ASP.Net case management CMS document management legal software

Is it better to extend or rewrite

I have been dealing with this conondrum for sometime now. The problem, well its not really a problem. Lets say that its an opportunity then. I have this opportunity to develop some software for a small legal practise I know of. They are very small, tiny is closer to the description as it consists of a single solicitor and spouse as the unpaid ‘volunteer’ helping out.

This person approached me a while back to come up with a small and cheap system which would provide basic needs of case management. They also want something that can build bundles a lot easier than the very manual process the have now.

So over the past while I have umm’d and ahhh’d over this. Being a software programmer, but mainly in desktop and database applications I have no contact at all with the legal case management area. So do what everyone else in my situation does. I google.

After a lot of looking around, I’ve come to the conclusion that I can either take a CMS and extend it to perform legal case management. Or I can write on from scratch. The latter does sound tempting as tying yourself into an existing framework can hamper some future customisations one wishes to do. Then there is technology, .Net or LAMP? (well there are more choices than that really).

Not being an expert in web technologies I have to decide this without really knowing anything. Who do I ask?  Maybe somebody in LinkedIn knows?

My choices are:

  • CiviCRM and extend it.
  • DotNetNuke and extend
  • Build from scratch on LAMP
  • Build from scratch on ASP.Net

The technology choices are quite open as I’d have to learn ASP.Net or PHP or whatever anyway. Though I’d rather stay away from MySQL and stick with something better like SQL Server and I do like Linq. So one choice made, it must be on ASP.Net!

Then I found this book Pro ASP.NET 4.0 CMS. I started to think. Yeah, all the source, no licences at all. Sounds good. Sounds very good.

Me and gang at Chameeya are gonna give this a go.

ASP.Net CUPS Printing SAMBA Windows Server

CUPS and SAMBA a match made in h…

In this entry I’ll be going on about the printers setup in the office. Currently there are two network printers, one Samsung and one MFP as Konica-Minolta BizHub 250. The printers are not currently controlled by a print server. Mainly because we don’t want the printers to rely on a single machine, which may be turned off and prevent printing to happen.

So as an experiment I setup a CUPS server on the small Linux box which would serve the Samsung. Getting CUPS going wasn’t hard, but gettin the printer driver on was hard. The printer driver didn’t show up during the setup, eventhough I am sure that there was a driver available. I also downloaded a setup from Samsung which didn’t go through 100%. End result I did get the printer going.

Getting the printing going from the other Linux (CentOS) machine I have. It instantly showed up in the printers listing. Being used to Windows I then attempted to setup the printer drivers. The Samsung install would not work on CentOS, but eventually I determined that a driver was not needed. Linux printing is quite clever!

Next up was getting my small Linux box to server the printer through SAMBA and also support Point’n Print. The printer was automatically exposed by SAMBA the moment I installed the CUPS driver. Point’n Print was a bit tricky to get working. It doesn’t help that I didn’t fully read the manual! I got the driver installed and got the Point’n Print to install the correct driver, but when I did a test page, Windows spooler and window manager crashed! Repeatedly, Because being a idiot I just kept trying it again and again.

I gave up on it and had to uninstall the drivers and files using the rpc interface (not a very well written piece of software BTW). And then after that I learn that I had to setup the printer information by manipulating the printer setting first. Saving the information and then using test page is supposed to work. By this time I had pulled out the Samsung CD and installed the driver from it.

It does seem to work reasonable except for a few niggles. If the printer is off the print queue get hung and jobs never get printed even after I turn the printer on. I have to kill the jobs and re-print, which doesn’t come in hang if I’ve printed off a webpage receipt. I also don’t get the printer queue properly displaying on the status bar. So far I’m only using CUPS as an experiment until I sort these issues.

I’ve got a potential contract who wants a mini e-commerce website built. Just an excuse to learn ASP.Net and try and get a demo working. I does work in the development environment, but attempting to install it onto IIS 5.0 gives a Metabase access error. I’m sorting that out…more next time.