Deploys Sonic SOA toolset to speed business apps
Alphameric Solutions, a company that supplies displays and electronic point-of-sale systems to bookmaker and betting office chains throughout the UK, has become a latest proponent of service-oriented architecture as a means of speeding application development processes.
The company has deployed Progress Software’s Sonic SOA toolset and layered an enterprise service bus around its legacy programmes in a way which promises to ease the complexity of applications enhancement.
Alphameric’s business involves taking in real-time better feeds as XML, processing them and then broadcasting them by satellite to hundreds of betting shops simultaneously.
Speed and reliability of its systems is key and with the Sonic ESB technology, the addition of new data feeds can be automated.
Tim Lloyd-Davies from Alphameric explained, “Traditionally, we wrote software using C++ components ourselves and development was intensive and could take two to three months to do a translator data feed. We needed to find ways to speed up the process, and ESB and SOA looked like a good fit. Now using XML transforms and Progress we can roll out new applications in a matter of two or three weeks.”
The business provisions data feed services to over 8,700 betting shops and the product will be used to reduce time, cost and manual errors in entering early horse-price feed data into multiple independent bookmakers’ systems.
Lloyd-Davies said an unexpected benefit of moving to SOA is that has enabled the work load to be better spread across his 50 strong development team. “It’s opened up development to the more generalist developer who understands XML schemas and transforms. Productivity has improved as a result.”
He said that an added benefit is the opportunity it lends to the use of more agile software development methods, such as using Scrum instead of the more traditional waterfall approach.
“Use of the Progress tools allows us to think using a much more business process approach; the business analysts can participate with developers and QA testers, which speeds development and will drive better outcomes,” he said.
Alphameric will initially be rolling the Sonic ESB technology out within its bureau service, the outsourced information service for independent bookmakers. Then it will be looking to offer new systems to the larger chains as part of their central display and EPOS systems.