Challenge

A national biomedical diagnostic systems provider contacted us seeking assistance with taking their application into a more modern, sustainable and user-friendly framework. The application instructed the lab robots what to do via a series of sequential steps. It required the field technicians to have an understanding of HTML and Python, but these technicians were not developers. As a result, the implementation was difficult and generally resulted in a copy-and-paste methodology that was ineffective and cumbersome.

The client had a rapid delivery deadline, with only 4 weeks available between the kickoff meeting and the code review. For this reason, we opted to utilize Agile methodology, harnessing the benefits of regular planning, standup and demonstration meetings. 

Implementation Details

Architecting a Solution

We first developed an architecture diagram presenting technologies, workflows and outputs. The solution was reviewed with the client’s main stakeholders to verify the path forward, and consensus was reached.

Addressing Stability Concerns

One area of concern the client brought to us was in avoiding ‘flavor of the month’ technology. They needed stable, best-of-breed, established technology that would meet the needs of their end users, as well as be simpler to maintain. For this reason, we chose to build a simple Electron app with an HTML React front-end on an expandable platform for future work. The inputs would be captured, which would lead to the Python process being spawned with the JSON inputs as an argument.

Documentation

The client wanted to have a collaborative working relationship with us that allowed their development team to learn from our expertise in the field. To this end, regular code reviews and demonstrations of progress were held, and documentation was created and consistently updated. Not only did this guarantee that we were working toward the same end-goal as the client, but it also enabled us to improve the skills of the client’s development team. Final markdown documentation was provided so the client could add it to their Git repo.

Results

Throughout the 4-week development period, Six Feet Up worked with the client’s development team to ensure that we were delivering the best possible product to meet their needs. We assisted the client by identifying other areas of improvement and optimization. By engaging in regular meetings with the development team, we were able to break down the requirements and truly ensure same-page development. The client is now able to maintain the Electron app, and even stated that we were able to deliver a better product in less time than they would have. With a more stable application, our client was able to meet the needs of their end users and remove much of the burden of implementation for their field technicians.

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