Client: UK Trade and Investment

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Cake works with UKTI

Cake Solution have proved a key partner in expediting our online agenda. Their flexible, customer-focussed approach has helped us to deliver a step-change in meeting customers’ needs online.

“Cake provides innovative, professional, efficient and affordable web solutions.”

Cake Solutions (Cake) has worked with UK Trade and Investment (UKTI) on a number of projects, the latest being the Public Services Website (PWP) launching March 2010.

Background

In 2005 Cake built the Internal Services Website (ISW) for UK Trade & Investment (UKTI), a central government organisation. UKTI’s aim is to attract foreign investment in the UK. To do so, the UKTI make sure their public-facing website always shows the most relevant content to potential investors. Since the first launch in 2006, we have implemented numerous improvements.

Project Description

The most important improvement was not visible to the users, but greatly simplified the work of the UKTI’s editorial team; the second crucial improvement was the introduction of custom analytics module. This module allowed the UKTI to accurately measure the impact of their work and ensure that the users see the content they are interested in.

In 2006, Cake won a tender from UKTI to build their Business Information Management System (BIM), because of our good record of accomplishment in ISW implementation and our proven expertise in the Spring Framework and Java EE, the UKTI awarded us the contract to implement the BIM system.

The vision of the BIM system was to enable all employees in the organisation to share knowledge. In the first iteration, the shared knowledge was represented by the content the users create and the centrally managed taxonomy. To manage the information, the BIM system provides a complex workflow module that routed the content throughout the organisation. We were one of the first software vendors to successfully manipulate binary Microsoft Office documents on the server using purely open-source technologies.

Technical Description

The Spring Framework sits at the core of ISW’s implementation. We took advantage of the comprehensive SpringMVC framework to implement a lightweight web tier that uses the declarative transactional and second level caching support in the middle tier. We implemented the data access tier using Spring’s convenient Hibernate support. We deployed the application in Bea WebLogic 9 application server with Apache HTTP.

Just like ISW, the core of the BIM system uses the Spring Framework. However, unlike ISW, BIM is a heavy transactional system. In other words, the ISW system performs mostly “reads”, while the BIM system performs equal number of “writes” and “reads”.

We spent considerable amount of time making sure that the data structures are optimal. Whenever possible, we did not sacrifice the normality of the data in favour of performance or programming convenience. To achieve excellent performance, we took advantage of second-level caching; if the caching did not bring enough improvements, we turned to materialized views. The remaining technologies included Bea WebLogic 9, Apache HTTP server and Oracle 10g.