We have developed many bespoke programs. Here are some examples.
We had a contract to replace a DOS system that estimated the costs of flat roofing.
This is a complex process.
There may be several roof sections on a building. A section can contain several layers of material. Some materials need underlays, or adhesive or gas. Labour has to be included.
McMillan provided a spreadsheet style grid which allowed a section to be built up a layer at a time. This pulled information from a database to compute the cost of each layer. We provided maintentance of the database of materials, suppliers, the links between materials in a layer, and other data. We ported the data from the DOS system.
Usually when you buy a plant from a garden centre, the plant will be sold with a plastic label. This label will typically show the name of the plant and 3 or 4 lines describing it. The price will be on the label, as will a bar code.
These labels are printed by the growing nurseries.
McMillan had a contract for a nursery to provide an interface to a special printer that produced these labels. We provided a form that allowed the users to select a plant, the quantity and the selling price for the garden centre. Our program read the plant details from a database of many thousands of plants. It generated the bar code, assembled the data for the labels and printed the required number on a special printer.
Shaw & Sons have been a publisher since 1750. One of their main products is a range of paper forms which are sold to solicitors and local councils. Shaws print virtually every form a council might need, and most forms for solicitors. In the latter case, the forms are often prescribed by bodies such as the Land Registry, the courts service or Companies House. It was vital to convert these forms to a computer based product.
John started advising Shaws in 1995. He launched a sample product based on a 3rd party package. He went on to produce an application to Shaws' exact needs. He assisted in recruiting a team to support and market the package which was launched as 'Forms on Disk' in September 1995. Forms on Disk was sold to some 700 solicitors and most local councils, the package finally being sold to a larger company.
In 1987, John McMillan was approached by Guildford Borough Council who wanted software to monitor town planning enforcement. Guildford wanted the software to be marketed as a package. He developed a package for this purpose.
The enforcement process is very complex and varies between councils. To accommodate this, John designed a set of rules which allowed the process to be specified in an ISO 9000 style. This was highly successful.
The package was marketed by McMillan Technology under the name of cCOPE and was sold to more than 20 of the 300 district councils in England, being used until 2012.