Archive | Software

RSS feed for this section

New Invoicing features for ParaPlan Desktop

01 May

 

Amazon WorkSpaces

We have added two new features to our billing and invoicing system that make it more powerful than ever. 

Export to Excel

Data portability is so important. Information moves faster than ever these days. Removing manual data entry means that you can work more quickly and with fewer mistakes. ParaPlan already supports automatic importing of trips from popular trip brokerage providers like LogistiCare, Southeastrans, MTM and others. We also support exporting to Excel for all of our custom queries and many of our 100+ custom reports. This means that you can print a nicely formatted report that displays your ridership statistics or you can export a data-only file to feed into other systems.

We extended this Excel functionality to Invoices today. This is very exciting as it allows our clients to create raw Excel files that can be uploaded into 3rd party systems for quicker and more accurate payments.

Automation gets us giddy. Now our clients can perform the following workflow for trips from acceptance to payment without entering a single piece of data!

-Dispatcher Claire downloads new batch trip import file from brokerage.

-Claire imports trips into ParaPlan. Not a single name, address nor time has to be typed.

-Claire uses ParaPlan Autoschedule to determine the best routes for the new imported trips.

-Driver Joe gets an alert on his iPad that he has new trips to perform and starts his route.

-As Joe performs his trips, he swipes on his iPad to mark that he picked up and dropped off his clients. ParaPlan Mobile automatically keeps track of his odometer and the times that he performed the trips. Now Joe doesn’t have to write anything down, so he can focus on getting to his stops safely and on time. If a client isn’t there, he can No-Show them directly from his iPad.

-At the end of the day, Claire opens up ParaPlan Invoicing. She can select all the trips that were done today (and the No-Shows if she desires) and generate an Excel file of the actual times, odometers and any other information the brokerage may request for payments. We can even capture a client signature for Claire.

-The Excel file is uploaded to the broker for quick and easy payments.

Multiple Invoice Templates

Previously, users had to go through the hassle of changing the default system Invoice template if they wanted to generate differently formatted invoices. Now it is as simple as selecting the template you’d like to use before clicking the print button. Of course, your default template is pre-selected, so no extra clicks are needed to perform normal invoicing. 

Find out more

Today, we made our software easier and removed manual steps in our client’s workflow. If you would like to learn more about how EnGraph can simplify your Paratransit or NEMT operation, contact us or call Kyle at 913-735-6651.

 

How updates work in ParaPlan

09 May

Launching application with ClickOnce

 

We use a technology called ClickOnce to keep all of our clients up-to-date on the latest version of ParaPlan Desktop. ClickOnce enables our software to install over the internet and perform background updates over the internet. ParaPlan automatically checks for updates and install them in the background while the user continues to perform their tasks in ParaPlan. The next time the user starts using ParaPlan, they will be using the newer version. We have the ability to let the user know they need to update in the case of a major update that impacts the database. Most cases, the user doesn’t even know the update has been applied. We find this provides a level of continuity with the software experience that users appreciate.

We also don’t check for updates until AFTER they have started working. We feel that people open our software to get stuff done and the last thing they want to concern themselves with is downloading and installing a new update when they have work to do!

Manually initiate an update

Sidebar about

 

A user can always check the About screen to see the current version of the software and the date the software was released. Launching this screen will also perform a manual check for updates. If an update was found, it will display that to the user and let them know when they need to restart.

Lifecycle of an update

We develop our Windows software using Microsoft Visual Studio. We use a product called Team Foundation Server (TFS) to manage all of our builds. Here is the entire lifecycle of an update.

  1. A new feature is added to ParaPlan in Visual Studio.
  2. The feature is checked into our internal testing queue.
  3. Manual and automatic tests (unit tests) are performed.
  4. If all the tests pass, the feature is checked into the release branch of TFS.
  5. TFS compiles the new feature into ParaPlan and runs another set of automatic tests.
  6. If those tests pass, TFS builds a .application with the new feature and places it on software.engraph.com.
  7. On each client’s computer, ParaPlan will check software.engraph.com for a new version of the .application file every four hours.
  8. If a new version is found, ParaPlan will download the new feature and install it while the user is still working in ParaPlan.
  9. If the new feature is very important, ParaPlan will alert the user and instruct them to restart ParaPlan.
  10. If it was not a crucial update, the user will continue to work in the old version. The next time they restart, they will have the new version.

From a development standpoint, the process is completely automated outside of the manual testing process. This allows us to push out frequent updates and support a large number of clients.

From a user’s standpoint, their experience is contiguous as they receive new updates. We can push out frequent updates without the user having their workflow interrupted.