Agile Development Helps Improve FTC Web Sites
The developer used software engineering methologies to adapt and respond to changing business dynamics
By Esther SchindlerFederal Trade Commission (FTC).
With the assistance of consulting firm Bluedog Inc., the FTC recently completed a $1.2 million upgrade to modernize the web based systems that handle Consumer Fraud Complaints, the Do Not Call list, and the identify theft complaint process.
The project, said Tom Termini, Bluedog founder and managing director, used the latest in Services-Oriented Architecture (SOA) integration. "It fuses the existing FTC business processes to build an agile enterprise capability by creating composite applications on web services, often delivering these through a web portal to the public," said Termini. Using SOA expanded the reach of existing systems to handle complaints, which are processed from various government Web sites, walk-ins, letters, and (mostly) call centers. Web services helps make information available to outside stakeholders, such as the US Department of Justice and foreign law enforcement agencies.
According to Termini, at the core of SOA implementations are the free exchange of key metadata, loosely coupled interoperability via web services, and the ability to find and use the services deployed within the architecture. Termini said the system empowers the business users (not IT operations personnel) to make changes in real time in the systems. A portal provides a convenient single-point-of-entry for all the various services.
A few more techie notes:
- A Rules Engine lets the "business customers" modify access controls and even the dynamic generation of views and other UI components, without recompiling code or IT staff intervention.
- Other developers can use the web services Bluedog developed. "For example," said Termini, "Another enterprise application can make queries on suspects who may be committing fraud, and get the results returned directly to that app's API."
- A feature-rich interface on the backend uses Ajax techniques, while providing a Section 508 compliant interface to meet government standards.
|Figure 1. SOA Architecture for the Federal Trade Commission upgrade project developed by Bluedog.|