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Finance and Investment Software on the NetBeans Platform

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Finance and Investment Software on the NetBeans Platform

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My name is Brian Jenkins, and I am the Chief Financial Officer and Chief Information Officer for Newport Service Corporation. The company provides computer services to several companies in the retail hard assets marketplace; one of which is Monaco Rare Coins (“Monaco”).

Monaco is a rare coin dealer, which establishes a market where its customers can buy and sell rare coins. Monaco has grown significantly in the last several years, and recently found itself struggling to maintain its excellent customer service in the face of this growth. In its effort to improve its efficiency and better enable its sales force to service its customers, Monaco's management enlisted the company to design and write a system to fully integrate the customer service and sales processes with its back-end legacy systems.

Specifically, I was responsible for the design and the development of the system, which was eventually named the Account Representative Information System ("ARIS"). The Price Screen with a coin image is shown below, with further screenshots at the end of the article.

System (ARIS)

Monaco has Account Representatives (“AR”) who interact with the company's customers and potential customers (collectively known as “customers”) from a single physical location by telephone.  In order for them to provide the best possible service, a dual monitor, unified rich client application was needed which would have the following features:

  • Allow for real-time CRUD processing of customer information, much of which is stored in legacy VMS/RMS systems. This information includes contact information, transaction information, customer documents (statements, confirms, and tax reports), shipment status,
    and more.  The system's UI had to allow an AR to manage multiple customers views at once;

  • Provide voice and email communication facilities.  The UI had to include a phone interface for live call management and components for retaining caller history and related metrics;

  • Provide access to the company's inventory information, which is stored in its legacy systems.  The UI had to display descriptive and pricing information, as well as images for every item available for sale.  Additionally, this information had to update itself whenever inventory related information changed in the company's legacy systems;

  • The ability to create and save contact lists based on search criteria;

  • A predictive dialer for calling phone numbers associated with multiple marketing campaigns;

  • A UI for notification management.  In conjunction with this project, the company modified its legacy systems to generate events for many back-end system related actions, like customer receipts or disbursements, customer emails, shipment status changes, inventory updates, etc.  The system had to listen for these events, generate internal notifications, and produce a UI update, providing feedback and information regarding the event to the AR;

  • A video player, which would allow an AR to watch the company's television commercials and web videos;

  • A web browser, which would allow an AR to access the company's websites; and more.

Screenshots

  • Call Activity 

  • Notifications 

  • PDS Center 

Software Stack

  • Linux – Client OS

  • NetBeans Platform – Development framework

  • Asterisk – Open source PBX framework

  • ActiveMQ -  Enterprise messaging software

  • Digital Synergy, Inc. RMS JDBC Driver – Software interface to RMS databases

Conclusion

NetBeans is fabulous. We've been using the IDE for over a decade now (started with NetBeans IDE 3.5), and the NetBeans Platform for the last four years. We've written NetBeans Platform, Java EE, and just about anything Java with it. And, sometimes, at the same time!

I can't say enough great things about the NetBeans Platform. It really does make the impossible easy. With the first application behind us, we now have an incredible amount of infrastructure to leverage, and we will be doing just that using the NetBeans Platform. 

In the short run, we anticipate writing several applications for visualizing the data that we're now collecting and running these applications on systems with very large displays distributed throughout our building. In the long run, anything and everything... because it's possible!

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