Terralink rings in changes in rebuilt site

GIS and mapping provider Terralink rebuilt its Terranet website between February and November last year.

GIS and mapping provider Terralink rebuilt its Terranet website between February and November last year.

Terralink first launched a website in 1998. The original site was developed by Eagle Technology in C++ with an Oracle database and a purpose-built transaction management system, which was necessary as there were no suitable off-the-shelf products at the time.

The system served Terralink customers well in the early days, but once the government established Landonline, which, like Terralink, interfaced with the official land title system, it was decided the site needed to be reworked and that Terralink needed to take over the day-to-day running of it.

Between the time the decision to rework the site was taken in March 2003 and the official relaunch in November that year, many changes were made. These included moving from the old HTML-C++ platform to a Java-Javascript one, creating new reports and the capacity to add more reports as needed. It also meant creating the infrastructure to support querying and reporting to third-party websites via XML and building an XML-based link between the new Terranet site and another Terralink web service relating to aerial images and property boundary maps.

A combination of inhouse and external expertise was used in the project, the latter provided by Clearfield Knowledge Solutions and outside developers.

Today more than 1000 customers use Terranet every month and hundreds of casual users buy services via credit cards. Documents can be downloaded in Excel, PDF and comma separated form, as opposed to in HTML-only under the old system.

The front-end user interface interacts with a back-end MySQL database that holds information on every property in New Zealand and the site is run on Apache and Tomcat Linux servers.

Terranet is one of three finalists in the e-business category of the Computerworld Excellence Awards along with Acquire and Foodstuffs.

IT hardware and software reseller Acquire’s entry showcases the development of its online sales service, launched in April 2001.

Product feeds from distributors, a comprehensive customer search engine and email marketing to customers, notifying them of weekly specials and giveaways are some of the features of the Acquire site. A company accounts log-in allows a corporate customer to view their entire purchasing history online.

At the back end are CRM, accounting, quoting, ordering, product information update and online promotional systems “all rolled into one”.

Foodstuffs’ entry relates to the Foodstuffs Exchange, the company’s portal for transactions between it and its suppliers, which was launched in late 2002.

Foodstuffs owns the New World, Pak ‘n Save and Four Square brands. The Foodstuffs Exchange was developed in partnership between it and Datacom.

Suppliers aren’t charged for using the exchange and the aim is to get all suppliers using it for all transactions, thus eliminating paper invoices.

The exchange replaces e-commerce systems previously developed separately by different Foodstuffs divisions and a key feature is the XML-based Business-to-Business Transaction Exchange, which enables suppliers to develop systems which can send and receive transactions to the exchange direct from their back office systems.

Suppliers can send and receive data from the exchange in XML, CSV, Foodstuffs EDI and Edifact D96a.

Suppliers can send data in a variety of formats including SMTP, FTP and HTTP.

At the end of February, almost 400 Foodstuffs suppliers were using the Foodstuffs Exchange.

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