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First Line Software was engaged to develop new functionality for what was a static portal to automate the ability for customers to order and pay for a range of services as well as maintain and optimize the performance of the system.

The client

Our client is the largest logistics enterprise operating in Russia with 41,900 post office locations and 350,000 employees. It provides a wide range of services including domestic and international parcel delivery, mail, acceptance of payments, pensions and allowances payments, and money transfers, to one billion customers annually.

Previously, our customer’s Internet presence was simply a static information site. The company needed to start providing customer service capabilities. Users of this interactive client portal were able to calculate postage and shipping costs, track packages, and search for specific post office locations by entering certain parameters, and order courier deliveries.

While the client’s portal had an impressive list of services from the start, it quickly became necessary for the site to be in constant state of development. There has been a continuous flow of new services and capabilities requests to be built and implemented.

Project scope

First Line Software was engaged to develop new functionality for what was a static portal to automate the ability for customers to order and pay for a range of services as well as maintain and optimize the performance of the system.

The solution

A First Line Software team of specialists implemented several major improvements to the customer’s portal:

  • No form required for parcel mailing

When calculating the delivery cost of a mailing, the user can assign a parcel track number through the Portal. The only thing left for them to do is hand off the item to the post office or request a courier to pick up and mail or deliver the item.

  • Online payment

Initially, only Moscow residents could use the portal to make payments for mail and shipping costs. Over time, the customer started supplying the necessary equipment to other post offices and regions. This made it possible to simultaneously expand the service of accepting online payments on the portal to other residents in the country.

  • Prompting and geolocation service

Specific prompts related to entering addresses online were developed instead of using third-party commercial products. The customer's address was verified with an internal online service which validated the address information entered by the user and notified users of incorrectly entered address information, then integrated the data with any forms.

  • Request a courier

The portal user can submit a request for a courier to pick up and deliver the mail or package by completing a simple form.

  • Delivery to the postamat (automated parcel terminal)

This function allows the client to order mail delivery to the postamat using an application form on the portal which also allows them to track the delivery status to the terminal.

  • User’s postcards

The user can use their own design elements to create a postcard and order it to be mailed.

  • SMS notification of delivery status

For convenient tracking of the mail or package, the user can request SMS notification of the delivery status.

The result

During a period of six months FLS implemented and scaled up several important business functions for the customer’s portal. Their ability to complete the project within a short period of time was due in part to the team’s technical expertise, as well as a customized and continuously optimized flexible development process.

The technology

  • PostgreSQL is object-relational database management system (DBMS).
  • Apache Maven is a framework for project assembly automation.
  • Liferay is a platform used to build portals with integration to corporate applications.
  • REST (HTTP/JSON) is the main protocol for inter-service integration.
  • Java Development Kit 8 is a Java language application developer's kit that includes a Java(javac) compiler, standard Java class libraries, examples, documentation, various utilities and a Java Runtime Environment system (JRE).
  • JRE is the minimum implementation of a virtual machine required to run a Java application without a compiler or other development tools.
  • Apache Tomcat is an open source servlet container developed by the Apache Software Foundation.
  • Apache Solr is an open source full-text search platform based on the Apache Lucene project.
  • Apache Cassandra is a distributed database management system that belongs to the NoSQL-systems class. It is designed to create highly scalable and reliable repositories of huge data arrays presented in the form of hash.
  • Apache ehcache is a universal distributed caching system for Java applications and services.
  • SOAP Web Service is a structured messaging protocol used in a distributed computing environment.
  • JSP is a technology used to create content that has both static and dynamic components.
  • Feign is a simple and flexible HTTP client that is natively integrated with Ribbon and Hystrix.
  • Swagger is a framework and specification for defining REST APIs in a user-friendly and computer-friendly format.
  • Hazelcast is a Java-based open source data grid.
  • Protobuf is a structured data serialization protocol.
  • Jetty is a Servlet container.
  • RabbitMQ is a message queue.
  • Netflix Feign is a Rest interaction.
  • Netflix Hystrix is Circuit Breaker fuse pattern implementation, which gives control over delays and errors in network calls.
  • Apache Maven is a project assembly.
  • Slimer.js is an engine used to generate PDF and PNG images.
  • Apache Freemarker Templates are output templates.
  • Ehcache is an open source code Java cache for general purpose caching.
  • Liquibase is a database migration management tool.
  • Vert.x is an application server.
  • Vaadin is a freely distributed framework used to create RIA web applications.

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Client References

I want to express my gratitude for all of your team’s hard work, support and extra help. We are very grateful for all that you have done for us.

Senior Project Manager, a U.S. specialty digital design and web development agency

Your quality of work is exceptional, and your flexible approach has allowed us to build and deploy a large amount of complex functionality in a very short space of time. Kudos to everyone for their professionalism and for delivering results that exceeded our expectations.

CEO, leading social media analytics provider

We have never had a better release that we can think of. And that is all because of your hard and dedicated work. So here is a big THANK YOU to everyone from all of us!

Editor, leading Scandinavian newspaper

For a software vendor like ourselves, picking the right development partner is crucial. First Line’s technical expertise and solid project management, coupled with their proficiency in Agile methodologies, have made them an integral part of our product development group.

VP Product Development, leading enterprise software vendor

Our First Line Team has been doing a great job. All of the guys check in great code, and they have a forward thinking mindset, not a feature-to-feature approach. They are also very open in terms of sharing knowledge, which is critical to running productive distributed teams.

Application Development Director, global marketing company

We've all learned a lot from you, and it is great working with you.

Application Development Director, global marketing company

The First Line team has an excellent process and we can learn from your team and improve.

Product Owner, Strategic Software Consultancy

I would like to thank the First Line development team for their dedication and high level of quality in their work. Despite being thousands of miles apart, we have been able to work quickly, effectively, and intelligently. Your team has been a major part of why we have been successful thus far.

VP Engineering, e-learning startup

First Line is a great technology partner capable of delivering complex, ‘industrial grade’ projects. They have demonstrated strong technical competence and solid understanding of the media and publishing domain. We have also been very impressed by the management team's attention to our needs and commitment to our success.

CEO, leading European digital media company

Your effort is the #1 reason that this project is going so well. I've worked with a lot of teams over the years and there are very few teams that I trust and respect. When you are given a task or feature, I never have to worry whether or not it will be accomplished on time and I never worry about the quality - you always deliver.

Architect, Strategic Software Consultancy

The team we put together in the last half of this year is one of the most productive, skilled and enjoyable I’ve ever worked on. It’s great to see the product brought to life, and I’m proud to work with all you folks.

Senior Architect, Fortune 100 company

The First Line Software team is professional, results driven, and proactive. I know that when we provide requirements for new functionality, they will not only deliver on the scope of what has been asked but will look beyond and give insight into how we can make our product even better. It has been a privilege to work with First Line Software, and I look forward to continuing our partnership in future.

VP, global marketing company
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David Tedford

Vice President

David Tedford has over 20 years of sales experience within the IT/software industry. He excels at being immersed in a customer's environment, understanding his customers requirements, crafting solutions to meet those requirements, and ultimately providing solutions to his customers.

Vladimir Litoshenko

Senior Vice President

As the head of business development for First Line Software, Vladimir heads up business development in Western Europe and Russia.


Vladimir began his career in IT in 2002, when, as a student of Faculty of Automation of Computer Science of the First Electrotechnical University (ETU “LETI”), he began his work at The Morfizpribor Central Research Institute (CRI). Vladimir joined the StarSoft team (predecessor of First Line Software) in 2004 as a Junior Software Developer. As he gained experience with more and more projects, he was promoted to leadership roles.

Richard Leslie

UK Business Development

Richard has over 15 years of sales and account management expertise in the IT and Tech sector. He has worked on many outsourcing engagements with global companies.

David Fien

Director

David is a business development professional with more than 20 years’ experience as a specialist in the acquisition of partnerships and IT/software services for associations, not-for profits and corporations in Australia, New Zealand and USA. He has specific expertise in the healthcare, legal and hospitality industries.