Rethinking the apps development - IST

Blue

Small number of developers, large number of applications

Red

Metadata driven codeless development environment

Green

Way out of stovepipe principle

Orange

We changed the way we create apps

Lila

A robust, conmprehensive and efficient way of data processing

Pink

The simplest way to do reporting and BI

Yellow

20 apps per developer

Grey

IST is a software tool, completely designed and developed in the Statistical Office of Serbia

As the backbone of the national statistical agency, SORS is the main producer of official statistics in the service of citizens and policy-makers. SORS has over 400 employees and 14 regional offices throughout Serbia; central office is located on three different locations in Belgrade. We annually conduct over 300 studies and various one-off projects. Many of the surveys are based on a monthly dynamic (that may span many years and decades), so at any moment the SORS has over 250 active applications (IT solutions).

We changed the way of we create apps

IST is a .net application and a simple metadata database (only six tables)

These two equally important components deal with a large number of different databases containing individual and aggregate data. IST.net application is an interpreter. It, literally, reads data from the IST metadata that represents a description of each application, and based on the read data it generates and in real time executes each stage of statistical research or any other project, from data entry to the dissemination of the data.

A robust, comprehensive and efficient way of data processing

The most important components of the IST.net application are: updating of the IST metadata, generated input data ('data entry' 'interpreter'), generator for 'web' applications, data editing and data correction, automatic correction, advanced search of individual and aggregated data from the database, generating reports and the ability to manage procedures in database containing individual and aggregate data.
Components of the IST.net application don’t depend on each other very much, i.e. they are "loosely" coupled. This principle allows easy upgrading of the IST.net program and easy adapting to any new needs.

What we have achieved

The workload in SORS is large and increasingly expanding, stringent deadlines are kept and that must be maintained, especially now, in the period of EU accession. Modern statistics has to cover all of that, regardless of the number of people and available finances. Regardless of the complexity of investigations and the large number of data processed daily, the most important goal is always fast and reliable data.
In the SORS there are currently 232 active applications in the IST and over 40 more generated for the web.
14 developers are developing their applications using the IST.

Seen from a different angle, this means that each of our developers is covering 20 applications simultaneously, which is an average of 4 to 5 times more than the traditional way of processing data.
Therefore, we believe that the idea of a development environment without programming should be promoted and encouraged. The IST is our way of realizing that idea.