SaaS for Digital Researches

SaaS solution that enables users to streamline their research work that involves a substantial amount of information.

Description

Year
2019 - Present
Industry
Legal
Region
Global
Status
In Progress
Technologies employed
.NET Core Vue.js SCSS Bootstrap Popper.js AWS S3 AWS RDS Route 53 Elastic Beanstalk Webpack PostgreSQL Entity Framework

Service

Our client is a startup based in Germany that was researching the possibility to build an MVP concept of the online tool that could help knowledge workers in multiple industries, but primarily in the legal field, to easily create long and complex structured documents for their research work consisting of the individual references and parts of multiple documents from various sources, such as online articles or PDF documents.

Since the primary goal was to simplify the data capturing process, it was important that our users can capture data and add to their projects with the least possible number of required actions. This requirement faced us with the need to build a custom Chrome extension that would make a single-click capturing experience possible, primarily, using native capabilities of the browser itself.

While seamless capturing of data was among the first challenges, we also had to ensure that heavy sets of transferred information are effectively-structured in our databases so that later users can easily organize them into individual smaller pieces, use within one or more projects, and build complex hierarchical structures.

Challenge

Since our team took over the project at the very early stages, the main challenges were to properly collect core functional and non-functional requirements from the main stakeholders, as well as decide upon the right approach of implementation, especially in regard to capturing content from online resources.

The next important challenge was the way and format to store data in the databases since the project assumed an extensive flow of data going through. In the case of big projects and multiple sources, amounts of data stored by one user could reach significant ranges.

Last but not least challenge was the safety of the stored data. Since the primary market of the solution is the legal industry, which already stands under multiple data privacy regulations, it was critical to delivering a highly secure solution.

The trickiest part was to ensure that the system can easily take care of data extracted from millions of different sources.

Solution

In order to start the project, our team has proposed to divide the solution into two parts - a web application and a Chrome extension. The web application is a working space that allows users to interact with clipped or uploaded content and documents; create, save, and manage multiple projects. In its turn, the Chrome extension would allow users to clip and transfer content from online resources in the fastest possible manner.

In order to ensure consistency of the data format, our team decided to convert and store all content, including uploaded PDF documents, in the form of HTML files that later gave us unlimited flexibility for further editing and structuring in the application.

To ensure the security of the application and its data, all the databases and data flows have been encrypted at rest and in transit. In addition to that, all information was accessible only by the user that created it with no access for system administrators. Then, we also decided to follow the OWASP security standards to align our measures with industry-wide best practices.

Results

Upon completion of the MVP scope, our team created a functional solution with all the core features approved during the discovery phase - the Chrome extension that allows users to capture and saves content from over the web; a versatile and secure web application with the sophisticated editing and structuring capabilities; a custom engine for processing PDF documents, and other features. The MVP version was taken to the testing by the client in order to gather feedback from the potential users and define features that need to be added on the next versions. Some couple of months later, based on the positive feedback from the potential users, we kicked off the second phase of development with even broader possibilities - such as offline mode, team collaboration, and other features.

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