Dynamic software systems ranging from mobile apps to enterprise-wide business intelligence tools

What We've Done

Benetech, Inc.

A Document Management System Delivers Benefits

Challenge: An employee benefits firm, for whom a comprehensive administrative system was being built by another software developer, wanted to accelerate delivery of document management capability.
Solution: Greane Tree Technology built a standalone document management system that could later be integrated with the comprehensive administrative system built by the other developer.

Benetech, an employee benefits management and consulting firm, needed to securely share documents with its clients over the Internet. Benetech was already working with another software developer on a comprehensive administrative system. Benetech wanted to accelerate delivery of document management capability without disrupting the development project already under way. They asked Greane Tree Technology to build a standalone document management system that could later be integrated with the comprehensive system, once the latter was complete.

In six weeks, Greane Tree Technology built a document management system that enables three-tiered document sharing. Documents can be securely transferred between Benetech and its client health care groups; between health care groups and their subgroups; and between subgroups and individual enrollees.

As requested by the client, Greane Tree Technology built the system using PHP and MySQL. A Laravel framework and jQuery JavaScript library facilitated quick, standards-based coding. Greane Tree Technology introduced the Agile methodology to Benetech, who found it so helpful that they may adopt it for their comprehensive system development effort.

Technologies: PHP, MySQL, Laravel, jQuery, Javascript
Commission on Economic Opportunity

A Responsive Website for a Responsible Organization

Challenge: A social service agency’s website no longer effectively communicated its service offerings
Solution: Greane Tree Technology applied modern web development principles to make the site easy to find, update, and navigate on all devices

The Commission on Economic Opportunity (CEO) administers Head Start and over 25 other programs that help people rise out of poverty and become independent. In its own words, “CEO gives people the tools they need to build financial stability and lead healthier, happier lives.”

CEO needed help with one of its own tools, however: its website had become outdated. The content was hard to modify, it had a confusing layout, and it was not optimized for search engines. CEO asked Greane Tree Technology to create a site that would better communicate the agency’s mission and activities to the public. Within two months, we designed and built a website that gives visitors a well-organized introduction to CEO’s philosophy and programs, offers staff an easy way to add content and create custom forms, and expresses CEO’s energy and enthusiasm for its mission.

CEO’s new website is built in the WordPress content management system, using the Gravity Forms plugin to facilitate the creation of custom forms. The site’s customized CSS expresses CEO’s brand, and adheres to the principles of Responsive Web Design, automatically adjusting its layout to fit the device (desktop, mobile, etc.) on which it is viewed. The site’s new architecture facilitates Search Engine Optimization (SEO), so CEO can make sure its programs are easy to find on the web. CEO has long been one of our favorite organizations, and we were deeply gratified to assist them in their mission to empower local people.

Technologies: WordPress, Gravity Forms, CSS Media Queries
CUNY – Baruch College Newman Library

Opening the Doors to All: Baruch's Newman Library Web Revitalization

Challenge: Difficult-to-navigate website obscured richness of library’s offerings
Solution: Greane Tree Technology rebuilt custom website using XHTML, PHP, and Javascript to make both on-line and in-house resources easier to find

The beauty of its restored building, the richness of its collections, the excitement of its urban setting – the William and Anita Newman Library at Baruch College had much to showcase, but its website had become dated and difficult to navigate. The website is a portal to several online databases and newsfeeds; the challenge was to integrate diverse resources into a coherent and easily navigable whole.

Greane Tree Technology revitalized the library’s 200-plus page website, reorganizing the information hierarchy and improving the integration of custom search engines to make it easier to locate key resources. We used JavaScript to provide a uniform search control, and we wrote a dynamic HTML widget backed by PHP to display the library’s hours for the current day. We added social media and live chat to make sure visitors could get the latest library information and assistance on-demand. Finally, we updated the graphic design to highlight the Newman Library’s wonderful setting and extraordinary offerings.

Technologies: Adobe Dreamweaver and Contribute, Jquery, PHP, XML, CSS, XHTML, IDS Project, Serials Solutions and Google Custom Search search engines, Subversion version control
Baby-Friendly USA

Helping Baby Friendly USA Harness Web Technology

Challenge: Small organization with big mandate needed updated technology tools to support its mission
Solution: Greane Tree Technology helped define and build a Ruby on Rails web application to streamline internal workflow and make external communication more effective

Baby Friendly USA assists and assesses birthing facilities that wish to offer optimal care for infant feeding and mother-baby bonding, and accredits those that have conformed to UNICEF and World Health Organization standards. Founded in 1997, Baby Friendly USA has had a welcome spotlight turned on it by growing attention to the role of breastfeeding in disease prevention. The organization’s outdated computer systems could no longer keep pace with its burgeoning workload and higher profile, however. Baby Friendly staff and constituents were forced to use manual processes where computerized processes would have been more efficient.

With both technical expertise and nonprofit experience, Greane Tree Technology was superbly qualified to help Baby Friendly USA harness technology to better communicate and support its mission. Greane Tree Technology worked with Baby Friendly USA to build a custom web application that features a redesigned public website consistent with the organization’s mission and stature; a searchable map showing Baby Friendly accredited birthing facilities; a content management system through which Baby Friendly can post, modify, organize and control access to its technical assistance resources; online registration and self-assessment forms for birthing facilities; and a searchable database with constituent, program, workflow and management information. The system was written using modular and standards-based coding practices so that, as Baby Friendly USA grows, the system can grow with it.

Technologies: Ruby on Rails, AJAX, PostgreSQL, Twitter Bootstrap
Mashoutable

Tools to amplify your social media

Challenge: Original system too limited to support evolving business ideas
Solution: Greane Tree Technology worked with business owner to develop an extensible system in Ruby on Rails that keeps pace with new offerings

Mashoutable knew people needed help making the most of social media and managing multiple networks. Mashoutable needed help turning its great ideas into reality. They came to Greane Tree Technology with a half-built system and a hurry-up schedule. We redesigned and rebuilt Mashoutable’s prototype into a highly functional, streamlined, and scalable set of tools. We replaced a VB .NET application running on a single server with a Ruby on Rails application running on a scalable Amazon cloud infrastructure. The MS SQL database was migrated to PostgreSQL and redesigned by normalizing table and relationship structures. Redis, a high speed No SQL database, and Resque, a highly efficient queuing system, were introduced to handle significant loads of long running operations, such as uploading videos to YouTube. The user experience was reengineered to maximize productivity, with AJAX providing dynamic content updates and a floating widget allowing users to preview their posts as they “Click Construct” them. Additionally, seamless integration with Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube was introduced and improved to provide a single system for publishing content and managing multiple social networks simultaneously. Mashoutable.com wanted to make its clients “instantly influential”; Greane Tree Technology made sure they didn’t have to wait.

Technologies: Ruby on Rails, PostgreSQL, Redis, Resque, AJAX
NYS State Agency

Agile Rollout at NYS State Agency

Challenge: State agency wanted practical advice, documentation and training for departmental rollout of Agile methodology
Solution: Greane Tree Technology created documentation and training on industry best practices for Agile and Scrum in enterprise project management and software development

The IT department of a state agency had decided to adopt the Agile development methodology. Managers had been briefed on the theory. Some project teams had test-driven Scrum. Staff had heard rumors and buzzwords, but there were no standard references or training resources in place. Impressed with our real-world experience and success with Agile, the agency hired Greane Tree Technology to help with the Agile rollout.

Greane Tree Technology met with agency staff and contractors inside and outside the IT department. We spoke to IT managers, project managers, developers, testers, business analysts, business owners, deployment and technical support staff. We interviewed project teams that were piloting Agile and project teams that feared Agile would deprive them of necessary documentation and control. We highlighted the many long-standing practices at the agency that were compatible with and conducive to Agile, but also pointed out conditions that could hinder Agile adoption if not addressed.

Greane Tree Technology prepared and delivered a series of documents and trainings to help the agency move forward. We distilled advice from respected figures in the field, as well as insights from our own practice and the preferences of agency IT management, into a 50-page guidebook that would serve as both an introduction and a reference to Agile for agency staff. We gave seminars on the principles, advantages and challenges to successful adoption of Agile and Scrum. We held practical hands-on trainings in Scrum practice for Scrum Masters, Product Owners and Development Team members. We helped the agency identify and understand the Agile techniques they could adopt immediately, and advised them how to spread Agile principles and strengthen their Agile practice over time. Agency staff were clearly committed to serving their constituents, and Greane Tree Technology was proud to assist them in adopting a methodology to do so more efficiently.

Technologies: Agile, SCRUM, MS Visual Studio, TFS, SharePoint
NiteTables

Night Life Planning and Reservation System

Challenge: Incomplete and fragile code threatened to doom launch of a trendsetting website in a competitive market
Solution: Greane Tree Technology led a disciplined Agile development team to rewrite the PHP system using clean, standards-based code in time for a successful launch

A great idea, beautiful graphics, media buzz – the NiteTables night life planning and reservation system had everything required for a successful launch, but the release date was looming and the software wasn’t complete. NiteTables turned to Greane Tree Technology for help. NiteTables needed a software shop that was not only technically proficient in PHP and MySQL, but also understood how to work well with others and manage projects on a tight schedule. Greane Tree Technology led the team to quickly prioritize requirements, refactor existing code for stability, build new functionality, and test each release. The system was launched with much fanfare and on schedule in August 2011. Since then, it has reliably served a demanding and growing clientele, helping them plan their perfect night out.

NiteTables.com features easy-to-use Venue Finder and Venue Search tools to help customers find night clubs, bars, restaurants, or other preferred venues in popular metropolitan areas. NiteTables shows upcoming events on its This Week page, filterable by preference and available for all types of venue. A reservation wizard guides visitors through the reservation and checkout process, with a secure hand off to an e-commerce payment gateway. NiteTables staff can update their Blog and Homepage content, view venue statistics, and gather critical marketing and campaign information. The system offers a back-end venue administration interface that allows participating venues to completely customize their menus, seating areas, event schedules, and package offerings, and to manage their reservations. NiteTables is also easy-to-use on an iPad.

Technologies: PHP with RedBean ORM to MySQL datastore, Tonic RESTFUL Router for friendly URI
Center for Economic Growth

Web Application Revitalization

Challenge: Outdated system hampered the development of the online community it was supposed to serve
Solution: Using ASP.NET MVC with C# and an MS SQL Server database, Greane Tree Technology rewrote the system to foster collaboration and help the online community flourish

The Center for Economic Growth’s Technology Roadmap is an important resource for businesses in New York’s Tech Valley region. For almost 10 years, the web application has been the community hub for technology companies and supporting industries in upstate New York. The system had become outdated and did not permit easy maintenance nor expansion. The Center for Economic Growth (CEG) turned to Greane Tree Technology to rebuild the entire application from scratch.

The system had been written in PHP and MySQL. CEG requested a switch to Microsoft technology as part of the upgrade, so Greane Tree Technology rewrote the code as an object-oriented system in C# .NET and converted the data for storage in a normalized MS SQL Server database. The user interface was redesigned to achieve an elegant and uncluttered look; user workflow was streamlined and information hierarchy clarified.

The revitalized Technology Roadmap site is an inviting and well-organized resource once again worthy of the innovative companies it serves. The modernized application can continue to create mutual benefit and foster technological creativity, regional collaboration and economic growth for Tech Valley companies and their customers.

Technologies: ASP.NET MVC with C#, unit testing with NUnit, automated user acceptance testing with Selenium, MSSQL Server, Lucene search engine, XHTML, CSS, JQuery, Subversion version control
Agora Games

Inter-Web Application Interfacing and Communication

Challenge: Once-innovative tools for gamers had not kept pace with developments in web and mobile technology
Solution: Greane Tree Technology wrote an API in PHP to permit mobile access, and refactored code for dramatic performance boost using Redis key-value store

Major League Gaming (MLG) is a competitive league of video game players. One of MLG’s major offerings is GameBattles, a platform that allows millions of gamers to schedule matches, report results, compare rankings and join discussions with other enthusiasts. GameBattles was launched in 2003 and, while its core features remained solid, its user interface was incompatible with advances in web and mobile technology.

Agora Games, a division of MLG, hired Greane Tree Technology to write a GameBattles application programming interface (API) in PHP. The API makes GameBattles functionality available for integration into MLG’s second generation site and accessible from mobile devices such as the iPhone. As part of its work on GameBattles, Greane Tree Technology also helped Agora streamline its project management and quality control. Agora invited Greane Tree Technology back as a key part of the project team for Leaderboard, a player-ranking system written in PHP with a high-performance Redis key-value store. After the rewrite, Leaderboard went from ranking roughly 150,000 users in about 20 minutes once a day, to ranking them in less than a second in real-time. Greane Tree Technology also enhanced Agora’s award and achievement system by integrating a third party service API.

Technologies: Ruby, Ruby on Rails, PHP, unit testing with SimpleTest, Tonic RESTFul Router for friendly URI
Vicarious Visions

Project and Labor Recording, Tracking, and Reporting Database Application

Challenge: Business intelligence information scattered across disparate systems
Solution: Greane Tree Technology wrote a MySQL utility to consolidate and report on data from different departments

Vicarious Visions is an entertainment company that creates blockbuster video games and prides itself on the passion, innovation and creativity of its employees. When the creative flow threatened to outgrow the systems set up to track it, Vicarious Visions brought in Greane Tree Technology to integrate the separate tools adopted for project management, human resources and business intelligence.

Greane Tree consolidated the information needed by various departments into one non-redundant data store, then wrote an interface using MySQL stored procedures so that existing systems could extract the centralized data in the format they required. Departments could keep preferred and familiar tools for managing the data, but the data themselves were no longer isolated in departmental silos. Critical business information became more accurate and up-to-date, new questions could be asked of the data, and interdepartmental collaboration became much easier.

Technologies: MySQL
Morse Zehnter Associates

Environmental Analysis Tools

Challenge: Millions of readings from environmental sensors had to be digested for a building forensics investigation
Solution: Greane Tree Technology wrote a .NET / MS SQL Server system to collect, store, and analyze massive amounts of critical data

Morse Zehnter Associates (MZA) is a world-leader in building forensics, investigating and solving complex building problems that affect health and safety. They identify conditions that encourage mold, evaluate indoor air quality and ventilation requirements, offer expert testimony on asbestos and other toxins, and create remediation plans for buildings damaged in disasters such as the World Trade Center collapse and Hurricane Katrina. Their work often requires the collection, analysis and interpretation of large quantities of precise data from sensors that monitor indoor and outdoor environmental conditions.

When MZA was called in to investigate sulfur emissions from problem Chinese drywall, they turned to Greane Tree Technology to create a software system to manage their analytical data. Written in .NET, the system imported into an MS SQL Server database millions of rows of data collected by environmental sensors, performed statistical analyses on the data, and digested it for export to spreadsheets for further evaluation by engineers. Although the software was initially created for the drywall study, it can be used in MZA’s other projects involving similar monitoring and analysis.

Technologies: .NET, MS SQL Server
Albany College of Pharmacy & Health Sciences

Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences Website Revitalization

Challenge: A modern, dynamic institution had a limited, stodgy web presence
Solution: Greane Tree Technology revitalized the website and integrated social media and academic resources, using .NET, MS SQL Server, PHP, and MySQL

On the vibrant campuses of the Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences (ACPHS), dedicated students were learning about the very latest advances in pharmacology and health care. Unfortunately, the college’s website didn’t reflect that relevance and richness. Confident that Greane Tree Technology could not only give the website a face lift, but could also integrate academic and administrative databases and migrate to Microsoft technologies, ACPHS sought our assistance.

Greane Tree Technology completely revitalized the roughly 800-page ACPHS website. Updates included a freshened design, dynamic content, search engine optimization, W3C validation, and improvements to information architecture, usability and user experience. The website was migrated to Microsoft technology and integrated with social media and existing academic and administrative systems.

Technologies: ASP .NET, MS SQL Server, MySQL, PHP, Javascript, CSS, XHTML
The Stakeholders, Inc.

Get on Board Web & Database Application

Challenge: Civic organization needed technological tools for volunteer match
Solution: Using ASP .NET and MS SQL Server, Greane Tree Technology wrote a custom web application that nonprofits and volunteers could use to find each other

Volunteers are vital to every non-profit organization and project, but too often are in short supply. It is important to find volunteers whose skills and interests fit an organization’s specific needs. The Stakeholders, an “intergenerational association of community builders and change agents committed to building diverse and sustainable communities in New York’s Capital Region,” asked Greane Tree Technology to help them match volunteers with non-profits.

Greane Tree Technology created Get on Board, an online marketplace that invites volunteers to fill out applications through easy-to-use web forms, while non-profits register their needs on similar forms. Responses are stored in a database, and Get on Board analyzes the data to match the right volunteers with each applicant organization, creating the best fit for all.

Technologies: ASP .NET, MS SQL Server
Tech Valley Continuity

NFPA 1600 Self Evaluation Web Application

Challenge: Small to medium-sized businesses needed to evaluate their compliance with fire safety codes
Solution: Using ASP.NET MVC and MS SQL Server, Greane Tree Technology wrote an online self-assessment program that businesses could use to tell how well they conformed to National Fire Protection Association guidelines

Tech Valley Continuity works with small to medium size businesses to develop business continuity/ disaster recovery plans that satisfy their unique needs, budget, and time-line. It wanted to offer a self-service web application to help clients assess their National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 1600 compliance.

Greane Tree Technology custom-built the system using ASP.NET MVC and MS SQL Server. At low cost, clients can use the software to help them measure, improve, and document their compliance with NFPA guidelines. The system presents the user with questionnaires and analyzes the responses to identify areas of potential noncompliance. Once deficiencies are addressed, the system helps users format the company specific information they have provided into standard-compliant strategic, prevention, mitigation and other plans. Tech Valley Continuity’s mission is to provide practical continuity and recovery solutions designed to protect the bottom line. The NFPA 1600 Compliance Assessment system that Greane Tree Technology built helps them carry out their mission.

Technologies: ASP.NET MVC, MS SQL Server, unit testing with NUnit, automated user acceptance testing with Selenium