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Interfacing with 3rd Party Apps

New York City Department of Transportation

Technologies

  • Visual Basic (VB)
  • Microsoft Access
  • Microsoft SQL Server
  • AJAX
  • Regular Expressions (RegEx)

Features

  • Website Scraping
  • Bar code Scanner
  • 3rd Party Integration

The Client

Our client handles parking tickets for major trucking companies across the country. They maintain all of the summons data and compile it into batches which they present in court. They use Microsoft Access and SQL Server to manage their summons data.

The Problem

One of the markets that our client deals with the most is New York City. The NYC Department of Transportation maintains a website called NYCServ which allows users to lookup info for a specific summons. The client handles thousands of tickets a week, and there is information on NYCServ that they need to fetch for each one. Prior to our help, they had an employee manually searching NYCServer one ticket at a time. NYCServ did not offer any type of API at the time.

The Solution

We developed an add-in for the client’s MS Access program that automatically communicates with NYCServ. We set them up with bar code scanners, and as they scan each ticket, the missing data is automatically filled in from the web. Because NYCServ does not offer an API, we utilized a technique called website scraping. The application sends a request to the web server with parameters telling it which summons to return. Then the web server returns a HTML web page with the requested data. We use Regular Expressions to parse the web page and extract the data we need, and then insert it into the SQL database.