The Agência do Desenvolvimento da Vale do Zambeze (Agency for the Development of the Zambezi Valley) is a Mozambican governmental organization charged with promoting rural development in the center part of Mozambique. The Agency gathers a large amount of data on ongoing projects and compares their real progress to expected progress. It needs to regularly present details reports to international donors and government.

Fast web-based database solution

The Agency reached out to Independent Software to develop an easy-to-use web-based database, accessible from anywhere with a (weak) internet connection, where all this data can be entered, searched, filtered, analyzed, and exported to other software like Microsoft Excel, SPSS and graphics software.

Among other things, the database can project any project indicator onto a map of the Zambezi valley, allowing a visual inspection of relative progress in the provinces and districts covered by the Agency. And map can be panned, zoomed, styled, and exported in various graphics formats at resolutions suitable for use in digital and print materials. Data can also be visualized as live charts, shown in the browser, which can be drilled down and styled in various ways.

Searching and filtering

Independent Software developed an full, extensible database platform, capable of storing and manipulating many different types of objects. Across all objects, the database system offers powerful searching and filtering features, where ease-of-use is paramount. All interaction with the user must be fast and work well using a weak internet connection (a ubiquitous problem in Mozambique). Independent Software used AngularJS with a REST back-end to develop a highly responsive user interface, with interactions requiring only very small amounts of data to be sent to and received from the server. Visual responses of the system are instantaneous.

Reports

In our database system, and results of filtering, searching and ordering can always be directly exported to Microsoft Excel, offering the user a reporting system “on the fly”. Specific, pre-defined reports are also available, where report contents are generated on the server and downloaded directly as Microsoft Excel documents. Importing complex data sets is also done by uploading Excel files based on predefined templates available in the database.

Mobile first strategy

Much effort was given to the database’s user interface. The complex interface scales down nicely on smaller displays like mobile phones, folding up the main menu, showing controls in such a way that they are easily accessible on touch screens, and collapsing table rows so that they can be expanded individually. The mobile implementations have the same feature set as the desktop implementations and all operations can be performed on either device type.

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