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The little waste management app that could

by Webbuilders Group

Pictou County Solid Waste Management needed to transition from a complex paper based management information system to a fully functioning web based application. Using SilverStripe as the framework, we were able to build a tool that addressed all of our client’s challenges. We were also able to build the tool in such a way it is now re-deployable as an app for similar organizations across a larger marketplace.

The little waste management app that could (Webbuilders Group)

The Client: Pictou County Solid Waste 

Pictou County Solid Waste manages the waste and recycling programs for a regional municipality in Nova Scotia, Canada. Their operations require the generation of on-going detailed information on equipment, staff and incidence reporting. Management needed to make the transition from a paper based information and control system to a web based application. 

The Challenge

The biggest challenge was building a tool that presented a user friendly experience regardless of the range of technical skill levels of the users, while still managing large amounts of complex information. The tool also needed to generate reports in a very specific format that summarized information from various sections of the system and that often involved a series of intricate calculations.

The Solution

SilverStripe's extremely flexible framework simplified the building of this tool. SilverStripe handles the web application fundamentals, providing the strong foundation for interfaces with the database as well as the controls for user interaction. This allowed us to focus on UX and functionality. SilverStripe's permission structure also gave us the ability to control user access to certain areas of the system, including some administrative only tools such as member management and general employee management. 

The entire tool would have taken us much longer to build without using the SilverStripe Framework. Without SilverStripe we would have to create our own MVC (model view controller) framework that would not only handle the user interaction but also the database interaction and display of the information back to the user. 

The SilverStripe architecture also allowed us to build the tool in a way that made it more easily redeployed with future clients. The end product is much more portable. We can support Microsoft SQL, Postgres SQL and even SQLite database engines without having to rebuild the tool each time. It inherently supports multiple web server technologies. For rebranding purposes, we were able to build in controls that allow us to easily swap out logos and various other pieces of text. Because SilverStripe provides multilingual support we are able to translate the entire system into any language/locale.  

Key technical functionality 

  • Equipment management/Tracking
    Allows for tracking information about vehicles and other equipment such as
    • Operator
    • license plate/serial/module number
    • service logs/records.
  • Employee daily attendance tracking 
  • Illegal Issue tracking/reporting
    Allows for tracking of details about reported illegal issues for a "site" such as illegal burning or dumping
  • Hotline issues
    Allows for tracking of issues from residential callers that report various issues
  • ICI
    Allows for tracking of issues with or from commercial callers, it could be an issue with a specific hauler or other.
  • Reporting
    Generates a periodic report that is sent to a larger regional regulator. This summarizes much of the data over a specific period of time and converts it into print format

Technologies used

  • SilverStripe Framework 
  • jQuery and jQuery.entwine
  • Chosen.js

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