Green Ant is a multi-user green house inventory and order tracking system, designed and developed for Rush Creek Growers. Written in Java back in 2006, it is still in use today. That's 13 years!
During the summer of 2006, I worked with Vicky, one of the two founders of Rush Creek Growers. Vicky had been using spreadsheets for her order tracking. To grow her business, she needed a way to keep up with the increased number of orders, and allow multiple people to use the system simultaneously.
The design and development of Green Ant involved listening carefully to Vicky's needs, understanding what she currently used, and rapid-application development. By using prototypes, I was able to both show what was possible, and get feedback early in the development process.
Since Vicky had been using spreadsheets, the first goal of Green Ant was to be as familiar as a spreadsheet, yet allow for easy manipulation of large sets of data. The second goal was to streamline the process of handling preorders, orders, and invoices.
The stock screen presents plant stock much like a spreadsheet, allowing a user to edit individual cells. By highlighting a number of plants, a user can update all the selected plants with a single click. The user is restricted to editing only valid cells, and data is validated as it is typed.
The order entry screen allows a user to manage customer preorders, current orders, and invoices. Since all three things where frequently dealt with simultaneously, it had to be easy to see current stock, update a customer's order based on product availability, and create an invoice on the spot.
Copyright © 2020, Lee Patterson