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Connecting communities @ Warwickshire County Council
In line with implementing e-Government standards, Warwickshire County Council sought an innovative yet cost effective solution in connecting a web based application, Warwickshire Communities, to their main Internet site. Through a competitive process, Charles McKenzie Consulting won the contract to work with WCC to develop a solution.

Warwickshire Logo
    Warwickshire County Council
  • Based in the heart of the English midlands
  • Serves over half a million people
  • Promoting and Supporting excellent services
  • Services spend exceeds £400 million annual

    Solution Offerings
  • Site integration through the web – no need to have direct database connections
  • Manual or Scheduled Synchronisation
  • Seamless System Integration
  • Extendible to other systems
  • Automatic Field conversion
  • Easily configurable

Warwickshire Communities
Warwickshire Communities is a new initiative launched by the Council to provide local communities, groups and organisations with free web site hosting. With the aim of having as many communities online as possible, the site has been developed to make the process of creating a web site easy and fast. Part of the functionality enables groups to upload details of upcoming events. As such events are of general interest to the community, the Council was keen to include them in its own Internet listing of local events.

“We had proposals for our XML project from a number of companies. The Charles McKenzie proposal stood out by offering an innovative generic solution that we could extend to handle other XML data transfers in future. We had confidence from their previous projects that Charles McKenzie had the relevant skills and this was backed up by very good reports from reference sites. Their bid was also very price competitive.” Warwickshire County Council

System Integration
As both applications are constructed in different technologies and hosted at separate locations, WCC decided to use XML as a means to exchange information. The original design proposed that the system receiving the information be modified to retrieve, process and update the XML data. As XML is the de facto standard for system communication, Charles McKenzie suggested implementing a separate component, to handle all XML related tasks.

The Solution
XML Broker sits between communicating applications, enabling changes from one application to be automatically reflected in the other. Complicated organisational infrastructures can result in systems residing in many different locations, making it difficult to exchange data. To resolve this issue, the Broker can connect to other systems in a variety of ways, including over the Internet. As a scheduled process, the Broker connects to the Internet to download data from the Warwickshire Communities site. Once retrieved, XML Broker, processes the data and updates the Warwickshire Events site with any changes.Sometimes there is not a one to one correlation between communicating applications, i.e. date fields can differ in format between UK and Far Eastern systems. So, XML output from these systems is not immediately interpretable. XML Broker resolves this issue with its internal translation module. Before any information goes into the receiving system, the translation module rebuilds the XML data, ensuring every field is interpretable.

"The project went very smoothly, delivered to time and to budget. We found Charles McKenzie to be flexible and willing to come forward with helpful suggestions. They ran a skills transfer session for us at the end of the project, which has helped to increase our understanding of how to implement the standards laid out in the government's e-Government Interoperability Framework. I would have no hesitation using Charles McKenzie again in the future".
Warwickshire County Council



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