Case Study - DSX 5 Framework - 2009-2024

Mission Statement

DSX 5 was developed to resolve a number of specific challenges and produce a scalable framework for amendable applications.

Having learned much from the previous versions and with clients demanding ever more, this build was special.

  • Needed to produce systems faster than by hand.  Development time was too expensive for many customers
  • Needed to produce "Raw Source Code" that clients could own and importantly customize
  • Needed to support multi lingual and multi-currency applications
  • Needed to move away from the "Live Generation" and interpreters used by earlier DSX versions
  • Needed to give us a way of managing updates and keeping old systems fresh

The end Result became known as DSX 5 Framework which delivered:-

  • Mix of pre-compiled and Customer-amendable components
  • Future proofed "Managed Customer Applications" with automated updates
  • Modular C# design allowing customizations and extensions
  • Expanded with 3 major upgrades so far
    • 5.1 Content Engine, CMS API, SiteMaker Toolkit, Document Generators and enhanced DALC APIs
    • 5.2 WebUI.  Our unique process to separate designers, coders and content writers into 3 distinct work streams
    • 5.2.2 Performance Special.  With a little fine tuning we realised a great performance boost could be applied to every 5.x application - simply by republishing them with a new trick!  Yet again, old applications were re-born!

Applications Built using DSX 5.0

DSX 5.0 established a common model for all our code - so each and every customer's system was not just built in the same way - but could be upgraded in the same way.

Traditional software development generates a long term cost problem in keeping different systems up to date - and worst of all, applications become stale and no longer relevant.

Our DSX strategy is designed precisely to solve this problem - we want to make sure our applications last a lifetime - and can be regularly updated without the need for manual recoding

  • DevStudio 5.0 Application Builder (Non Public, Internal)
    • Our in-house development toolkit not only builds DSX applications - but is built on DSX.
    • CodeStep's first commercial "Chicken and Egg" solution

  • WebCare 2009 Business Finance and Support Desk (Internal and Pitching Demonstration)
    • A simple and lightweight IT Support and Management tool used as a demo for future work

  • AccountAbility 2010 Commercial Project Management Suite
    • Uniquely designed in combination with Illusionfactor - we partnered to create a new solution that would become the foundation of a new generation of Sales, Marketing and CRM solutions

  • Chevrolet Connect 2010 International Automotive Communications Platform
    • In partnership with Illusionfactor - we developed a European-wide solution spanning 15 countries and available in 14 languages used by thousands of users

DSX 5.1 - Generation 2 - Introducing WebDesk Shell

Whilst DSX 5 solved the coding model - we next needed to solve the delivery model.

Our next strategy was to develop 2 fundamental ways of standardising our applications - focusing on the User Interfaces and mechanisms for loading them.

The first - very similar to traditional "master pages" allows all our applications to be independent of the customers design layout yet integrating seamlessly

The second - was to create a new "shell" - we wanted to standardise how our applications looked - giving customers the chance to not just build multiple applications in a common way - but to later integrate them seamlessly into one single Business Management Suite for all their departments and teams to share - lowing the TCO as well as reducing training and support costs

Most importantly - we needed to make sure any application built for one, could instantly work in the other without any re-coding.

Our original shell was a little controversial - and not everyone was ready for it.  But later - we found all our applications moving to it once we ironed out some design issues, and customers began to see the advantage of providing web applications in a way that worked like traditional desktop apps.  No more endless tabs, browser popups or needing to remember which feature was found where.

Our shell simplifies the way our applications are navigated - and provides a technical API allowing some clever integration tricks whilst ensuring each application still works independently, cross browser, and later - cross devices with support for tablets and mobiles.

  • Chevrolet Network Assistance 2012 + 2015 British Automotive Retailer Comms & Application Suite
    • In partnership with Illustionfactor - we updated a 10 year old system to use our latest DSX based platform - sharing components with the Connect Europe system - this was tailored to the UK and Irish markets

  • WebDesk 2012 Business Framework
    • Based on the partnership with Illusionfactor - WebDesk was a spin off using CodeStep's latest DSX and WebDesk Shell technologies - but tailored for the Self Employed business person - giving us a high-quality suite to operate just like big companies

  • DevStudio 5.1 Solution Manager (Internal and Partners)
    • An updated version of our tools - this time focused on allowing 3rd party suppliers to use our tools to help build solutions

  • CodeStep's Content Engine and CMS Toolkit
    • A commercially ready version of our Content Engine that had been years in the making was finally ready to lay the framework for a new developer-focused CMS system

  • Sharon Emildoro Prototype Public Gallery
    • Designed as a prototype to demonstrate CodeStep's unique CMS platform - David's cousin kindly contributed to create a gallery site to show off her hobby-turned-professional photography business

DSX 5.1 / 5.2 - Generation 3 - Introducing SiteMaker

Our next stage of development focused on bringing content creators into the software development process.

We developed a CMS framework unlike any other - ours wasn't designed to just create websites - it was designed to be programmatically used by developers to generate content pages, user interfaces and create an independent work stream so non-technical designers could change software design

  • WebDesk SiteMaker 2015
    • Based on Sharon's prototype - SiteMaker became a fully integrated and standalone product in its own right.

  • Thread's SalesPro 2016
    • A revamped version of AccountAbility - we took our partners unique Management Suite and updated it to use the latest components and technology

  • Spice Travel Management System 2017 - A migration of a 1980's style system to a web based live multi-user system
    • Updated again in 2019 with a Managed API Framework - A custom built solution giving the ability to work with the clients' other systems
    • TMS was the first commercial prototype for our WebUI design separation technology - with the customer taking a bold step to help us road test this in a real live setting
    • Our new SignalR based API, Locking Mechanisms and JSON API foundation was kindly developed by working with their developers to create a prototype for what came later

  • WebDesk 2018 Shell R2 w/Mobile Support & DSX Basic Website 2018
    • A special version of our shell showcasing Mobile Support within the WebDesk Shell, and automatic detection code to change the webpage depending on device type
    • All previous systems that contained DSX Managed Applications and used WebDesk Shell, could now work on mobiles without any re-coding
    • New Style Guide & Bootstrap CSS modelling as developed by our design partners

  • Thread's SalesPro 2018 & 2018 R2
    • An upgrade to SalesPro 2016, this included the Custom Document and Process Management Suite built on DSX 5.1 Content Engine

  • WebDesk 2019 Business Management Framework (Native Apps)
    • A more focused version of our existing solution - this one removed all the hand-written applications and replaced them all with DSX generated Managed Applications

  • Thread's SalesPro 2019
    • An updated version of the existing solution - with a more powerful Proposal Generation solution and Graphs for instant visual display of management data
    • Including a new prototype "Excel-grid" model - this one gives an early preview to automatically generated spreadsheet viewing of database solutions

  • DevStudio In-Browser App Editors 5.3 Alpha (Limited Trial)
    • An updated version of our core Development Suite - using the latest engine that powers all our solutions

  • WebDesk Partner and Suppliers Collaboration Portal Alpha (Limited Trial)
    • Used as a trial with one of our partners to collaborate on customer solutions - we used this to gauge how non-programmers could work - allowing them to customize our applications and tailor them to customer brands
    • Designed to be a plugin module for any WebDesk based solution - it would allow suppliers to login directly to a customers application and make design changes live

  • DSX Basic Website 2021 (Release 2106)
    • An updated build of our basic platform - using our new version of WebDesk Shell, regenerated administration tools from the latest DSX framework and modifications to prepare for the next release and standards for our bespoke Customer Design Packs
    • Uses a newer Socket IO based loading method - creating a more modular framework for future custom UI's, applications and interoperability
    • Updated SiteMaker CMS, Page Rendering and Content Editing controls
    • New Pre-loading scripts to ensure the server compiles and caches every Managed Application in memory before users use the system - resulting in much faster load times of every page
    • New diagnostic check tool to ensure every application starts - with alerting for technical support should anything go wrong
    • Built in Support Ticket process with SMS/Email alert facilities available - the moment any user logs a support issue, CodeStep is made aware without the need for any 3rd party tools or phone calls and gives the users the chance to send their current browser window directly to support for diagnostic assistance

DSX 5.2.2 - Generation 4 - Tuned and Simpler

Generation 4 was all about taking a break from adding new things - and instead streamlining what we have, simplifying routines and processes to make everything more economical

We spent months analysing code, routines and processes to understand what could be improved - and as always, offering our unique upgrade cycle so every DSX 5.0, 5.1 or 5.2 based system could simply be "re-published" to take advantage of all the new ways of working

  • EQ's SalesPro CRM 2021 Bespoke Solution
    • A 100% custom data solution built using DSX, running in our new version of WebDesk Shell 2021
    • One of our first commercial suites to use our new streamlined model, faster shell and our scalable UI design method that allowed our Partners, Thread Group, to produce a fully branded and highly scaleable generation of their SalesPro solutions for their customer
    • With designs created as always by our fantastic design partners - Thread could deliver their unique business and marketing strategy to their new customer - with custom design palettes, graphics and beautiful icons by a new local design specialist
    • This solution was designed to be more flexible, faster to edit and less-complex to develop across multiple suppliers and partners
    • Designed to use the "Live-Edit" model - any developer can change the code, using any text-editor of their choice
    • The first deployment of a DSX Application to come with automatically generated....
      • Technical summaries and analysis of every feature, data point as well as deployment statistics for the customers reference
      • Security analysis report - no longer requiring any hand written code and giving a real time analysis of risks and configuration issues for auditing purposes
    • The first application to use the Thread SalesPro Agile development process with 17 sprints across 6 categories of scope
    • The first to use CodeStep's "3-2-1 Launch Control" of Beta, Release Candidates and Launch version control - resulting in a perfect launch & bug free

  • CodeStep UK's WebDesk Pro 2022 (Multi-Division Special) - Exclusive to CodeStep.UK's team members
    • CodeStep UK's new Process Management Suite - designed for our business to serve our customers even faster
    • New Contracts Management tool allows us to manage all future contracts, terms and support levels and generate bespoke documentation
    • New Estimate system ensuring every customer knows all the details of any project or service without manual paperwork
    • New Prototype Commerce solution - a skeleton of what is coming later
    • New Prototype Customer Requirements Capture tool - ensuring we can survey our customers' needs in a robust way, with built in learning and expansion tools
    • New Integration with SiteMaker to ensure CodeStep has a single tool for everything we do, accessible by all our team members and partners from any device
    • New Demonstration of our latest WebDesk Shell solution - with a more modular, robust and flexible navigation solution
    • New API Support Desk allowing any customer application built (or updated) after Nov '21 to directly integrate support tickets and service desks with CodeStep's team members and partners - improving the SLA opportunities and turnaround times
    • New Maintenance Planning tool allowing our Account Managers to deliver schedules to Support Partners
    • New Franchise Management tool - allows multiple businesses to collaborate under a single system on projects, with independent accounting and reporting tools - suiitable for our businesses and partners with multiple divisions and legal entities to collaborate on large scale solutions across different skillsets and disciplines
    • Multi-Account Reconciliation to seperate division and trading account payments into individually reportable audit trails

  • CodeStep UK's WebDeskPro 2022 Q2 - Our Quarterly Feature Update
    • New ISO Management & Delegation Mapping tool allows us to visualise the organisation structures, and report on responsible persons and contacts
    • Updating Banking and Reconcilation tracking tools
    • Performance Update for pre-loading code and modules

  • CodeStep UK's DSX Studio 5.3 (June 2022)
    • Our latest development toolkit streamlined and improved to produce our customer solutions even faster than ever before
    • API Driven Asynchronous Publishing Management tools allows up to 90% performance improvement over previous versions - never again are our developers waiting!
    • A cleaner version of the toolkit has removed aging and no longer used components - simplifying the setup and rapid prototyping process
    • An enhanced wizard process allows new levels of customizations and management of our customer solutions - with a more verbose interface for faster learning and delivery
    • An API modelled solution paving the way for more complex integrations and service based development options in future versions
    • Our first case study of rapid interactive demo building - trialled with our new customer - we developed a new interactive prototype in less than 2 days - something which previously would take around 2 weeks
    • Introducing our new Managed Application Specification, Version 2.1 - Cleaner, simpler and easier to develop new features for
    • Our first version of our Risk Assessment and Management Lifecycle Toolkit - Our new toolkit allows our developers to create DPIA information as builds progress - saving time and delivering accuracy in a way that reduces cost and protects the customers.  Paving the way for automated GDPR and DPIA auditing, cleansing and rapid anonymising of data storage across the entire customers solution.  Trialled with our new customer - we have completed a detailed and trackable risk assessment analysis of tne entire solution - in just 2 hours.

  • DSX Basic Website 2022 - Our annual update incorporating all the performance improvements from the latest DSX 5.2.2 specification
    • Includes additional browser support, allowing older machines and low-memory devices to access applications in a simple way
    • Additional modes allowing users to customize how the applications behave, from simple interfaces to advanced controls
    • Additional security protection
    • All the built in management tools are now updated to the latest 5.2.2 framework specification with additional features and better performance
    • All the built in management tools are updated to Managed App Specification Version 2.1 - Cleaner, simpler and ready for the next generation of features

  • EQ's SalesPro CRM 2022 Edition
    • An updated build including some process adjustments and additional tailored features.
    • Upgraded to the latest DSX Basic Website 2022 base platform with performance and feature updates
    • A customer launch version following the internal trial and review stage
    • Republished using a later V2 Managed App spec including all the improvements since the original release, and ready to be updated to v2.1 when the customer requires it

  • EQ's SalesPro CRM 2022 Version R2
    • An updated business model with additional fields, modified layouts and streamlined process for additional users
    • Built using our latest Basic's platform and Shell - this system provides a preview of our new Split Screen process and context driven window manager
    • A trial selection of applications have been upgraded to V 2.1 - providing the additional window handling code and prepared for our major 2.2 upgrade coming soon

  • SiteMaker Developer Edition 2022 - Specifically designed for developers, SiteMaker allows rapid page building from within a browser without any additional software
    • In-browser asset libraries and code editors for JavaScript/CSS resources
    • Combines with the Gallery Management tool for easier site management
    • Easy assignment of overrides to the rendering features of individual content items
    • Built on the DSX Content Engine allowing customization and API development of any CMS process, application or toolkit

  • Managed Apps 2.2
    • A faster loading model and adapted design patterns give us a simpler, smarter and faster solution delivery process
    • Additional features such as Excel style grids, more granular permissions and enhanced plugin expansion support allow us to tailor the solutions in more detailed and unique ways for each customer, with easy data export and office-style familiarity
    • An enhanced plugin model allows 3rd party developers and human created solutions to integrate seamlessly, with a focus on performance
    • A seamless upgrade path is available - meaning 2.2 will not just compliment old solutions - but will update them all at no cost to customers

  • EQ's SalesPro CRM 2023 now live across the UK
    • With the business expanding the tools to new departments - the solution has been updated and tailored to work how their additional staff require
    • Updated to include features from our latest 2.2 standard in 2 core applications - existing tools were republished using new tricks and techniques to offer additional functionality - without the need to recreate anything and without any manual recoding

DSX 5.2.3 - Laying the groundwork for future versions

Version 5.2.3 of our framework is an interim release - fully compatible with all 5.2.x applications, and as always, a free upgrade to current customers

  • Includes some of the features from the upcoming 5.3 release - security, performance and a minor remodel of the framework core
  • Updated 3rd party dependencies including .Net libraries
  • Designed to help bridge the gap with the upcoming 5.3 and 5.4 releases

  • EQ's SalesPro CRM 2023 Q2 Release
    • An upgraded build based on framework version 5.2.3, with all the remaining applications upgraded to Managed Apps 2.2 free of charge
    • Minor client changes included

  • Project Hourglass - Time Warping Databases now available to all!
    • Our latest platform now offers our uniqie "time-warping" databases - allowing any query to be run for any given point in time - giving customers the ability to look at any data for any period of history - run ad-hoc SQL queries, perform Point In Time calculations and generate data based on past states - well into the future. 
    • As simple as querying a standatd flat table - our platform does all the hard work so developers and applications don't have to!
    • Never again be held back by "limited snapshots" or those "we didn't know we needed that at the time" problems!
    • Using standard development techniques - reports and data extraction can be written with just one simple parameter specifying the point in time.  No more complex development cycles for this complex feature

  • ComCare 2023 - Feature Complete - A new Showcase Solution
    • A brand new system based on our latest 2.2 standard - our new solution will deliver time saving and management solutions to a specialised industry client
    • Delivered in partnership with our best providers and our new service partner - this new solution provides a modern cloud service to solve a once time consuming and difficult data handling process for the customer
    • Built to a precise specification defined by the customer - a truely bespoke solution solves problems that the industry leading software providers could not offer
    • Developed in our modern Studio - a record breaker for prototyping speed, interactive pitch showcasing and ready for the years to come
    • This solution has proven our latest framework for development works - our customer was magnificant in working to our new standards - breaking the mould of how traditional vendors and service providers manage the development cycle  - and the results speak for themselves!
    • A fully interactive prototype was put together in just 2 days! - With the final build expected to be even faster than ever before, and as always - tailored to the customers needs
    • As with all our major customers - this system was upgraded free of charge to framework version 5.2.3 as soon as it was available
    • Additional customer features added as part of their extended development plan
    • Fully complete "Project Hourglass" functionality allows any point-in-time database query to be run against their data, without complex coding

  •  CodeStep UK's WebDesk Pro 2023 Q4 - an ISO Standards Focused Edition
    • Every application was upgraded to Managed Apps 2.2
    • Additional Finance features and controls with enhanced wizards for multi-division businesses
    • more granular access model allowing delegation of auditing and finance reconciliation to accounting companies
    • New Contracts System - Our new inheritance model for documents allows stacking of documents just like software - so every Terms and Conditions document can be inherited and expanded as each client demands.  The new platform is also the foundataion for our Policy and Procedures and Operational Procedures - so each and ever stage of the service model is fully documented, and available to our staff and supplier teams to deliver the very best service.  Updating multiple documents is as easy as editing just one file!
    • New Resource Register - Our new directory of services and equipment allows any member of staff to radidly look up all the elements of a single service, whether searching by client or resource type, or identification tag - with a full dependency report and linking to the new Contracts and Procedures system - we can quickly scale up our service model with a fully tracked and documented approach - great for disaster recovery and planning.  It even drives our new Service Status pages - with changes to one automatically flowing to every item that is dependent or affected!
    • ISO Focused - as our business grows to become ISO procedure driven - our WebDesk package has been specifically updated to target all the mundane and paperwork processes needed to acheive a high level of quality and redundancy - ensuring even in the biggest disaster - our team can handle problems and processes with ease

Coming Soon!

As with all our solutions, there is always something around the corner!

  • DreamServer DSX 5.3 - Release Candidate - Expected to launch in Q1 of 2024
    • A new model of the platform is preparing for a significant shift in technologies coming in versions 5.5 and 6.0
    • Specifically targeting the seperation of new and old Microsoft Framework structures - our new structure allows for both the legacy standards and the newer standards to work together - provided as seperate packages that developers can pick and choose from
    • Provides the ability to run on non-web hosts - shrinking the footprint, and expanding the services reach beyond web applications
    • A simple 6-step upgrade process for all existing SaaS customers
    • The new architecture paves the way for Code-Porting to different platforms and hosting providers
    • New System Wizard allow the creation and deployment of brand new systems with a simple 3 stage process - fully automated for developers
    • Enhanced API allows new systems to be programatically created and deployed with the new StudioWizard API
    • Our recent "Project Hourglass" Point-In-Time Time-Warping Database structure now available as standard - and can be installed to any legacy solution with just a few simple steps

  • Basics Branding - Currently in development
    • Our illustrator Michelle has been busy cooking up a new set of graphics for all our basic applications
    • New Icons and buttons bring a fresher feel, with modernised graphics that run through all our tools
    • Our designer Dan has been helping us streamline our latest design process - ensuring all the modern standards are met with our basic platform, and developing our new strategy that will form part of each and every bespoke solution we build iin the future.  He has also helped us deliver a new strategy for development processes - ensuring multiple teams of people can work independently yet collaboratively across locations without any more double handling of assets, or developers treading on designers toes!

  • DreamServer 5.4 and 5.5 - Currently in development
    • Our roadmap for the future continues.....
    • 5.4 will become a "future model" replacement - preparing for the next major 6.0 and 7.0 service platforms that will change how systems are delivered for the next 10 years
      • The aim is to become platform independent - allowing solutions built on Windows, to be hosted on Linux, both under x64 and ARM
    • 5.5 is planned to be the last iteration of the 5.x Service Strategy - yet will be specifically built to run side-by-side with the new 6.0 and 7.0 services

DSX Framework 5.2.3 is the current and latest live commercial version of the DreamServer Development Framework Strategy

Managed Apps 2.2 is the latest manufactured application specification for all our customers, built on the DSX framework

 Quick Contact

  (Open in new window)