Keep your coding skills sharp #DynamicsConsulting

By | August 22, 2017

Everyone is sharing uplifting stories these days. So, here is a story..

A client of mine had a custom case management web application which they were moving to Dynamics. That application was built on ColdFusion, it had no technical documentation,  and the one and only requirement for this project was, really, to replicate its functionality in Dynamics while maintaining all the data and data relationships.

That was a government client, so it had some strict policies.. one of those was dictating that their ColdFusion server would be decommissioned on a specific date, so we had to rollout Dynamics solution by that date.

As we were approaching that date, application users started to become more and more concerned. They had to deal with a new system, unfamiliar user interface, new ways of looking for data, etc. They were not shy of doing quite a lot of testing, but they were still not certain they had tested everything, so their main concern was: when the date comes and they are left with Dynamics only, how do they know all the data has been migrated and nothing is left out?

Indeed, how? Keeping in mind that ColdFusion application was almost a black box for us on the Dynamics side, it was not such a simple question.

By the way, at this point an experienced project manager might say “well, apparently you have missed some of the required steps.. discovery, scoping, business analysis, workshops..”, and I would agree to an extent, but it’s a different question all together. The reality was that the cut off date was approaching quickly, and our users were expressing signs of real anxiety since they were starting to feel a little bit like this guy below:

(That’s an image from appsftw.com)

We had to deal with that.

And so we did. After all, what is a ColdFusion application? It’s a web site. So, why not to download a snapshot of that site to a network folder, organize the files somehow, and give application users access to those files?

That site has some sensitive data? Not a problem.. We don’t have to use third-party tools since it will take weeks to get them approved – we can develop our own tool in a few days, and it’ll work just as well.  Of course that requires:

  • Development experience
  • Ability to solve coding problems quickly since you can’t afford turning this into another full-scale project
  • Some kind of development environment must be available so you don’t spend time setting it up
  • The outcome of that “mini project” has to be somehow embedded into Dynamics

 

What’s the end result? About 3 days of work, and we have a read-only snapshot of that original web site stored on the network with all the links to the old data incorporated directly into Dynamics screens. If anyone wants to see that old data the way they used to see it before, it’s readily available. Even if only as a readonly snapshot.

Happy 365-ing, and keep your coding skills sharp!

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