

The organization put high emphasis on the software having the facility to be deployed using a Windows Installer. The deployment package was created in MSI Format using WIX tools, and contained an installation of Windows Task, facilitating unattended setup and run on the server.

TDD methods were used to develop the programme. Testing was end to end on a set of data which facilitated verifying the application logic.

Printing solutions using headless browser in Web Application 2013
Headless browser printing

Delivering printable documents can be a challenging problem for web applications. Especially applications using interactive graphics where the user can zoom, scroll and pan. The application needed to handle these events and capture various imaging formats.

Technical choices

  • PhantomJS, CasperJS – headless browser technology
  • MVC engine internals for creating scripting command file
  • ASP.NET MVC integration

Search & Display solution for International Biotech company 2012

Software was developed for a novel application in Systems Biology to execute ‘search and display’ in metabolic pathways. The application facilitates the execution of faceted search. In practice a metabolic pathway diagram is displayed with active ‘hotspot’ areas allowing further data drill down in to the metabolic data. The work the team did was honored as “Best Poster “ at an Internal Scientific Computing Conference in 2012.

International biotech company

This was to show the benefit of scientific curation, using preferred terms and standardized ontologies. The product shows the relationships between Genes / Protein and Pathways linked to reagents, scientific assays, and measured results to answer scientific questions.

Technical choices

  • Approximately 10 different jQuery packages from public domain
  • Elements of TDD used for critical code fragments
  • In-house object cache written in Java for fast data access
  • Spotfire Web Browser for display
  • Elements of Javascript to embed Spotfire browser into the application
  • ASP.NET MVC 3, jQuery, C# and Oracle 11 g with ODP.NET
  • IKVM.NET to connect to Java based middleware.

Duration of the project 8 months. Sole developer for the project working hand in hand with domain experts.


Accounting systems for Corporate market 2011

Accounting systems categorization

Developed a software application, “Account Categorization and Assignment” business logic, and an associated user interface for a new generation of accounting products.


The core of this work was resolving bugs and implementing new features using C#, WinForms, SQL Server and tools such as Perforce and TFS. There was a core application team of 20 collaborating with other developers using Agile methods. Development included all aspects of application design, implementation and troubleshooting.

Membership & Subscription application for National Financial Services Provider 2010

Membership analysis
Membership records and subscription collection software application upgrade. The main business issues solved were efficiencies in generating reports for invoicing and tracking changes in subscriptions. The company accountant required the reports for computing monthly revenues and transferring funds to company clients. Automating routine, and time consuming, work activities resulted in faster and more accurate reports. Thus freeing employees to spend time with clients, and improved reports for the accountant.


An SQL Server Database, running an off the shelf software application, managed customer details and subscription invoicing. Processing times and tracking had become problematic. A major part of the solution was to create a new suite of reports to be used throughout the business either for internal reporting, checking data inputs or communicating revenue figures to company clients. We also suggested various improvements in the software features in order to facilitate work flow. Deployment included a snagging period, assisting users to learn new features. Technical means: Crystal Reports, SQL Server Studio, New business logic.

Software Engineering in 3D for oil and gas rigs

Oil rig assembly software. The clients needed to be confident of investing in an application using 3D technology for this project. We were pleased to achieve the following :
Oil rig completion assembly software

  • Boosting the confidence of the investors in new technology
  • Justification of the expenditure associated with licensing
  • Help in procurement process
  • Implementing best practices and managing key structuring
  • Provision of expertise on software optimisation and profiling
  • 3D modeling of : well trajectory, functional parts and mechanical assembly
  • Help in production debugging using: ReSharper, dotTrace, WinDBG, SOS and SOSEX
  • Create software components and help with several releases of the Product
  • Generation an initial version of the Product for demonstration at trade shows


The project required an enhancement of the existing software to design and manage well completion projects for the oil and gas industry. The Product was expected to maintain interoperability with major CAD drawing formats in order to import models of well completion parts and display them as a photo realistic 3D view. Unable to progress with existing company technology Hexner Limited was hired in order to perform a technical assessment, evaluate the options, and present the need for further technological investment. This included a review of their software development process to introduce Agile methods. Hexner formulated an agenda for the assignment based on the issues critical for Product success. Replacement of dated display technology was key – TechSoft 3D in San Francisco and their subscription based model HOOPS library was identified as appropriate technology. In two months Hexner’s role was to evaluate suitability and technically assess HOOPS for product development. Working with Tech Soft the study prepared 3 spatial models of the most frequently used parts of well assembly. Confidence of both the development team and investors was boosted to proceed to project completion. Technological platform for the Product was further enhanced with the use of:

  • Syncfusion – package for user interface design
  • StrataFrame – package for object relational mapping of databases
  • Rally – web system for management of software development activities.


Biotech database development
Biotech database development

Two specific projects in this period. One developing an in-house LIMS application combining technologies from chemistry, robotics and software development for a high throughput laboratory environment. The process of data capture was required to flow through design and development chemistry, compound library functionality, analysis, storage and shipping. The other project was combining techniques in genetics, robotics and software engineering to understand roots of common human diseases. Part of this project included the co-development of a tool called ‘Set Definition Language’, for mining hierarchically organized data, capturing genotype and phenotype information.


Hotel software

A large building with the inscription hotel (done in 3d)
Hotel Management Software – Innovative Windows application for hospitality industry. This was a Greenfield project in a startup company. The software was required to handle Front office, Back Office and Food and Beverage tracking. At this point in time there was little market choice in this area and a real need for choice in intelligent data handling in this sector. As project manager successful pilot installations were completed at numerous top hotels.