Thursday, March 8, 2012

March of Progress? Monthly Odyssey updates and progress toward real-time data.

Doxpop just completed the March update of information from Indiana Counties using the Odyssey system. We usually process updates in about three days, but this particular update took a bit longer because the format of the data changed this month. That's bad because it slowed us down a little, but good because the changes are corrections that JTAC has included this month to take care of problems we previously reported. Most notably, disposition status information.

The ability to provide real-time updates to Odyssey records for Doxpop users is still at least one month off, but remains our top priority.

That's the short version. For details, read on:

You'll all recall that in September 2011, the Supreme Court of Indiana publicly committed to making a real-time messaging interface to the Odyssey system available on January 1, 2012 via the services of JTAC (the Judicial Technology and Automation Committee.) In response to this public commitment, Doxpop made a corresponding commitment to our customers to connect to this interface pass the data on to them through our system. Since September, Doxpop has provided funding in the form of well over $100,000 in payments to JTAC. We have also invested countless hours from our programming staff to building our side of this interface and providing prompt, helpful feedback to JTAC programmers as they do their work.

We're confident that Doxpop will recover our significant investment, which depends primarily on the good faith of JTAC in following through on their commitment. However, the path has been a bit rough so far.

We have, since November 2011, been able to obtain monthly updates from JTAC. However, in a recent eMail, the analysts working on the real-time messaging interface from the Odyssey system told us that the program they were working on (which was apparently similar to the Doxpop API) could not sustain the performance levels required to maintain a real-time data feed.

Doxpop is confident that JTAC can achieve the necessary performance level because Doxpop maintains a similar system in the form of our API, which contains roughly twice the number of cases found in JTAC's system and exceeds the performance requirements for a real-time interface.

During peak usage periods, the Doxpop API has served 1.4 million record requests from our customers in 13 hours (about 1800/minute.) By our calculations, to maintain their promised real-time feed, JTAC's system will have to service 900 requests per minute. Thanks to the efforts of our skilled programming staff, Doxpop's service runs on a meager $5,000 worth of hardware. With their resources, we are confident that JTAC will be able to easily match our performance.

So... What's next, and how long will it take?

We've been told that JTAC is now taking a new approach that they hope will provide the required performance levels very soon. Our programmers are currently working with their staff, and report some  progress. We are very disappointed that 2 months after this service was promised, we still haven't seen anything like a production quality interface... but we are hopeful and we're providing the best feedback we can every day to the programmers working on the JTAC side of the project.

I suppose this blog post is our gentle public feedback to the management of JTAC: Please follow through on this project as quickly as you can! Our small business is depending on you to keep your commitments. if we can provide a similar system with fewer resources, your staff and resources are certainly up to the task.