TriSys Everywhere - The Economic Argument

I recently ran a poll on LinkedIn in which I asked all recruiters I know, including all TriSys customers, to choose how they prefer to access TriSys. The results are very interesting:

This poll proves that the TriSys windows desktop application delivered on a PC or via a secure remote desktop is favoured by 85% of TriSys customers.

These results however do not tell the full story.

Firstly, like all LinkedIn or social network polls, response is usually measured in dozens, rather than thousands which would be a much more representative sample size.

Secondly, we have not over-promoted our mobile or browser offerings to our customer base, rather we have relied on standard non-pushy sales and marketing techniques which our customers tend to prefer.

Finally, tablets are coming, together with a lot more smart phones. The latest research by IDC shows the following: 

Upon first glance it appears that smartphones are taking over the world, but it actually shows that PC and tablet sales are increasing over the next 4 years. Of course it also correctly predicts that most people on the planet will own a smart phone very soon.

The second chart shows this forecast from a different perspective: 


In this view, we see that it is laptop PC's in emerging markets which enjoy the greatest growth.

What does this mean for 'TriSys Everywhere'?

This latest research points the way to a more mobile, and global recruitment industry, whilst retaining the traditional PC and laptop, but augmenting this with many more mobile devices. TriSys will therefore continue to invest in R&D to supply recruiters with powerful, yet very accessible recruitment systems. By everywhere, we simply mean on every device in any location in the world.

Get ready for the future. Thanks for reading.


TriSys Product Portfolio/Roadmap 2012

I often get asked what our roadmap is for the coming twelve months, and the anwser is that it is pretty exciting. Unfortunately, the recruitment software market is ultra-competitive so I am limited in what I can divulge at this time.

What I can say is that we have accelerated the rate of adoption of the latest technology in the IT industry and are very much leading edge, if not bleeding edge on a couple of R&D projects.

To remind readers of our current shipping product/service portfolio, here is the list:

  • TriSys Version 10 Starter Edition

This is the latest addition to our portfolio and is a very comprehensive 'smart client' software which installs on any windows PC and connects to the cloud for all data/services. We have loads of videos, our own YouTube channel and you can also download the trial version today.

We will be releasing TriSys v10 Professional and Enterprise versions this year.

  • TriSys Version 8

This is our enterprise class recruitment product for agencies, comprising front, mid and back office business functionality to manage the entire recruitment business. TriSys is a feature-rich recruitment software database application which provides state-of-the art Customer Relationship Management (CRM) to recruitment professionals. TriSys delivers advanced searching, reporting, ease of use and sophisticated workflow to aid the orchestration of an efficient recruitment business. TriSys can be delivered either on-premise or on-demand.

  • TriSys ASP

TriSys ASP (Application Service Provider) is a fully functional 'TriSys Recruitment Desktop' centrally managed and securely delivered directly to your computer (or hotel, airport etc..) using a standard broadband internet connection. Please click here to view our global network hosted by our tier #1 partners: Amazon, Google and Microsoft.

  • TriSys Web

TriSys Web is a web browser interface to the TriSys recruitment database. It allows candidates to register, build and upload CV's, search for vacancies, apply for jobs on-line, maintain account details and enter timesheet details. Clients can add/maintain vacancies, search for candidates, maintain account details and authorise timesheets. Consultants can access the system to manage the entire recruitment process, even from mobile devices such as phones and tablets.

We will be releasing a new all-singing, all-dancing TriSys Web this year.

  • TriSys Mobile

Remote access to corporate information has become a necessity as workers become increasingly mobile. Candidates and clients now expect to be able to interact with recruitment consultants at any time and from any location. It is now a key business requirement for recruiters to be able to access all types of information whilst on the move. TriSys Mobile is the solution to this problem, and provides recruiters with a comprehensive suite of products and services to facilitate 'recruitment on the move'.

We will be releasing a new all-singing, all-dancing TriSys Mobile this year.

  • Project X

Rather unimaginatively titled (and nothing to do with what's on at the cinema today) internal code name for our top secret R&D project which will simply blow the minds of both customers, prospects and competitors. Developed in association with our offshore partners in Jordan, Belarus, Pakistan, Argentina and India, this revolutionary new product/service will provide something completely diferent to the global recruitment industry. We can't wait either! More later.

The History of Enterprise Software

Software Advice, an online reviewer of ERP software, has published a four-part series on the history of enterprise software. In the series, Lara Zuehlke, Managing Editor at Software Advice, investigates how computing hardware and software evolved from punched cards all the way to the Internet and social applications.

Here’s a link to each of the four parts, with a quick summary of the history each covers.

Part 1: Origins of Modern Computing

The back story on enterprise software can be traced all the way to the 1700s with punched cards, but computing really got its legs at end of the 19th century when Herman Hollierth founded the company that would eventually become International Business Machines (IBM). From there, mainframes and supercomputers dominated throughout the early to mid 1900s. Further advances led to the birth of new stages in computing: the minicomputer, and the early stages of enterprise software.

Part 2: Minicomputers to the PC

Advances in circuits, processors and memory allowed computers to shrink from room-sized machines to computers that could fit onto any office desk. While computers became less expensive, they were still too expensive for many personal and business users outside of large enterprises. This changed as minicomputers and personal computers put computing and software into many homes and businesses.

Part 3: Windows to the Web

Great advances in operating systems – including the graphical user interface (GUI) – allowed for the emergence of the first class of enterprise software applications. Software development was now in full force, and solutions now known as manufacturing resource planning (MRP), enterprise resource planning (ERP), customer relationship management (CRM), and human resources (HR) began deploying in most businesses. The next great development would redefine computing as we knew it, and change how we live today – the Internet.

Part 4: Dotcom to Today

Thanks to Y2K and the Dotcom Era, IT saw unprecedented growth in the mid-to-late 1990s. Fears of the year 2000 caused many businesses to upgrade their software systems, while the Internet led to a enormous number of new business ventures – many of which would fail after the Dotcom bubble burst. Market consolidation within the industry signaled the end of an era, and the beginning of a new one: the Software as a Service (SaaS) Era. These applications spurred the licensing model and were available on-demand via subscription pricing. Cloud applications, tablet computers and mobile technology are some of the trends leading us right up to the present.

Exciting Times for Technologists

'May you live in interesting times', or so legend has it, is supposedly an ancient chinese curse. Well, we in the software industry certainly live in interesting times. I believe though that we are not cursed, rather blessed. The opportunities for technologists have never been greater. Yes, we have a global recession, and yes, spending in some sectors (including recruitment) is down, but this is balanced by the growth and excitement surrounding new technology. 

So what is on the horizon?

On the mobile front, Google have just relased Android 4 - or Ice Cream Sandwich. This is available on the new Samsung Galaxy Nexus - I have one and it certainly gives the iPhone a very decent run for its money. Having now used iPhone, Windows Phone 7 and Android, I'd give Apple and Google 9 out of 10 and Microsoft 8 out of 10. As for Blackberry/RIM, I couldn't possibly comment.

On the tablet front, many players are starting to ship Android tablets, including of course Amazon who have launched the Kindle Fire tablet in the USA. Apple will announce the iPad 3 on Wed 07 March 2012. I have an iPad version 1, and it certainly has found a place in my household, although it is not a serious business tool for content creation, but excellent for content consumption and research, although of course it doesn't support Flash so a lot of web movies and clips are not available. Rumours of Office for iPad are also surfacing although Microsoft is strenuously denying press reports.

On desktops, Microsoft Windows 8 is due in beta next week. We have had the technology preview for a number of months now and the new Metro interface borrowed from Windows Phone 7 is as user friendly as iOS, with a dual-mode of metro/desktop.

Microsoft is also releasing Visual Studio 11 or VS 2012 in the next few months and this promises to have a lot more tools to publish apps to Azure, Windows Phone 7 and Windows 8.

The TriSys roadmap takes all of these developments into consideration, and you can expect to see some really cool and exciting announcements from us in the coming months, so please stay tuned.

ASP.Net Woes

So, R&D is involved in deep web browser development utilising our old favourite ASP.Net which we first used to develop TriSys Web over 13 years ago.

Not a great deal has changed with ASP.Net in that time. We have a new complexity layer called MVC (model, view, controller) for people who need a bigger learning curve to knock up a simple web form, and for people who like wrestling with frameworks - not for the faint hearted. The debugging tools in VS2010 are superb and ASP.Net remains the leader in developing and debugging server based logic.

The client side is a different matter. We have found 10 year old Javascript which we first used in 2002 still relevant today for overcoming some shortfalls. We do not advocate writing CSS or JS generating code in our server side code, as we have seen many others do. We also do not advocate writing more and more business logic in JS on the client, instead rely upon third party vendors server controls to emit the necessary browser independent JS code on the fly. This is however not without many drawbacks, but if you have proper support, it will save considerable time. JQuery has also come along and provides client-side assistance, but is new/cryptic and has a long way to go to mature.

Here is a message to third party ASP.Net/Ajax vendors:

Whilst I appreciate that I can write DIV tags, this is missing the point of using a third party control. The reason we choose to buy ASP.Net/Ajax controls from vendors is so that we DO NOT HAVE to write HTML/CSS. We are application developers, not web designers. We expect the third party controls we use to emit the necessary HTML/JS/CSS on the fly so that we do not have to worry about that.This keeps our code focused on solving the business problems, rather than fighting against browser compatibility issues.

In an ideal world, I want to 'draw' my interface using the toolbox in VS2010 onto the design (not markup) surface. I want to use smart tags and the property grid to configure it. I want to click into the code behind (C#/VB), NOT markup (HTML/CSS), and write my business logic, then I want to compile and run it and have it open up inside a browser, and work on all browsers. I do not want to have to deal with ANY markup.

Consider the analogy of winforms, or even early SunView (the notifier), or PerQ, or any other highly productive graphical development tool: The developer draws the interface, sets properties and writes code to make it come to life. The programmer did not have to write native Win32 or Unix etc.. low level API's. The toolkit controls did that for him 90% of the time. If he wanted to he could call the native API, but it was not essential. Therefore when I use your controls, I want you to do the HTML/CSS/Browser (in)compatibility thing, not me.

So, what are we building? Aha, that's top secret, but we'll let you know on this blog first with the first screen shots in March 2012.

Stay tuned.


Software Release Notes

There are a number of links to software release notes because 'times they are a changin' and we have moved through the years from static notes through to full multimedia release notes with embedded video.

For TriSys Version 10 release notes, please click here.

For TriSys Version 8 release notes, please click here.

For TriSys Version 7 release notes, please click here.

For TriSys Version 6 release notes, please click here.

For TriSys Version 5 release notes, please click here.



Welcome to January 2012 Newsletter Readers

A warm welcome to TriSys monthly newsletter readers. In future, monthly newsletters will be posted on this blog first, then announced on twitter, then sent in the usual manner by e-mail. It is easy to opt out of the e-mail newsletter by clicking the unsubscribe link.

This blog will grow over time and will contain a whole bunch of topical articles and news about numerous subjects including of course recruitment and technology.

Thank you for taking the time to visit our web site. There are some awesome product videos which give a great, and fun, overview of our products and services, and this is the best place to start if you are new to TriSys.

If you would like to speak to us, please click here at any time to start chatting via the web, or call us on 01223 393 519. We would love to hear from you.

The New Emperors Clothes - Abuse of Web Technology

The inspiration for this blog post was the following set of error messages displayed on an arrivals screen at Brighton, England railway station on Sunday 29th January 2012:

What this shows is a broken arrivals computer system which has been completely over, and badly, engineered for the purpose of displaying information about the arrivals of buses to carry train passengers.

The designers/developers have chosen to build a browser based system with client-side Javascript pulling data asynchronously from a web service. Nothing wrong with that in principal, but for a non-interactive display-only, highly available message board system? I think not, as clearly demonstrated.

The problems shown here are typical and are spreading like wild fire. People, including customers, project managers, inexperienced technical people, and transport staff, all make the same mistake. They think that the web is all about the browser.

This mistaken belief is responsible for the rise (and soon fall) of browser oriented technology, where software houses, designers and developers around the globe, have resorted to breaking all the rules of industrial strength software development in the belief that browser technologies are current 'best-practice'.

What are these current technologies that are not industrial strength?

  • Separation of concerns: Client-side script and web services

Whilst separating display logic from business logic is generally a good principle of software engineering, it is almost impossible to do using the current technologies favoured by the web software development industry today. Client-side code is being implemented in Javascript and is increasingly gaining more and more business logic because changing Javascript is easier that redesigning complex web services. This makes for very unreliable and unmaintainable software, and let us not forget that this business logic is available for all to see.

And what of the display logic? A mixture of HTML, CSS and JQuery is creating code which is utterly unmaintainable and unmanagable, Throw in the mechanism of dealing with the enormous range of web service protocols, document object models (DOM) etc.. and you have a classic spaghetti dish. This is far from the ideal and history teaches us much about what happens when this is the case.

  • Lowest common denominator web service protocols

We have gone from WSDL and ASMX to REST and WCF. XML is being replaced with JSON because it is smaller in size and gets around some browser string problems, but you have to use JSONP to get around many other limitations. So, we are now passing complex data as strings! We get no benefit from sharing classes or strongly typed objects. Another recipe for disaster.

  • Proprietary security protocols

Each browser/web server combination works differently with different security protocols, and oAuth is hard to do properly. You need some good technology on the back end and a good CRM system to manage developer API keys etc.. Web security is always evolving and requires a lot of knowledge, money and time to master. Many projects simply do not have the budget or experienced staff, so instead developers are implementing their own proprietary security mechanisms, resulting in systems which are very fragile and easily hackable.

  • Development and maintenance tool immaturity

For almost thirty years, we have had highly graphical software development tools with more recently intellisense, edit-and-continue, source code analysis tools, memory checkers, garbage collectors etc.. We get almost none of this with Javascript, DOM and JQuery. Developing in these client-side web frameworks is like stepping back in time to a prehistoric age of software development.

  • Script-kiddie mentality and inexperience

Many of the people writing this client-side javascript/jquery/HTML/CSS are young, cheap and inexperienced. They have no concept of industrial strength software design. They do not know or care about reliability or maintenance because they'll be off onto the next job or mountain long before their code catastrophically breaks leaving us with the debris. Good luck to the people who have to fix it under enormous pressure from paying customers, irrate investors and frustrated management.

  • Too much focus on web design at the expense of robustness and reliability

If it looks good, it must be good eh? Wrong! Almost all web designers know absolutely nothing about complex business processes and the provision of reliable data to service those essential business activities. Project managers and customers are easily captivated by something which looks sexy. Web designers know this and use it as a shield to hide the mess that lies beneath the surface.

There are of course many more, but this is a blog-post not a book.

In summary, the new emperors clothes do not fit, are badly designed and will be torn to shreds as more and more people will be affected by this madness. Anyone contemplating building line of business (LoB) or safety (or transport) critical web applications using these technogies should really think again, to put it mildly.