Sometime around April 2008, Microsoft announced its intent to discontinue extended product support for Visual Basic 6. As time passed, Weather Shield found it increasingly difficult to install and support our order system throughout our dealers’ stores. Whenever Microsoft released a newer Windows operating system, we found ourselves creating “work arounds” to make the application’s installation work. It appeared we were potentially one operating system away from our dealers not being able to order our windows and doors.
In 2014 we decided to rewrite our window and door configurator. We specified three significant requirements: 1) The software needed to be a web based application which would eliminate the need to install and support software on hundreds of machines; 2) The software needed to integrate with our existing manufacturing system; and 3) Weather Shield needed to be an active participant in the coding process as we would fully own the code. In 2014 Weather Shield partnered with The Sartell Group and started development.
Partnership describes the Weather Shield-Sartell relationship in the truest sense of the word. We Weather Shield developers were transitioning from Windows’ forms development to the web platform. While Weather Shield taught Sartell developers the window and door industry, the Sartell developers brought our development team up-to-speed with web technologies. The Sartell development team was quick to grasp the window and door industry through dialogue and user stories. Project development followed Agile Scrum methodology.
Sartell delivered; we were equally dedicated to achieving the successful outcome. Weather Shield had successfully transitioned to the web development platform.
As Weather Shield continues development of new web-based projects, and as I reflect upon my relationship with the Sartell staff – Jenni Konrad, Steve Pearson, and Sarah Deering – I will say the experience has made me a better developer. I am now equipped to work proficiently with the web technologies we now utilize which include Microsoft MVC, C#, JQuery, Ajax, Internet Information Services, RESTful APIs, etc.
I have found that our continuing relationship with Sartell further advances my skill set. Each year Weather Shield contracts for Sartell developers’ knowledge transfer hours. This has proven to be invaluable. When I was recently tasked with implementing a single sign-on solution, with Jenni Konrad’s assistance, I was able to work through the multiple complexities and challenges I had encountered.
Weather Shield employs a relatively small development team. The Sartell Group is a welcomed extension of our team.