by Shana Kirchner on December 18, 2012
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Several members of our advice@kCura team are experts in custom development, and they’re excited to see our partners and clients building applications and integrations to extend Relativity’s functionality. To highlight some of the unique ways our users are taking advantage of the platform, we interviewed a few of our partners and clients who have created some more complex applications.
Taking advantage of the Developer Showcase at Relativity Fest 2012, we sat down with Mark Dingle, founder of London-based LitSavant Ltd. Mark—who is also a Relativity Independent Consultant—established LitSavant in 2010, following more than a decade of experience in the litigation support industry. As their flagship product, the LitSavant Conformity Engine is a Relativity Ecosystem application that simplifies the process for designing and implementing custom logic in a Relativity environment. For more information about the Conformity Engine, contact LitSavant directly.
kCura: Tell us about your application. What does it add to Relativity?
Mark: The LitSavant Conformity Engine takes the functionality that you get with event handlers and integrates it into the standard Relativity user interface—which means you don’t need any programming experience to work with it. Normally, creating and implementing event handlers takes a lot of time and a lot of technical expertise. With this application, that creative power is put into the hands of the everyday user. What normally takes a programmer a couple of hours to complete can be done by any user in about 10 minutes.
How did you come up with the concept for this app?
It really comes from my observations as a litigation support consultant. Event handlers are really useful for building logic and setting up rules that help keep coding and other decisions consistent. People need that, but they weren’t using it nearly as much as they should’ve, mostly because it was a tricky process to build and implement them. In law firms, especially—where there aren’t always in-house programming resources—it took time to evaluate building custom logic within each step of the project, create a budget for it, find a developer, and everything else. It’s a lot of work, so they simply sidestepped the event handlers. Unless something was super important, a lot of clients said, “We’ll figure out a way to get around this.”
With the LitSavant Conformity Engine, you can build those rules and have them working almost immediately. Then, you can tweak it in real time. It skips over the complicated processes and gets users to the benefits they want right away.
What kind of users will benefit most from the LitSavant Conformity Engine?
A number of different users are going to benefit from this. On the one hand, you’ve got law firms who may not have development resources in-house. When they’re running their own instance of Relativity, this is going to be a really powerful solution for them.
On the other hand, you’ve also got service providers who are creating these solutions on behalf of their clients. With this application, their development resources can be better deployed on more complex issues rather than just belting out another event handler. That way, they can maximize the use of their team to tackle bigger problems and eliminate trivial issues.
As Relativity evolves, this application will also be useful to folks who are developing Relativity Applications. Instead of hard coding event handlers into their application, parties will be able to leverage the LitSavant Conformity Engine to deal with many of the programming challenges associated with their project.
Did you reference any user feedback during development?
We did get a little feedback while we were creating it, but a lot of how the application looks and feels comes from my own experience inside Relativity. A lot of time spent in Relativity and litigation support environments gave me a good idea of how the application should look and feel. For instance, I know how nice it is for users when they can run this stuff right in the same interface—as nothing more complicated than another tab in your workspace. Now that we’re into pilot phases with a number of clients, we’re taking additional feedback into account so we can assess what we’ve got and keep pushing it forward.
What’s on the roadmap for this application?
At the moment, the application can build event handlers to send notifications, send emails, and add values into fields. Down the road, I want to give it the ability to execute scripts right inside Relativity. If it can do that, it can do absolutely anything. It’ll give users full access to the platform. We’re starting to write scripts to prepare for that now—things like conditional propagation. What that means is that you can teach it to say something like, “If this field equals this value, then propagate it to family members, but if the field equals that value, then don’t propagate it.”
Of course, we are also taking feedback from our customers—as you guys know, the most important product improvement ideas come from your day-to-day users.