iTVX - Valuation Editor/Player Ver 4.0
The client requested the creation of a web-based set of tools to evaluate product placement in movies, tv, and websites. The solution had to provide a web-enabled interface for defining and editing product evaluation while also providing a play-back interface for clients. The system had to support previous versions of the product services while also incorporating new features.
The solution involved multiple phases to accomplish the client's request.
Phase 1 Functionality
The first challenge was to identify all of the functional requirements for the system. The previous version of the product was build by off-shore developers in Russia. Unfortunately the client's relationship with the development firm did not end in good terms. As a result we had no support or documentation about the previous efforts. We did however get a copy of the source code used to generate the previous version (which by the way didn't work). So I spent three weeks asking questions and identifying function points of the system. This was accomplished by evaluating a two version old working build of the system and gathering requirements from the client's contacts.
Phase 2 Business Rules
Next we needed to identify and quantify the client's proprietary business logic for evaluating product placement and advertising. This effort took in all over three months to identify and formulate the algorithms used to calculate the client's "valuation" figures. Over the next few months we identified more business rules and calculation quirks as builds of the system were developed and errors appeared.
Phase 3 System Design
In this phase of the project we needed to devise a architecture strategy that used a fat client and server-based components to manage calculations and the storage of analysis data. I documented a technical specification for both the flash-based editor and player as well as the server services required to meet the functionality requested. The design included a detailed business rules and functionality analysis for the editor and player as well as a detailed technical spec for the calculations and XML schemas for sending and receiving data between the flash client and the server applications.
Phase 4 Development
This phase involved three developers (myself included) to build the flash editor/players, web-services, and reporting services.
After months of research, design, development, and testing we built version 4.0 of the client's system. The build meet the client's requirements and led to more revisions and builds.
I found that the technical challenges of this project were excellent and challenging to solve. This aspect of the project I thoroughly enjoyed and had the opportunity to learn more object-oriented flash development techniques building the editor and player. Some aspects of the project were not as fruitful, such as trying to manage communication between different developers who don't live in the same time zone and there is also the added stress of a totally disorganized client.