Blockbox translates to 'Blokkendoos' in Dutch. Blokkendoos is the name of a Windows (VB) application written by one of our clients.
What does it do? (short version)
In The Netherlands, we have some large rivers such as the Maas and the IJssel. A bunch of measures can be taken to alter (improve) their characteristics. Blokkendoos presents a list of measures which the user can apply on a river to see the effect they will have in a graph and on a map.
They asked Nelen & Schuurmans to 'port' this traditional desktop app to the web.
Porting, in this case, involves a lot more than you'd think:
- Transition from desktop to client-server architecture.
- An HTML interface, with IE7 compatibility as a must-have.
- Keeping 'state' in a stateless environment (HTTP).
- Data untangling.
At the same time, the map had to be added to the mix (it wasn't built into the original VB app)
- Django / Lizard as the base of the app
- Backbone.js to structure the clientside coffeescript
- Coffeescript to produce more readable code
- OpenLayers, jQuery, Flot (for the graph)
- FxCanvas for making Flot perform reasonably (instead of excanvas)
- X-Accel for serving factsheets
Issues for the Blockbox specifically are gathered at Github: