Royal Mail

The Royal Mail is the national postal service provider for the United Kingdom.

Overview

Our services were utilised to design, develop and document a cross platform middleware isolation layer.

We were also involved in the design and development of a COM+ based web front-end to a Mainframe application. Particular emphasis was placed on the development of a session state storage mechanism based around SQL Server and use of the MSMQ Bridge to facilitate Mainframe communication.

Technicalities

Design, develop in Visual C++ and document cross platform (HP-UX, Windows NT and 2000) messaging isolation layer insulating both organisation and COOL:Gen application developers from the underlying technology. The original implementation abstracted the operations of IBM WebSphere MQ, but other messaging technologies could be used. A COM wrapper, written in ATL 3, catered for VB and ASP developers. Inclusion of hooks for distributed transactions that are controlled by Encina or MTS.

Proof of concept to provide new web based front-end to existing Mainframe hosted HDS (Home Delivery System) application that allows customers to book mail delivery slots. To facilitate eventual migration from Mainframe an n-tier approach was undertaken. Communication with Mainframe CICS transactions using COMTI (part of Host Integration Server 2000) but with considerable logic built into the ASP pages to ensure CICS transactions presented with the correctly constructed CICS COMMAREA (a structure used for passing data into a CICS transaction).

Provision of MSMQ based access, using the MSMQ Bridge (part of Host Integration Server 2000) to pass messages to the Mainframe.

Design and develop ESM (Enterprise State Management) system to store state data for a stateless Web Farm that hosted the ASP scripts for HDS. Initial proof of concept based around the COM+ Shared Property Manager with the final system based around SQL Server 2000.

Further details on the project