January 5, 2019
Lineas is a private railway company that moves cargo from one place to another place. To make sure the transfer happens safely, train drivers have to call a central station to make sure no other train was in a specific zone. They asked icapps if they could build an app the CMS that could manage this process. I have worked on this project at icapps. We were with one backend developer and one Android developer. I had taken over the project from another Android developer that had done the proof of concept.
The app basically manages where the position of the cargo and trains. A CMS contains all the data and the app just shows the data for that specific user. Every device had to be updated when a train driver blocked into a zone. Notifications had to be shown when another train driver could enter a requested zone. We had to set up alarm messages to notify the train driver every x minutes, to leave a zone, when someone had requested to enter that specific zone. For that, I used the Evernote android-job library. It manages the alarms you setup and makes sure that it works on every device. Because let’s be honest setting an alarm in Android contains a lot of if-else cases for every Android OS.
During development, we had some real challenges. Many I had never done before. For example, WebSockets was something I had never done properly before. Although the setup is very easy to get started. But when you got a problem in your WebSocket code, backend or frontend, it is not always easy to find the problem. In fact, I sat down a couple of times with the backend developer to figure out what he was doing wrong. The other way around happened as well, where the backend dev sat down with me to figure out if I was doing something wrong.
While debugging, logs were critical to figure out potential bugs. Because everything has to update automatically and multiple updates are sometimes received at the same time, debugging was not an option. I wrote Riddle to tackle this problem. More info in the Riddle page.
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