Social Networking App Development for Construction Professionals

  • Collaborative environment for construction industry specialists
  • Web and desktop apps to collaborate on multi-format technical documents
  • Solution supported by leading AEC companies
Expertise
Social Networking
Content & Document Management
Verticals
Construction

Iflexion helped a tech startup develop and launch an image-sharing social network for construction professionals, thus leading the project through initial funding stages.

  • Ruby
  • Ruby on Rails
  • Oracle
  • Micorosoft .NET
Calendar
11
Duration
Months
Gears
45
Efforts
Person-months

Context

Our Customer is a US-based technology startup that planned to launch a document-sharing and social networking application. Tailored specifically to the needs of construction professionals, such as architects, engineers, manufacturers and their clients, the solution was designed to combine the functionality of a file storage, a social network, and a collaboration workspace.

Challenge

For the majority of startups, the primary challenge is to pass early funding stages and make their solutions enter the selected consumer markets. With a sound concept behind the networking application, our Customer wanted to be sure that its technical aspect is faultless, which would allow them to attract the needed investment. To successfully accomplish the social networking app development, the Customer partnered with Iflexion.

Solution

The developed system handles large amounts of files types, including but not limited to CAD (computer-aided design) drawings, helping players in the architecture, engineering and construction (AEC) industry to collaborate efficiently.  

Drawing on the capabilities of Ruby on Rails web development, the solution allows for secure sharing and discussing project-related documents while building connections between individuals and companies (design agencies, engineering bureaus, etc.) within their projects.

The developed application enables users to handle a large number of construction files, including CAD drawings, as well as helps architecture, engineering and construction (AEC) industry players collaborate on common projects, discuss project challenges, exchange ideas, and find optimal solutions together.

The solution allows users to securely share and discuss project documents and images, and connects construction specialists, companies operating in the AEC industry (design and construction agencies, engineering bureaus, etc.) and their customers. Users can upload drawings to the system, search for and borrow construction images from an extensive library of templates and other publicly shared projects. Working with the app, users are able to either create new projects or join the existing ones.

The web-based application covers the following functionality:

  • File sharing – using this feature, users can not only exchange technical documents, images, and drawings but also create private and publicly accessed file portfolios.
  • Conversation boards – users collaborate on dedicated conversation boards, which allows splitting discussions by topics and finding particular threads easier.
  • File versioning – users can restore older file versions easily and see version history of a particular file.
  • Networking – users can join construction projects and build connections right within the app.
  • Geotagging – users can set up and change location parameters within their construction projects.

Desktop clients running on Microsoft Windows and macOS automatically sync files across computers, keeping them backed up online.

Development Process

To develop the solution, Iflexion’s software engineers chose Ruby on Rails web application framework due to its flexibility, which allows for a quicker deployment and a shorter time to market.

Iflexion’s experienced Ruby on Rails developers and QA engineers joined the Customer’s on-site team remotely. Our specialists were responsible for requirements analysis, the solution’s development and testing of the web application and the desktop clients integrated with it.

Considering a tough development timeline, particularly during the initial project phases, Iflexion’s specialists delivered new features within short time periods. QA engineers backed them up to ensure the solution’s high quality.

Advocating agile project management methodologies, the Customer embraced the Scrum software development practices that Iflexion applied. Backlog grooming meetings were held weekly to ensure timely requirements clarification and quick adoption of requirement changes.

As soon as the social networking app development was completed, Iflexion went on with assisting the Customer in launching the application. During the project, Iflexion’s specialists also helped the startup to prepare patent documents.

Technologies

The web application built with Ruby on Rails is based on a model-view-controller (MVC) architecture pattern and leverages Pjax module to progressively enhance page loading. Cloud-hosted MySQL, an open source relational database management system, forms the app’s database layer. Iflexion’s .NET and Objective-C developers built desktop clients integrated with the application.

Integrated with Oracle AutoVue, the solution enables users to collaborate on multi-format technical documents without installing additional CAD tools. Integrated with Google Maps, the solution allows users to add geotags that automatically land on the selected projects.

Results

Over 10 AEC companies that invested in the project adopted the ready-made solution. The solution’s public beta version was released shortly after the application passed the funding stage. Iflexion kept on extending the application functionality and tuning it in line with the users’ feedbacks and requests.

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