20 years in 20 weeks - part 1

June 22, 2020

1. Founding of WITS and first full year

The first week of the "20 years in 20 weeks" goes back to the year of founding, 2000, and the first full year of activity: 2001.

Before the founding of WITS, Wim had already worked for Progress Software Italy in particular for the major customers Costa Crociere and Fondiaria and as an external consultant for various customers.

One customer WITS visited for Progress Software was Sanyo Argoclima. The company had an in-house developed information system and was looking for a web interface to access the data, like e.g. a delivery plan. During the initial meeting Wim met Sergio Porro who later facilitated the contacts between WITS and CSBF Informatica.

Besides the consultancy for Progress Software, WITS also continued to work for NCR Netherlands on the IBS project together with Jacques Bais and Tom Koenders, in particular the stock module. Already in November, just a few days after the start of activiy, an on-site visit in Amsterdam was planned to present the newly founded company and set the objectives for the upcoming period.

A first full year 2001

2001 was the first full year of activity and also the most productive year ever in the history of WITS.

Working contemporary for Progress Software Italy, NCR Netherlands and starting in september also with CSBF Informatica for the city of Milano, WITS' agenda was fully booked!

For Progress Software Italy WITS worked for several major customers as well as some smaller internal and external software development projects.

For NCR Netherlands, and later the scandinavian countries, a tool IMPulse was developed to facilitate closed loop interfaces between different systems.

Contacts between Wim from WITS and Franco Clerice from CSBF Informatica were facilitated by Sergio Porro from Sanyo Argoclima who knew both companies and owners. Together they developed a new information system for the city of Milano, social services department.

Progress Software Italy

Starting 1998 Wim had already worked for Progress Software Italy as an external consultant. With the founding of WITS the collaboration intensified and many projects were done for the major customers as well as specific consultancy and development for other customers.

Fondiaria - SOLE project

The most important project in the year 2001 was the modernization project SOLE for Fondiaria. The goal of the project was to take the existing host based character application to a new Progress Webclient / AppServer implementation. The decision to adopt this freshly released combination was the result of a great team working together from Progress Software (Mario Petazzini, Claudio Invernizzi, Achille Franzetti, Marco Squintani and Wim van der Ham) and a customer willing to make the jump. The customer team was led by Luca Lena and sponsored by Giolitto. Although initially there was a plan to create a Progress WebSpeed based solution with Web UI, with the introduction of the WebClient and the ADM2 development framework, the final decision was to migrate from the original host-based ChUI to WebClient Progress GUI on Windows in combination with the Progress AppServer.

WITS made sure the project was succesful by having international top consultants like Progress Guru Peter van Dam partecipate in the initial design phase and define best practices for WebClient/AppServer development which was new for a lot of us. Peter had already developed a framework for the Webclient development and brought in the required experience to set a sound standard for development.

Costa Crociere

Another major customer was Costa Crociere. Costa had just bought the source code of the TTG application from Discovery Travel Systems and needed to do code analysis as an intake procedure. WITS developed and delivered ProSCADT, a Source Code Analysis and Documentation Tool for Progress applications. Along side, after having delivered Progress DBA courses to Costa Crociere employees, as well as the migration of six separate databases to one single database, WITS analyzed and implemented the high availabilty with After Imaging and Backup procedures.

Other Progress consultancy

Progress consultancy was also delivered for Festival cruises and Information Consulting.

Internal and external development projects

The development project initiated in 2000 for Sanyo Argoclima continued also in 2001 taking the original idea to a full implementation using Progress Webspeed.

Another Proof-of-Concept project was done for Comet. In this project a handheld terminal scanner with an integrated web browser was used to scan barcodes of items and through Progress Webspeed returned product information and stock levels. This was the basis for a procedure to do automatic checking of shipment notes.

Every year Whirlpool sponsered an initiative for innovative proposals and that year an internal shopping was sponsered. The solutions called "Pick-Up-N-Go" allowed employees from Whirlpool to do shopping on-line in a company portal and have the goods delivered inside the company office. The payments of the goods and services where directly taken from the employee's salary. WITS did maintenance on the solution together wih Rob Kamp from Vitalogic (a Dutch Progress partner). Rob had already lived in Milano and was eager to do this job in his second home country. The original solution was developed by Mike Fechner.

NCR Netherlands

Maintenance of the IBS application continued and ended in 2001 while closed loop interfaces where created to the Dispatch/1 system.

CSBF Informatica

After some Progress consultancy delivered in May, WITS and CSBF Informatica worked together on modernizing the information system for the social service department of the city of Milano.

Development started in august and september 2001 and continued for the rest of the year and many years after that. The original team was made up of Franco and Simone Clerici and Wim van der Ham from WITS. The stakeholder for the city of Milano was Piera Toletti and the staff for the EDP office "ufficio CED" was composed of Elda Pisani and Paolo Tondelli.

PUG Challenge 2001

On the 21st of september Wim visited the Dutch PUG Challenge 2001 in Veldhoven. It was the beginning of a long series of yearly conferences Wim visited and not only as a delegate. But that's another story.

Find the word!

As announced in the initial article, in every part of the "20 years in 20 weeks" series there's a hidden word to be found. In the last episode you will have gathered 19 words to make up a phrase. The words won't be supplied in the correct order but in the last part you will get a hint to help you out.

In order to find the word you must take the specified letters of the indicated names (of people, companies, applications, tools, etc.).

E.g. "Supplier of the development environment (8 letters, take the last)" would give the "s" from the name "Progress".

  1. Name of a team member of the NCR Netherlands IBS project (3 letters, take the first)
  2. Tool to implement closed loop interfaces (7 letters, take the first)
  3. City for which an application for the social services departement was developed (6 letters, take the first)
  4. Family name of the original developer of the solution for Whirlpool (7 letters, take the second)

You should now have a word composed of 4 letters. Come back next week for the next part and the next word.

Back to "Celebrating 20 years of WITS in 20 weeks"

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