SES gets Unique site solution

When it comes to natural disasters such as floods, storms or rural road accidents, Australia's Sate Emergency Service volunteers are first on the scene, providing expert assistance and rescue.

Training volunteers --- some 53,000 nationwide -- to this level of professionalism has traditionally been a disjointed procedure. Normally, this information, such as best-practice chainsaw handling or road crash management, has been contained in paper documents located in hundreds of SES offices nationwide, and if not on paper, stuck in an SES trainer's head.

In a bid to gather these ideas and best practices, and to better disseminate them to and train new and existing volunteers, the ASES decided to build a Web site that would contain these important training manuals. The site would also include a bulletin board for members as well as a reference library of books.

Consequently, the ASES put out to tender early last year and selected Uniqueworld to build its site.

"We wanted to build up a resource so trainers get easy access to information, so that this information is consistent, safer and relevant," said Rick Stone, ASES manager of learning and development. "How they [Uniqueworld] went about this was not important to us," he said.

Uniqueworld decided Microsoft's .NET platform would best achieve the ASES's tender criteria.

The four software developers who worked on the site used a range of Microsoft products and tools including Visual Studio.NET, .NET Framework, C#, ADO.NET, VB.NET and ASP.NET. Other Microsoft products used to deploy the Web site include Windows 2000 Server and SQL Server 2000.

Uniqueworld's managing director, Eddie Geller, said using Visual Studio .NET provided an ability to increase the performance of its developers, due to its detailed event logging. "There's a lot more information than in other server products. For example, Visual Studio .NET identifies the exact line where a coding problem has occurred and tells you how to fix it," he said.

Geller said the solution they supplied provides ASES with an "ease of source code management, performance management and XML Web Services for content delivery".

For safety reasons, the site requires users to register before they can peruse its content. "Some of the activities could be dangerous if done by inexperienced people," Stone said.

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