Warehouse Management via Web Services Interface
We were asked to update a Warehouse Management System for a New England application service provider.
We originally built their data collection system with Intermec's EZ Builder program generator that used custom C routines, and Switchboard. The existing database system was an Oracle Workgroup Server with a PC client program written in Oracle Forms that our customer developed in-house.
The new system was developed around Clarify from Clear Logistics.
Our customer had developed a Web Services interface into Clarify to support some of their newly written in-house programs. We suggested that we utilize these existing Web Services and build their data collection system around these services.
We chose the Intermec CK31 Family Series of hand held computers equipped with 802.11 b/g radios, along with an Intermec RF backbone. We wrote this new program in VB.NET, using the compact framework.
Our customer's web methods were incorporated into the VB program, and provided us with all of the I/O into Clarify.
The main menu shows the functions available to the users:
How it works
The VB program is a consumer/client interface to an ASP.net Web Service. Our customer exposed their business logic by writing classes around the Clear Logistics/Clarify API's, and then calling those classes from a set of web methods. All collected data is validated by the Web Methods, and exceptions are generated and returned to the client when validation fails.
The shipping screen, for example:
Our customer also uses the CK31s to do physical inventories at customer locations. They still use Switchboard on a laptop for this transaction, since the can't always guarantee connectivity to their server from customer locations.
This system has been in operation for over a year. Although our customer was very familiar with VB.NET, they asked us to write this program for them.
After delivery, their programming staff told us that we had done a better job writing their code than they could have done themselves; they applauded us on our design creativity.