A Visual Basic .NET windows application called the ‘Desktop Environment’ provides most of the solution’s features in a familiar Office style environment. Data entry and retrieval processes were designed with the end-user in mind. Very little communication with the server is needed for normal processing, which boosts scalability. However, more information about the user’s current activity is often just one click away.
The ‘Web Environment’ was developed with ASP .NET to extend a subset of functionality to the Internet. This zero-client* solution allows anyone with a compatible browser to run the same reports that are available in the Desktop Environment, check on the status of an Order, and several other functions.
The 'Compact Environment' was developed with the .NET Compact Framework to provide a subset of functionality to Pocket PC devices such as PDA units and cell phones. These can process events or lookup information real-time over a wireless network. The Signature Capture capabilities of this environment can increase the efficiency and accuracy of paper based authorization or proof of delivery processes.
The 'Mobile Environment' uses Mobile Controls to provide access to hundreds of devices, such as cell phones, PDAs, and mobile email devices.
A Windows service called the ‘WMS Agent’ carries out tasks that must take place unattended. This can email reports on a schedule, run archive processes, release orders at specified times, and more. Administration of the WMS Agent is performed within the Desktop Environment with easy to use settings.
SQL Server 2000 provides the database ‘back-end’. All database revisions are performed through Stored Procedures, which means the client can send a few text fields to the server to initiate a process that may run hundreds of commands and return a small amount of data to communicate the results. This method of database communication provides excellent scalability.
*Zero-client solutions often require no setup on the client system. Some features may require other software titles. For instance, one must have Adobe Acrobat Reader to view reports that were exported into that format.
Although not required, Crimson Software can provide database and web server hosting and administration, meaning that your systems only need the client software and a suitable Internet connection. This can cut deployment down to days, or even hours, and simplify on-going administration of the solution. The servers are housed in a world-class datacenter by Rackspace (www.Rackspace.com).
Rackspace guarantees 100% uptime and a 1 hour hardware replacement; this level of service is the best in the industry, and for the last 2 1/2 years, they have not failed to deliver.
Small: the solution can be deployed on a stand-alone system using SQL Server – Desktop Edition (free) and the Desktop Environment.
Medium: one server would house the database, Web and Mobile Environments, and WMS Agent. This would serve data to the clients, which would each have a one or more of the Environments (depending upon the functionality that is needed).
Large: a cluster of servers with load balancing would be employed to scale the solution to hundreds, even thousands of concurrent users. With SQL Server, a cluster of 32 servers can be used to run one or more databases.
Communicating with other systems is a focus of CrimsonWMS.net. The Integration License comes with all of the instructions and components necessary for another application to use Stored Procedures, Visual Basic function calls, or XML Web Services to manipulate and retrieve data much like the Desktop Environment.
In addition, CrimsonWMS.net has already been integrated with:
As a custom project, Crimson Software is also able to integrate with:
Crystal Reports provides the engine behind the reporting features of this solution. You are not required to use Crimson Software for reporting enhancements. Since the reports are not embedded in the application, you have the option of editing them yourself, or creating new ones.
To create a new report, you can use your own copy of Crystal Reports, and drop the file into the folder where the reports are stored. The report will automatically become part of the application.
Since reports are available through the Web Environment, customers can access the data themselves when they want it. Order status, inventory levels, and whatever else they might need to know can be made available to them real-time, all the time.
Online Help and Information
The solution comes complete with a context sensitive and searchable Help System, which is designed not only to introduce general use of the application, but also to provide detailed information about each feature. The intent is that someone would be able to read this documentation and learn how to use the software without extensive formal training.
In addition to this, the application can house your process documentation. This makes your specific processing instructions available to all users from one central location, which can simplify document control.