What began as a kind of super project-management system for a large defense contractor has grown into an online business system for any organization needing enterprise-wide project-management and collaboration tools. Built on the solid foundation provided by HP’s application server (HP-AS), Project.net enables executives, project managers, even project-team members to see the big picture and collaborate more effectively than ever before. One client in Japan is using Project.net as the backbone of a collaborative sales-automation system, using i-Mode phones to communicate, check inventory, and book orders.
Project.net provides software for project-based companies. Project.net’s products enable project management, team collaboration, project portals, project extranets, project offices, portfolio management, and executive dashboards. Created in 1999, the privately held company is based in San Diego, CA.
A Japanese customer asked Project.net to help it develop a collaborative sales-force automation solution based on the Project.net J2EE collaboration engine. The client wanted its sales representatives to be able to access the system through i-Mode wireless phones and to be able to view information in the system in Japanese character sets.
Using HP-AS features, XSL style sheets, and Tag libraries, Project.net was able to develop just the solution that its customer required. Project.net successfully created its solution even using i-Mode wireless phones, which present particular technical challenges because, unlike WAP phones, they do not present unique session identifiers.
The flexibility of HP-AS made it possible for Project.net developers to create a new session-management server that could work with custom tags and custom tag libraries to manage individual i-Mode phone interactions. And because HP-AS pushes XML messages out to its client devices, the use of XSL style sheets enabled Project.net’s client to present the information to end users using i-Mode phones. Moreover, the use of TagLibs in the presenting JSPs enabled Project.net to add Japanese language support, which in turn enabled Project.net to deliver a breakthrough solution that was precisely what its client needed.
Internationalizing the Solution
Customizing Project.net’s solution to accommodate the Japanese language requirement was also a challenge Project.net solved through the use of TagLibs and through close work with HP. “We created a token lookup that manages the translation of any piece of text that may appear in a different language,” says Roger Bly, CEO of Project.net. “We don’t put the words themselves on the Java server page (JSP), just the tag for the lookup. So when the JSP displays the page, it contains the user’s selected language and character set — in this case Japanese.”
To ensure a successful implementation, Project.net worked closely with HP to help internationalize HP-AS’s predecessor, Total-E-Server version 7.3. HPAS 8.0 benefited from this collaboration when it was debuted with a robust, configurable, JSP1.2/Servlet2.3 I18n fully compliant servlet container.
“When we initially decided to bring our product to market,” recalls Bly, “we knew we wanted to use the best technology we could get. Hewlett-Packard was the technical leader. The way HP’s Application Server handles XML messages is perfectly consistent with our strategy for handling them. It was a good match at the beginning and remains a good match today.”