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Elementool taps .NET for Web services strategy

The provider of hosted project management software rewrote its site in .NET technologies and is beta-testing a Web services interface.

Elementool Inc., a provider of Web-based hosted products for managing software development projects, recently overhauled its site using .NET technologies, and is in beta with a new Web services interface. With the upgrades, Elementool said it can offer more robust performance to its users, and allow access to project information without the need to log in to Elementool.

Elementool, based in New York City, has three hosted offerings: help desk, bug and defect tracking, and time tracking. According to CEO Yaron Sinai, Elementool completely rewrote its code, moving from Active Server Pages (ASP) and Visual Basic to ASP.NET, Visual Basic .NET and C#.

After we finished the .NET migration it was very easy to add a Web services feature.
Yaron Sinai
CEOElementool Inc.

Sinai said the migration to .NET took about five months to complete. "Now everything is working with .NET and we've seen an enormous increase in performance; it's almost 10 times faster," he said. "For a report with 3,000 records, it used to take 60 seconds to create; now it's about six seconds.

"Our customers had been asking about how they can integrate their remote systems with their Elementool account, and have the option to submit bugs without the need to log in," Sinai said. "We had a solution [previously], but it wasn't a complete solution; after we finished the .NET migration it was very easy to add a Web services feature."

In addition to the ability to submit bugs to the bug tracking site without logging in, Sinai said, project managers can now get information on the status of a development project via the Web services interface. "You can create reports that show the progress of a project, how many open bugs there are, how many are fixed," Sinai said. "Sometimes you have a project manager who is not familiar with Elementool and he doesn't want to log in and search; he just wants to click on a button. With Web services and XML, you can create an application that displays the information to a project manager and he doesn't need to log in."

Elementool also plans to develop a Web services integration with Visual Studio .NET. "We're going to design an add-on that will enable users to access their account without leaving the Visual Studio interface," Sinai said. "We'll have a list of reports they can access in the Visual Studio interface by clicking on the report. They don't need to log in; it will all be done through a Web service."

Sinai said Elementool, founded in 2000, has about 800 customers, including large enterprises like Walt Disney Co., DaimlerChrysler AG and Unisys.

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Unisys uses Elementool bug tracking for its distributed development projects. "People who work on a project can expose a subset of information to the customer," said Weston Morris, senior software architect in Unisys' Enterprise Transformation Services. "They can contribute to a process and register issues, without exposing all the dirty laundry underneath."

"If you've got a large infrastructure for defect tracking that you set up in-house, the downside is it's very difficult to expose that information to the customer. You end up developing an integration project just to get that information to the customer. Elementool is Web based, so you get up and running quickly, and the customer really likes it."

Elementool is in beta with the new Web services interface. The company expects general availability by the end of June.

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