Database Management for Smalltalk

ClassWare GmbH

ClassWare GmbH

 

CashTime fits the Bill

 
“Today most people work in service industries, not in factories”, said Thomas Holzer, CEO of ClassWare GmbH, a German software company using VOSS 3.0.

CashTime is a VisualAge Smalltalk application for billing time-related professional services such as accounting, consulting, software development etc.  In particular CashTime manages the calculation of expenses incurred when a consultant travels to a client’s site.

“In Germany travel expenses are a complicated thing.”, pointed out Holzer.  “There are sophisticated regulations, on a per diem basis, describing what kind of travel expenses can be paid without incurring tax.”

CashTime calculates all travel expenses according to German law and bills the consultant’s billable hours to the client.  First the contract model between the client and the service company is user-defined in CashTime, then the working time periods of each consultant or service person are entered.  CashTime then generates the corresponding bills on demand, according to the defined contract conditions.

To store the data of this application, ClassWare decided to use Logic Arts VOSS 3.0.  This decision was built upon test-driving some object oriented databases.

“VOSS showed for us the most streamlined approach without breaking the Smalltalk programming style.”, said Holzer.  “The other thing important to us was the great support from Logic Arts.  Although we started with a beta version for VisualAge, most things went fine, and those problems which did occur in the beta version were immediate fixed.”

The future of CashTime is the internet.  ClassWare is now developing a web based client to enable editing of the time sheets and travel expenses from any place in the world.

 CashTime User Interface

CashTime User Interface

ReiseKosten Logo
ClassWare GmbH has built a second application using Logic Arts VOSS 3.0

This web-based travel expenses system called www.reisekosten.de started with experiments towards the end of 1998 in which VOSS showed good capabilities as a 24×7 application server, then during 1999 the application was developed according to the first customer’s requirements.

Thomas Holzer, ClassWare CEO (thomas.holzer@classware.de), said “The main advantage of an object oriented database it that there is no need to take apart of the objects into tables and rows of a relational database.  RDB is as though you take apart your car when you put it in the garage in the evening into the thousands of parts it consists of.  And then in the morning you put these parts back together into a car.  With an OODB you put the car as whole in the garage.”

“A second big advantage of VOSS is that it allowed us to change and add functionality to the application without having to change a database schema as in a relational database.  The database is just persistent business objects - when we changed the business logic, the database changed with it.”

www.reisekosten.de allows the user to manage travel expenses in a internet browser according to the German statutory rules.  It also includes approval workflow, interfaces to ERP software like SAP and security protocols such as SLL.  The main advantage of web deployment is that no additional software is needed on the traveller’s or administrator’s desktop, just a browser and internet or intranet connection.

www.reisekosten.de is based of the idea of the employee self service.  Each user enters his travel expenses directly, and his superior approves the trip electronically in his browser after receiving an email that has told him that there is a trip to approve.  The user can also print his expenses reports at a local printer.  The reports are generated with XML, so they can easily be customized to the customer’s needs using XSL, since there is no layout information stored in www.reisekosten.de.  The layout is stored in the XSL.

The advantage is a faster and optimized travel expenses business process which gives the customer a fast return on investment.  Since the German statutory law is one of the most complex in the world and it also changes often, a zero installation on the user’s desktop saves software roll out and delivery costs.  Since travel expenses receipts usually account for up to two thirds of all receipts of a company, an automated solution directly from employee to accounting system saves a lot of manual accounting work.

ClassWare offers additionally a feed to the American Express Corporate Card.  Users of this will find the receipts paid for by the credit card already in an in-box.  There is no need to enter the receipts manually.

There is also an off-line client in which the user can enter his receipts on a laptop in a plane etc.  After the user returns to his desk he can transfer the receipts to his www.reisekosten.de server.

The user’s company is additionally freed of system management tasks like database backup, software and hardware update installation etc, when the software is used directly from the internet in the ASP (Application Service Provider) mode.  Alternatively www.reisekosten.de can run in a customer’s intranet.

ReiseKosten User Interface

www.reisekosten.de




 

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