HOPS Customer Portal

HOPS had a  MS SQL database running on Microsoft Small Business Server. The database was out of support and despite a relatively simple application it was grossly over complicated with over 100 tables and over 400 stored procedures and functions.

The client needed a modern web application for their clients to place and manage orders. This would require the application being able to query and update the existing MS SQL database. Migrating the data was not possible because the database was being shared by two other applications. The option of developing the system in MS .NET was a possibility along with a PHP solution based on the freetds library to gain connectivity to the MS database. The PHP solution was eventually chosen based on cost and support factors.

By far the most difficult part of this project was deciphering the obscure database. Most of the data was not normalised, there was no standard table, procedure or column naming conventions and I had to be very careful not to disrupt the other applications using the database. More than once I resorted to tracing the TCP/IP network activity of one of the existing applications to try and establish which table and procedures were in use.

Despite the legacy database issues, initial releases of the client portal were commended and I gradually layered more and more features onto the application to the clients wishes.

The project was a success and gained positive feedback from many of the clients customers.