Position: Team Leader and Lead Developer in Alensa Online – Software Development department
I was part of Alensa team between January 2007 and August 2008. Only the opportunity to study Media Informatics Master, held by RWTH Aachen University, could gave me enough reasons to leave Alensa Online that I enjoyed so much for almost two years.
I was in charge with our brand new solution for an online Healthcare project – Alensa Online. The Alensa Online Shopping site (www.alensa.ro) consists of an internet healthcare platform in Europe that would simplify research and self education related to health issues, and provides the customers with an interface allowing them to easily get their health questions answered by professionals. It was first developed by a third party company, then I took over the responsibility of developing and maintaining the solution.
My responsibilities were quite complex because I was the first hired person, very similar with Softwise company. This reminded me about the joy and responsibility that comes with this. Another nice surprise was to find in person of Mr. Alex Savic, the CEO of the company, a friend with whom I shared both technical discussions and personal development ones, he was one the most supportive about my decision to study in RWTH Aachen.
Shortly, at Alensa Online I were in charge with:
- Architecting and developing the web based solution using Microsoft ASP.NET / C# and SQL 2005 Server technologies;
- Performing server administration, configuration and maintenance for the Windows 2003 server, for IIS 6 and for SQL 2005 database server;
- Executing architectural modifications in order to make the website user friendly;
- Identifying, designing and developing solutions;
- Periodically testing the site functionalities and thus creating a real test environment, test cases and bug fixes;
- Performing code review, corrections and code optimization;
- Analyzing hardware/software requirements and proposing hardware/software improvements and suggestions (for example, choosing an appropriate hosting partner);
- Implementing real time traffic analysis tool to help the management department;
- Conducting internal training for his colleagues.
Technologies that I used:
- C#, ASP.Net 1.1 and migrated to .Net 2.0 – Object Oriented design;
- SQL including SQL 2000 / SQL 2005, reporting system based on MS Reporting Services – also I did migration from SQL 2000 from to SQL 2005 environment;
- Complete end-to-end systems design experience;
- Web Services and Windows Services development and design;
- Visual SourceSafe, CVSNT, SVN – install and maintenance;
- Deploying SQL and code updates to remote servers (our web server is collocated and we manage the Windows 2003 Server / SQL 2005 Server Updates and Maintenance policies);
As Lead developer, the CEO trusted me with all the decisions in all software and hardware technology that were imposed by the architectural changes that we thought of. I’ve been asked to overview all aspects regarding our online presence: hosting company, maintenance and updating Windows 2003 Server including setup and configuration of IIS Web server and SQL 2005 Server.
I’ve setup also a testing environment, having several levels of testing, some of them on different machines. For that we used V-Model, by matching each stage of the product development to a testing stage. Thus, we had developer testing, requirement testing, pre-production testing and production-like environment testing. These could be accessed and tests done in order to prove that a development was done properly, before moving data to production environment.
In order to better understand the application and the database structure, I started by upgrading the solution from .Net 1.1 to .Net 2.0 framework. Then we had a number of feature implementation that were increasingly challenging, among them I could mention:
- the integration of the fiscal printers in our system, allowing automatically generation of fiscal receipts on order processing by our operator.
- ePayment online payment operator implementation, including graphic user interface for the ePayment final inputs;
- publishing the Alensa site on search engines;
- implementing Quality Assurance in testing and source versioning systems – CVS and SVN;
- launching the Serbian version of the Alensa health portal – Alensa.RS
Because the Development team started to grow, reaching a peak of 6 persons, I researched and tested some solutions for versioning and a bug tracking tools. Finally, I’ve installed and configured CVS(Concurrent Versions System) and, because we needed web access to our repository, we switch later to Subversion. For bug tracking I choose Gemini because it was very intuitive and the user experience was quite nice.
As the time passed by, we had numerous versions released, most of them targeting the improvement of User experience and overall usability of the website – lots of changes the the visual appearance of the website, adding cool features like flash carousel. Nevertheless, we searched for new ways to reduce the number of clicks necessary to perform some operations that were required frequently and we redesigned several times the way that customer places an order into our system.
When I went to Media Informatics Master, in the last month – September 2008, the website had the following performances:
- Unique visitors 9.526
- Views: 39.591
eHealth Innovators of 2008 – Alensa project, Zurich, Switzerland-based company and her Romanian branch was awarded with 6th place out of ten most prestigious companies (Alensa is another non-U.S. company, the other being RTX). See more here : http://marketintellnow.blogspot.com/2008/05/interview-with-alensa-ehealth-innovator.html