Mainchain is Mainfreight’s secure global supply chain portal for Mainfreight customers worldwide, providing end-to-end visibility of all aspects of the customer’s supply chain. Directly integrated with all systems in the company’s global network, customers get up to date global freight tracking and frequently used information – shippers, consignees, products, searches and reports – are saved and readily available.
While Mainchain was leading edge five years ago, technology has changed considerably, including web page design, how customers interact with technology and the huge uptake in mobile usage. In addition, the portal had to be re-engineered because there were issues that required intervention at least once or twice a week.
In order to build a solid platform where Mainfreight can begin to build intelligence, Pokein was used to allow the system to push data to the screen using long polling. As Pokein was not widely supported by web servers, Designertech rewrote part of the system that used Ajax, short polling – that does work with web servers – thus removing most of the processing without building a whole new platform. The system was built on a windows web portal, and still is, but is serving up a log of data using short polling systems. The pages of the application are manipulated and controlled on the client using java script. To achieve that, Designertech removed the bulk of the functionality that was provided, and built this in to jQuery, so everything is built on the client rather than the server. A graphic designer, who is also a programmer, was retained to redesign the site from the ground up to give it a fresh new look. In addition, aspect orientated programming (AOP) was introduced to handle exception and error logging at the backend.
“We had this relationship with Designertech for 20 years, but recently we stepped it up a whole other level in terms of the whole process overall, particularly about how we approached any development. We have a methodology that works really well for both Mainfreight and Designertech."
Nilesh Bhuthadia – Logistics and IT Support Project Manager, Mainfreight
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