• ContrOCC Hackday V – Part 1

    Luke Canvin

    Our ContrOCC hackdays give our developers a day to work on tweaks, gripes, improvements, or whole new features of their choosing and then sharing those with the rest of the team. We have plenty of projects to talk about again this year so I have split this post in two; we’ll post the remaining projects soon. Here is the first set: Code analysis – Adam and Tomasz B Database schema documentation via metadata – Alan Upgrade AllTheThings to .NET 4.5[...]

  • Adding a text size widget to your site using CSS and Sass

    Luke Canvin

    A requirement we hear from many of our Government customers is that a sizable number of their users with sight impairment prefer to have a text size widget on-screen when they browse a website. These accessibility widgets are tough to implement cleanly using HTML and CSS but the advent of CSS preprocessors such as Sass and LESS make the job much easier. In this post we’ll see how we can use Sass to create a text size widget. What we’re[...]

  • Research behind Virtual Assay wins Prize

    Janine Smith

    Oliver Britton, a DPhil student in the Department of Computer Sciences, University of Oxford, has won an international prize for his paper on a new computer model of cardiac electrophysiology. The National Centre for the Replacement, Refinement and Reduction of Animals in Research (NC3Rs) awarded Ollie the prize for its potential to reduce the number of animals used in drug testing. He plans to use the prize grant for further research to apply the methodology in neuroscience. OCC has been[...]

  • Compiling Sass with Gulp in Visual Studio

    Luke Canvin

    We love visual studio at OCC. It’s an incredible IDE for software and web development and Microsoft put amazing effort into keeping up with the direction developers find themselves moving. In this case we’re talking front end web development and specifically: Gulp.js – a JavaScript-powered automated build system that uses Node to perform the tasks you find yourself doing over and over Sass – a language extending CSS (that is compiled to produce CSS) to give developers more power when[...]

  • Search engine rankings for Social Care: the 001 Taxi Problem

    John Boyle

    If you’re more than 20 years old you will remember the annual delivery of your local telephone directory; the thud as it lands heavily in your hallway, often with a crumpled cover, a testament to the efforts of the delivery boy to fit the tightly published pages through your letter box. For me, this directory was my first exposure to search engine rankings, with its wonderfully named 001 Aardvark Taxis vying angrily with 001 Ace taxis for first place in[...]

  • Asynchronous processing in SQL with Service Broker

    Julian Fletcher

    SQL Server Service Broker was introduced in Microsoft SQL Server 2005 and this article suggests several uses, the most significant of which is probably the ability to do asynchronous processing. Service Broker might be seen as the database equivalent of Microsoft Message Queuing. In this scenario, a synchronous process can put a message on a queue and then complete immediately (i.e. return control to the user). A separate process can then take this message off the queue and perform some[...]

  • ContrOCC Hackday IV – Part 2

    Luke Canvin

    Carrying on from our first post following the results of our developers’ adventures in the most recent ContrOCC hackday, here is the final set of projects: Graphically presenting performance information to the lay developer – Julian Fletcher Cleaning up the developer documentation – Maciej Luszczynski CSV Merger – Matthew Clarke F#/C# – Nathan-Madonna Byers ContrOCC version manager – Nigel Palmer An executable imports/exports specification – Patrick Donkor Improving code integrity checks – Steph Sharp Migration from within the ContrOCC UI[...]

  • ContrOCC Hackday IV – Part 1

    Luke Canvin

    Our ContrOCC hackdays give our developers a day to work on tweaks, gripes, improvements, or whole new features of their choosing and then sharing those with the rest of the team. This year we have so many team members I have split this post in two; we’ll post the remaining projects soon. Here is the first set: Converting the distributed tests config file to XML – Alan Carter Converting ContrOCC tools to use Git – Chris Griggs Visualising the ContrOCC Database – Chris[...]

  • Merry Christmas from the ContrOCC Development Team

    Chris Henry

    This picture was generated based on the most common words in the user guide for the upcoming ContrOCC version 8 roadmap release. Client, Service, Care and Package are seen to be important as are Financial, Payment, and Charging. More prosaic common words are dictionary, date, default, report, see, and used. Our thanks to the entertaining wordle.net which made this fun and easy to do.

  • The rise of self-service social care

    John Boyle

    Imagine you’ve been asked to think up a really difficult technical challenge. Well how about delivering health and social care on line, using self-service portals, to frail and elderly citizens? For good measure, imagine that those people need your services to be as simple and familiar as Amazon or Google and that the people funding you are Local Authorities, facing budget cuts in the order of 60%. Oh and you have to ensure accessibility – from PCs, tablets, mobile phones,[...]

  • The key to building innovation

    Luke Canvin

    Jeff Gothelf is the author of Lean UX, a book that plugs into the theory of The Lean Startup and looks at how User Experience design processes fit in with the Lean approach. Jeff was interviewed by Communitech News and described what he believes is the key to building an innovative product or company: Talk to your customers. I mean, really have the humility to listen to your customers. Learn what it is that they love about your product; learn[...]

  • National Grid showcasing three OCC-partnered projects at LCNI

    Janine Smith

    National Grid will be showcasing three of their OCC-partnered projects at the Low Carbon Networks & Innovation Conference (LCNI) in Aberdeen, 20-22 October 2014. The conference is a platform for gas and electricity network operators to showcase projects sponsored under their NIA and NIC innovation schemes. The OCC-partnered projects are: Ramp Rate Study System: an interface to a numerical modelling tool that allows engineers to study the effects of a sudden change in gas pressure (“ramping”) on the network. Standards[...]

  • ASP.NET Web API on Linux and Apache with Mono

    Mike Hewlett

    We had a requirement at OCC to build a RESTful web service that would be able to run on both Windows and Linux servers. Someone suggested we give Mono a look to see if we would be able to use the ASP.NET Web API framework served up by the Apache Web Server on Linux. That sounded great; we have a lot of experience with the .NET Framework and a lot of experience with Linux but so far have not brought[...]

  • Digital Health Hackday

    Janine Smith

    David Hannaford and Mark Stone attended Digital Health Oxford’s Hackday, held at the Oxford Launchpad in Said Business School, Oxford, over the weekend of 12th and 13th July. David’s team came 2nd for the data visualization tool they built to enable a doctor to show a patient their survival rate if they are at risk from cardiac issues. The app calculates the survival rate of an individual by looking at data on risk factors, such as age, weight, blood pressure,[...]