The Challenge

Build an application to record the results of train inspections that would be fully functional offline and easy to use in inclement conditions.

The engineers needed to create reports from the tablet device.  These reports would form detailed descriptions and photos of defective trains carried out during inspections.

Trains are often in locations underground or not in range of mobile networks, so the app had to be fully functional when offline.

The app needed to be suitable to use whilst outdoors in the dark and cold.

Our Solution

Working together with their engineers, we were able to determine what was really needed very quickly.

To be able to work offline, we knew that each tablet would need its own local database, which would synchronise later. However, it soon became apparent that the specification document for the app was several years old, rendering the application unfit for purpose. The application needed to be replaced urgently before an imminent major inspection, and before our agreed delivery date.

We established the key priorities required for the app inspection date. Following this, we worked on necessary but less time-critical features including report generation and data synchronisation.

The Result

We delivered the essential app ahead of schedule, in time for the major inspection.

Softwire’s approach enabled us to quickly respond to an unexpected change of deadline with no disruption to the end user.

As Angel had been regularly testing our interim releases and giving feedback on our progress, no significant changes were required to the initial release of the app despite the challenging timescale.

The new application is not only more robust, reliable and easy to maintain, it is also much more suited to its purpose, and thus much more efficient. It frees the train engineer’s time up so they can concentrate on keeping their stock running safely.

Angel Trains

C#, WPF, SQL Server, Entity Framework

The project
A client app with data synchronization challenges and complex reporting requirements.

The results
An easy UI for work on the go, delivered ahead of schedule.