The life story of one software package in photos
It's not that one morning we woke up and thought, why not create software that will allow us to manage large flows of regulatory and technical documentation. No, believe me, they don’t wake up with such thoughts. Especially when the nineties are in the yard and all hope is only for two rented computers, and for a group of enthusiasts consisting of 10 people. Rather, our software development was the answer to the real need of the time. Now more than 200 thousand users across the country use the Codex and TechExpert professional reference systems, and 23 years ago none of us could have imagined what would come of it all.
In honor of our first post on Habré, we want to share with you a couple of photos from the "family" archive and talk about how we developed together with domestic IT.
On the heels of perestroika. The first software shell
1991.The Soviet system is falling apart with a bang. New regulations come into force, and the old ones are constantly changing. There is no normal access to professional, up-to-date information. It is necessary to develop electronic tools to track these changes in the legislation, which would not only store information, but also could structure it, professionally analyze it, keep electronic copies of documents and display all changes in them. A small team of specialists of NTPO "Lensistemotekhnika" then was engaged in the development and maintenance of applied automated systems for the Executive Committee of the Leningrad City Council. In a couple of months, they will work in the newly created Computer Development Center on the first Codex shell.
Since the Codex began work at the Mariinsky Palace, we have witnessed many memorable events. For example, rally and barricades were observed from the palace windows during the 1991 coup.
Meet Sergey Tikhomirov, founder of CCR, president of the Codex Consortium. In the photo - "real St. Petersburg onion" sample 1991.
The emergence of a network version of
1992. A shell based on its own DBMS provided unique possibilities for compressing texts and placing them in a database. Also, the version included two main features: the network version and the ability to simultaneously work with several databases. These qualities first appeared in the IPS “Codex” and played a decisive role in its dissemination and development.
In the photo - Maxim Gubin, one of the developers of the first versions of the Codex shell.
New Technology Update
1993.An important issue is updating the database. At that time, the update required a complete reinstallation of the database. In order to transfer the base, it was necessary to “cut” it and rewrite it to 5.25-inch floppy disks, resulting in 30–40 diskettes. The database was constantly growing, and everyone understood that its volume would soon not be limited to four boxes of floppy disks. Then a new update technology was proposed, in which there was no need to reinstall the entire database. It was enough just to rewrite the informational “supplement” from the diskette, which includes only changes and additions. This technology (although significantly improved and modernized) is still used. Now the general fund of documents of the Codex Consortium is about 30 million units.
In the photo there is a computer of a sample of the early 90s, on which users first saw our IPS.
The first distributors!
1994. The number of users of the Codex system was constantly increasing; many of them were located outside St. Petersburg. Thus began work on creating a network of regional distributors. The whole country has become the geography of the spread of the Code. In the photo - a rarity! The first seminar of distributors in St. Petersburg.
Common Information Space
1995-1996. There is more information. “But it would be nice to combine everything together: a software product, internal content, convenient and quick search, as well as an abundance of services, which are becoming more and more,” we thought. We thought and solved this problem with the release of the fourth-generation Codex PC .
It implemented a new principle of a single information space - the ability to search through all sections of the database connected to the system, as well as a system of hypertext links that combines all the information sections and the subject comment area.
And in 1996, the Codex Server technology appeared, which became the first Russian carrier of legal and reference information in the Internet / Intranet space. The technology made it possible to combine the Codex legal databases and the organization’s own information resources in a single corporate database. Subsequently, Codex Server contributed to the success story of the country's largest companies, including AvtoVAZ, VimpelCom, Gazprom, Lukoil, Norilsk Nickel and other leaders of Russian business.
And here is the design of the main page of the 1997 software package. From the point of view of usability, then he had no equal.
The main thing is not a wrapper. The main thing is the filling!
1997-2000.The fact that the software has developed is understandable. What about the filling? During this period, a new class of specialized industry reference systems was created for various sectors of the economy (construction, the fuel and energy complex, trade, and others). In addition to normative acts, they also included norms and standards - very important and necessary information for technically complex sectors of the economy.
These products will become the founders of the Tekhekspert system. Even then, we released a series of professional legal systems, including materials of judicial and arbitration practice. A couple of years later, in 1999, the Codex software package was integrated with Microsoft products, and a year later, Codex legal systems and databases were able to integrate with workflow systems.
Intellectual opportunities expand
2002. Normative regulation permeates all spheres of activity of enterprises in various industries. It is volatile and ambiguous. There are already many information flows at enterprises, which makes it difficult to build an effective business process. Various software is connected, where information is duplicated, difficulties arise with updating and communication of all information. It was at this time that our systems began to possess decision functions that allow us to organize entire business processes of organizations in a single information space.
Version 5.0 of the Codex software package was released , followed immediately by version 5.1 for Windows. An intelligent search bar appeared on the toolbar. Interfaceally, it already looked like a search bar in familiar browsers and allowed the user to quickly search for documents on all connected database volumes without entering the attribute search dialog. In the same version, the process of receiving updates was completely automated. A single information space, new search tools and navigation through the system using shortcuts have also become available.
In the photo - a meeting with the then Governor of St. Petersburg, V. I. Matvienko.
TechExpert. Addition to the family
2004-2005. In the fall of 2004, version 5.2 was released. The changes affected the search capabilities of the system. And the main event of 2005 was the allocation of a group of electronic systems of regulatory and technical information for
industry specialists for a new class of systems that continued to develop under the new brand "Tekhekspert". All necessary state standards, SNiPs, SanPiNs, routings, standard forms of documentation and other necessary documents and materials will be presented here, and the vast majority of systems still have no analogues on the Russian market. For him, we drew a beautiful logo:
2008. The first version of the sixth generation saw the light. Perhaps it is this line of systems that is currently being used by someone who reads this post. In version 6.1a comfortable environment for the user was provided thanks to a new interface created on the basis of the web browser interface. The complex was a universal solution for both branched corporate networks and for local working machines of individual specialists. A breakthrough in the field of software technology was the release of the Codex-Intranet software package 6.1.7. It worked 14 times (!!!) faster than previous versions. Such a sharp increase in system performance was achieved due to the use of Google Chrome as a client software. And to make the Codex and Tekhexpert systems even better, our programmers developed version 6.1.8, which allows you to install the system on a portable USB-drive. Significant milestones in the development of the product were the certification of Platform 6 for compatibility with Windows 7, the release of the client-server version of the software package, as well as the release of the Codex software package for Linux.
Of course, the basis of everything is the software shell. But we must not underestimate the importance of the user interface, because we work with people and for people, so we still pay a lot of attention to product design. See how the look and functionality of the advanced search card has changed.
New Technologies - New Home
2010.And here, look, we are moving to a separate building in the historical part of the city. Pay attention to the brand new Codex label that adorns our new home. For many months, for most employees, it remained a mystery who turned it on every evening and extinguished in the morning. After a small internal investigation, it turned out that the “Codex switch” is located directly under the desk of the head of the AIS escort department at the sites! However, the author of the post was not allowed to push the button. It's a pity.
By the way, the main event of the year took place in the same building - the release of the Codex / TechExpert software package on 6.2011 ,
providing the exit of legal information systems to a new technological level. The systems now have a user-friendly interface, a lot of functions that make it easier to work with complex legal and methodological documents, and most importantly - an updated search algorithm, developed on the basis of studies of user behavior and designed to be as clear as possible for a specialist. This was made possible thanks to a hint system that “catches” the user's logic, as happens in the most widely used search engines on the network. The new PC at that time was already compatible with the latest operating systems: Windows 7, Windows Vista and other versions of Windows, as well as Linux and FreeBSD. The stability of its operation is guaranteed by the certificate of conformity Windows 7.
2014.The software package was released on 6.2014 . The version contains the basic properties of professional help systems, and also replenished with many new services. Among them, for example, the possibilities of integration with external applications have expanded. We have already tested them with Microsoft products, as well as at the Semantic and AutoCAD NSIs. This is where we finish watching photos of past years. Enough about the past - from day to day we are waiting for the release of the new version!
By the way, the circulation software package dated 6.2014 under the trademarks “Codex” and “Tekhekspert” is not the only solution that the Consortium is developing. In future publications we will tell you more about them.