Project Apex: Part 8

Created the very important ctrlGrid component which is used throughout the application and allows developers to rapidly declare and specify powerful grids with full support for any SQL statement, column sorting, grouping, filtering, moving.

Here is the first usable version complete with integrated toolbar:

This also shows how to select additional fields to be dragged onto the grid at run-time.

This is a more detailed view showing grid paging in operation:

This uses complex client-side Javascript to render the grid dynamically when the browser is resized. The grid also remembers each end-users configuration of the grid including column sizes/ordering/sorting and filtering. These are stored as cookies and make it very user-friendly as they can have their data displayed exactly as they want it.

The declarative nature of this grid is very easy for web designers to use as shown in this example:

<trisys:ctrlGrid ID="grdPlacements" runat="server" 

            SQLCommand="Select PlacementId, Reference, PlacementType as 'Type',
	                        JobTitle as 'Job Title', Candidate, Skill as 'Status',
	                        Client, Company, PlacementDate as 'Start Date'
                        from v_WEB_PlacementSearch
                        Order by PlacementDate desc"
            RedirectURL="~/Pages/Placement.aspx?PlacementId="   > 

            <trisysGridColumn:GridColumn FieldName="PlacementId"    Width="100"      Visible="false"              
                                            Hyperlinked="true" DisplayFormat="#,###,###,###,##0"        />
            <trisysGridColumn:GridColumn FieldName="Reference"      Width="100"      VisibleIndex="0"                 
                                            Hyperlinked="true"                                          />
            <trisysGridColumn:GridColumn FieldName="Type"           Width="100"      VisibleIndex="1"   />
            <trisysGridColumn:GridColumn FieldName="Job Title"      Width="200"      VisibleIndex="2"   />
            <trisysGridColumn:GridColumn FieldName="Candidate"      Width="150"      VisibleIndex="3"   />
            <trisysGridColumn:GridColumn FieldName="Status"         Width="100"      VisibleIndex="4"   />
            <trisysGridColumn:GridColumn FieldName="Client"         Width="150"      VisibleIndex="5"   />
            <trisysGridColumn:GridColumn FieldName="Company"        Width="150"      VisibleIndex="6"   />
            <trisysGridColumn:GridColumn FieldName="Start Date"     Width="140"      VisibleIndex="7"   
                                            Alignment="right"   DisplayFormat="dd MMM yyyy"             />


As such, we are able to quickly port the existing SQL queries from V10 and get many of the lookup forms operational.

This will keep us busy over the next week, but we have also been working on system options which we will write about next time.

Project Apex: Part 7

Last week we introduced JQuery and client-side Javascript for maximum responsiveness to mimic our traditional windows desktop applications. This week we have connected the product to the back-end SQL Server database using our Business Objects Layer (BOL), and enhanced the forms framework to support contextual ribbon tabs, which are form specific ribbon tabs which only appear when the form is loaded.

This is the initial contextual tabs for the contact form as they will appear when the contact form is visible:

These contextual ribbon tabs become active and visible when the underlying form is visible as demonstrated in this early contact lookup form:

This form shows a DevExpress data grid which is connected to the logged in user database via the BOL and shows underlying test data from our OpusNet database server hosted at Amazon.

We are now working on the ctrlGrid SDK control which will abstract the underlying third party control and allow developers to rapidly build grids to work directly from the BOL. More on this next week.

Tweeting At Work Is Good For Business


Interesting article on Social Media at work.

On June 6, Larry Ellison--CEO of Oracle, one of the largest and most advanced computer technology corporations in the world--tweeted for the very first time. In doing so, he joined a club that remains surprisingly elite. Among CEOs of the world’s Fortune 500 companies, a mere 20 have Twitter accounts. Ellison, by the way, hasn’t tweeted since.

As social media spreads around the globe, one enclave has proven stubbornly resistant: the boardroom. Within the C-suite, perceptions remain that social media is at best a soft PR tool and at worst a time sink for already distracted employees. Without a push from the top, many of the biggest companies have been slow to take the social media plunge.

A new report from McKinsey Global Institute, however, makes the business case for social media a little easier to sell. According to an analysis of 4,200 companies by the business consulting giant, social technologies stand to unlock from $900 billion to $1.3 trillion in value. At the high end, that approaches Australia’s annual GDP. How’s that for a bottom line?

Savings comes from some unexpected places. Two-thirds of the value unlocked by social media rests in “improved communications and collaboration within and across enterprises,” according to the report. Far from a distraction, in other words, social media proves a surprising boon to productivity.

Companies are embracing social tools--including internal networks, wikis, and real-time chat--for functions that go way beyond marketing and community building. R&D teams brainstorm products, HR vets applicants, sales fosters leads, and operations and distribution forecasts and monitors supply chains.

Behind this laundry list is a more hefty benefit. Social technologies have the potential to free up expertise trapped in departmental silos. High-skill workers can now be tapped company-wide. Managers can find out “which employees have the deepest knowledge in certain subjects, or who last contributed to a project and how to get in touch with them quickly,” saysNew York Times tech reporter Quentin Hardy. Just cutting email out of the picture in favor of social sharing translates to a productivity windfall as “more enterprise information becomes accessible and searchable, rather than locked up as ‘dark matter’ in inboxes.”

Among the most promising (and heretofore least hyped) new social technologies are tools like Yammer (recently snapped up by Microsoft for $1.2 billion), which bring Facebook-like functionality into the office. Social-savvy employees post queries and comments to internal conversation threads and coworkers offer feedback, crowdsourcing solutions. Content can be shared and searched, so the same issues don’t resurface. Meanwhile, virtual groups offer a more interactive alternative than email or phones.

Interestingly, the report suggest that tools like Yammer are the tip of the iceberg. Right now, only five percent of all communications and content use in the U.S. happens on social networks, mainly in the form of content sharing and online socializing. But McKinsey analysts point out that almost any human interaction in the workplace can be "socialized"--endowed with the speed, scale, and disruptive economics of the Internet.

It seems noteworthy that the report’s conclusions have been echoed of late from the most authoritative of places: Wall Street. In the last year, the world’s largest enterprise software companies--Google, Microsoft, Salesforce, Adobe, and even Ellison’s own Oracle--have spent upward of $2.5 billion snatching up social media tools to add to their enterprise suites. Even Twitter-phobic CEOs may have a hard time ignoring that business case.

--Author Ryan Holmes is the CEO of HootSuite, a social media management system with 4 million users, including 79 of the Fortune 100 companies.

Originating Site:

The TriSys V10 application has Social Networking already built in where you can have intergrated searches with network searches, identified candidates accross different domains where you can automatically pull their details into the TriSys application. Pre defined templates allow you to quickly communicate with candidates.

View the video at TriSys V10 Feature Tour



Project Apex: Part 6

This last week, the design team has focused on the tab framework, and the database team has been working with the .Net developers on the business objects layer (BOL).

Here is the first login form which is automatically added to the tabbed framework you can see at the bottom of the page:

Much debate has focussed on the use of CSS and HTML tables and what is the best way to lay out data entry forms. We are now able to connect via the BOL to the back-end SQL Server.

The Javascript developers have introduced JQuery and Telerik client-side scripting to provide modality for message popups:

This shows the Office 2010 theme which has been implemented throughout as the default theme for the application.

Next week we will demonstrate the contextual ribbon tabs which are part of the underlying forms manager framework.

Having The Right Information


Good data can make the difference between inefficient operations and cost savings, misleading results and effective decision-making, failure and success.

Your TriSys database is no exception, allowing users to 'do their own thing' means that everything is ad-hoc and makes any kind of reporting or searching very difficult.

Using the TriSys application in a uniformed way across your business can help your business see what is going on.

To achieve this there are certain things that need to be considered:

1. The importance of Training - Training plays an essential role in developing a highly-skilled and productive workforce. But it is a costly investment, and one that can quickly disappear down the drain if not retained, applied and refreshed.

2. System Administration - having an administrator with a good understanding of the application and how it works, who can customise work flows and support your consultants is important.

3. Measuring the quality of data and output - Whether using TriSys standard reports, Searches or Business Intelligence, adding customised reports or going to an external supplier such as Saber it is the quality of the data that is important or the information produced is worthless.

We see quite often how information can get lost in a company, you have a good user who trains the new employees but then they leave and a lot of their knowledge leaves with them.  Some of the best information we have seen coming out of customers systems is where they have a dedicated trainer who trains and follows up with all new recruits, building the knowledge of the consultant.  This means that everyone is using the system in the same way making the reports the business use for analysing there business valuable.

Another excuse often heard is I don't have the time, but with the right training and the right setup the system will save you time if the effort is put in to begin with.

Important areas often overlooked in TriSys are Actions, these are configurable to record information how you want it recorded which is then accessible to measure in the different ways listed above.  Actions save consultants time by updating the different records with historic note and scheduled follow-ups as well as producing e-mails with the correct attachments etc..

For more information on training or to request consultancy for business analysis to determine development changes required to TriSys please contact our office on 01223 393 519

Project Apex: Part 5

We have now added the navigation bar item links including 16x16 web images and form hyperlinks:

Began work on the entity form layout and management framework. This allows developers and web designers to adhere to a well designed and proven interface for managing the layout and display operations of forms with a full event driven model.

Here is the first test form invoked from the navigation bar:

This technique will form the basis of the data entry form layouts in the next post.

Project Apex: Part 4

Added the drop down menu but it did not look correct:

The problem is due to cascading style sheets.

Here is the resolved menu which correctly floats on top of the ribbon and navigation bar area:

We have also create the navigation bar control and added this to the framework region:


It is gradually starting to resemble Version 10.

We are now working on the images and the hyperlinks for the navigation bar. More next time.

TriSys On Tour - September 2012 Event

TriSys will be attending Uk Recruiter's Recruitment Specific Technology Showcase Event
Following the success of their May event, UK Recruiter are running a second Recruitment Software and Innovative Technologies Showcase event in September 2012 (  The event is purely for recruiters (agency or inhouse) and offers an ideal opportunity for you to find the right IT solution to your business challenges. The event provides the perfect platform for you to gauge what technology is available to you and how it can enable you to become more productive and competitive.
The clever format of presentations by innovative technology providers and “speed-pitching” sessions including TriSys Business Software that means recruiters can see a full range of providers in one afternoon.  Additionally during the afternoon the APSCo Technology Leadership Forum will host a debate on the subject of whether technology is fit for purpose. This will be hosted by the forum Chair and we will invite debate and discussion from the floor.  Non APSCo members are welcome to attend the session.

A must attend event for recruiters to see how technology is evolving in the recruitment space and how that relates to your business and get the full scope of what differentiates each recruitment technology provider in one short afternoon.
The event runs on 27th September 2012 from 12.30pm to 5.30pm in central London.  For more information or register at

Project Apex: Part 3

The ribbon images are slightly more complex than in our WinForms Version 10 because they have to be multi-size web friendly i.e. PNG, GIF or JPG. Once we got our heads around this, we were able to create the correct images for the ribbon as shown in the following screenshot:

We have also added the alarms region to the right of the main content region, and of course tested in all browsers such as Firefox above.

We will complete the Home ribbon tab buttons over this weekend and hopefully solve some interesting problems with CSS overlays?


Project Apex: Part 2

We started this week developing our new web browser application code named 'Project-Apex'. Our web designers have created an HTML / CSS framework which mimics the layout and regions required in a line of business (LOB) application such as TriSys.

We are making sure that this framework is truly cross-browser, and supports the major web browsers used today, including those that do not yet fully support HTML5. These browsers include Mozilla Firefox (our favourite), Microsoft Internet Explorer (6, 7, 8, 9 & 10), Apple Safari, Google Chrome and Opera. This is very important because we want TriSys/Apex to be completely browser agnostic and provide the exact same look and feel on any operating system/browser combination.

So, here it is as it stands:

You can see the regions laid out with full auto-resize, and scrolling available in the content area for large forms or pages.

We are now working on the pop-out alarms region and images for the ribbon, and will show these early next week.

Stay tuned.