Friday, 8 January 2016

Next milestone

It has been a busy day, but the Terabyte services have another milestone...

(see http://aa.net.uk/news-2016-terabyte.html for details)

We now have the XML ordering in to the carrier for the FTTC and MPF services. This is quite a major step, and means sales staff can manually handle orders using clueless. But please do not hassle them yet.

We have put through several orders today, both migrating the PSTN and a new install. All looking good. This step allows us to fine tune the processed, and ensure our order tracking systems are working as planned.

The interface is SOAP XML, but it is so far from with Royal Mail or BT that it is a breath of fresh air. They actually tell you want fields they did not like in the error messages. The authentication is simple. They do not even care for order of fields. Only hit one bug in the spec, which is not bad. The staff are helpful and were able to identify issues promptly and provide example XML to check my understanding. Well done Katherine at Talk Talk Business (the wholesale back-haul we are using for this).

The next step is customer ordering system. This is where I am going to start from scratch. We started making a system called CHAOS, and it sort of works but never finished - largely as way too complex and adventurous.

The new system, CHAOS2, will be simpler - stateless requests with a flat list of attributes sent to the server, and a structured response, including a generic system to request additional data and offer choices with pricing information. This will then have a javascript based web front end to look pretty.

The format for data will be pretty flexible - I plan to allow query string form fields, posted form fields, posted XML, posted JSON, and even SOAP.

The response will depend on request and options passed and could be JSON or XML or SOAP.

The plan is a single system providing availability checking and ordering, but also direct access to control pages to check and adjust settings on services as well as check usage and CDRs.

We are setting up a development environment now, and even plan to create an "on-boarding" test platform for customer/dealer use as well.

Having worked on several systems recently it is worth considering CHAOS2 from the user's perspective and making it as easy to use as we can.

The next milestone will be a working CHAOS2 back end for ordering this new service. Then we have to do the user interface / web page that uses it.

Hopefully next week we can start taking some initial orders using the new system. Thank you all for your patience.

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