July 2018

Client work

I have recently been working on a new module for a medical web software system.

The new module serves the purpose of collecting information for a medical support helpline.

Essentially people can ring the medical helpline and the support staff at the other end of the phone can use the system to enter various details.

Details about the caller, medical patient, details about the illness and about the call can all be stored within the system.

So far I have been implementing a massive form which has loads of input fields as well as a case notes section.

The module has been built on the Yii 2 framework which is what the rest of the system is built in.

The Yii 2 framework is a framework built using the PHP programming language.

The form has an associated grid which lists all the current cases or records. The grid is searchable and sortable.

The database for the module was created using the Yii 2 migrations and SQL.

Migrations are a library within the framework which allow you to write code to generate the database.

Migrations can be rolled forwards and backwards so allow a way of versioning the database.

The case notes section includes an Ajax form along with a good looking styled list view.

At its most basic Ajax is a way of communicating with the server from the browser in the background using Javascript.

Which means from a user standpoint the page does not need to reload when adding new case notes.

PHPStorm IDE

For this project I have actually been using a new program called PHPStorm …

https://www.jetbrains.com/phpstorm

I needed to use this as part of the project as PHPStorm was part of the clients requirements as the client also uses PHPStorm.

PHPStorm has a lot more features than the text editor program I was using before because PHPStorm is an IDE and not a text editor.

IDE mean Integrated Development Environment.

PHPStorm takes some getting use to as one would expect but by the looks of things PHPStorm will be worth it the more I learn about it.

I like the way PHPStorm provides information about areas of the code such as class / function definitions.

I also like the way PHPStorm provides the class structure of the project.

There is a lot more to PHPStorm than this though.

The text editor I was using before was called TextMate …

https://macromates.com

I really like TextMate and I will most likely still use TextMate for some of my personal projects.

Although TextMate has a lot less features the feel of it is more slicker and less clunky than PHPStorm.

Also as one would expect due to its smaller feature set.

Toolkit new report feature

I have added a new report to my custom built business management system named Toolkit.

I built the system a while ago to collect information on various areas of my business.

I have added a new report to the system which shows me how many hours I have spent on a particular project and the cost of the project so far.

The cost is calculated by multiplying the number of hours by the project rate or rates.

I already had many reports in this Toolkit system but this has been needed for a while now.

It makes it easier when I can just click on a project and see how many hours I have spent on the project and how much money the project has been billed for so far.

So that concludes the work I have been doing recently.

Internal system – Toolkit

I have been using a web based product called ActiveCollab for sometime now …

https://activecollab.com

I have been using ActiveCollab since version 4. When ActiveCollab 5 was introduced it had a complete redesign, less features and a more slick user interface.

More features have been introduced to ActiveCollab 5 though since it was first released.

ActiveCollab is a project management system that also handles Time Tracking and Invoicing plus more.

I will continue using ActiveCollab for projects / task management however for other areas of my business I have created my own internal tool which I have named “Toolkit”.

I built my own system because I wanted a system that would do the following …

Estimate earnings
Fixed fee and retainer projects are entered into the Toolkit. The Toolkit can then estimate monthly and yearly earnings based on the projects entered. The projects also includes a way for me to manage all the projects I am working on.

Incomings
The Toolkit has an area in which all incomings can be entered. The incomings can then be exported in a format appropriate for my accountant.

Outgoings
The Toolkit has an area in which all outgoings can be entered. The outgoings can then be exported in a format appropriate for my accountant.

Mileage
The Toolkit has an area in which all mileages can be entered. The mileages can then be exported in a format appropriate for my accountant.

Leads
The Toolkit has an area in which leads can be managed. I actually pulled this area out of the Neptune – Lead Tracker – http://www.neptuneleadtracker.com software system.

CRM
The Toolkit includes an area in which all the companies and people I have worked for can be managed. ActiveCollab does actually include this feature but the Toolkit version allows more advanced search features and has fields on the create / update forms to match my exact needs.

Timetracking
The Toolkit includes an area in which all time entries can be tracked. ActiveCollab does have this feature.

Invoicing
The Toolkit includes an area in which invoices can be created. Invoices can also be generated from time entries. ActiveCollab does include this feature but the Toolkit version matches my exact needs precisely.

Notes
The Toolkit includes an area to keep notes. ActiveCollab does include this feature.

Files
The Toolkit includes an area to upload files. ActiveCollab does include this feature.

ActiveCollab has a more slick, beautiful user interface but in terms of functionality built specifically for myself obviously the Toolkit wins.

The Toolkit is primarily made up of CRUD screens, no fancy UI / Ajax heavy screens here. Just datagrids and buttons.

I am in the process of live testing the Toolkit I have built and will be moving various functions of my business over to the Toolkit.