Finance on-brand

I’ve worked for this client since January 2016.

The end-clients are large financial organisations, who don’t use the cloud, their browsers can be from IE9 upwards with internal Windows 2008 Servers onwards. Also, MS Office Add-ins continue to use the WinForms Web Browser Control (IE7). This is a major consideration for the development carried out.

The product allows for approved Word and PowerPoint components to be centralised on the web server. These components can be browsed, collated and downloaded as a single document (docx/pdf) or presentation(pptx). This core application has been expanded to allow tags within the components to be replaced by facts, figures, shapes, and dynamic data (tables and charts). In addition to using an internal website to do this, it is also possible to carry out the functionality via a Word or PowerPoint Add-in. The offering is multilingual and facilitates different user roles. Each end-client has bespoke aspects of the core product which is used in many countries by thousands of users.

The initial product consisted of large single files for the various technologies used. JavaScript is used to hide and show different parts of the HTML file, thus creating a single page application effect. Excluding the image files, the application had a single file for the html, one for JavaScript (jQuery), an ASP.NET Web Forms page mimicking an API and a single bespoke fixed layout CSS file. In addition, there is a separate smaller website built in the same way to handle the connections from a VBA Word and PowerPoint Add-in which connected to the same previously mentioned single Web Forms Page.

My initial task was to make a responsive version of the main product to be deployed by the end client. To do this I replaced all the CSS using Twitter Bootstrap to provide the based styles and created a custom responsive stylesheet particular to the client’s brand and fonts. This was done using SCSS.

Since this initial task, I was made responsible for all development related to the product, for all end-clients. Below is a list of changes I have carried out:

  • The .NET framework was updated from 3.5 to 4.52
  • Made all products responsive, including associated Word/PowerPoint Add-in websites
  • Functionality has been broken down into separate files
  • Introduced Web API controllers to replace single Web Forms page
  • Replaced hard coded SQL queries to use LINQ, via EDMX
  • Replaced bespoke code based on Open XML SDK to use Aspose
  • Replaced VBA Word and PowerPoint Add-ins with VSTO, Web Add-ins were not able to download and insert the components
  • Incorporate dynamic data in the form of tables and charts

In addition to the development, I also:

  • Maintain the demo Windows 2012 Server
  • Write up installation guidelines and deployment notes
  • Document end-client requirements with functional specifications
  • Attend on-site meetings with end-clients

In addition, for one of the end-clients I developed a VSTO Add-in to pull in images from their cloud DAM system provided by ImageRelay and incorporated LDAP to provide access restriction to components.