Secure Web Services

THE PROBLEM

A corporation that administers the largest educational grant and loan programs in the United States (as measured by total dollar amount) desired to participate in the National Meteor Network. This network consists of XML-based secure Web services deployed by lenders, servicers and guarantors that participate in Federal grant and loan programs. The client started its Meteor project after they became one of the original sponsors of Meteor at the National Council of Higher Education Loan Programs (NCHELP). The purpose of this project was to make student loan, grant and scholarship data available on the Web through the NCHELP and supported by the Meteor Network. The client’s legacy data existed in a complex IT environment built on data storage platforms from different eras. After several stops and starts the project had not been completed and the client needed to meet commitments made to join the Meteor network.

THE SOLUTION

Using an agile approach, LTI quickly and iteratively built a system that met the needs of the project stakeholders. This included a highly componentized new system based on XML, SOAP, Web Services, J2EE and the latest J2EE design patterns.

THE METHOD

The system was integrated with the client’s legacy systems to achieve data access in real time. The deliverables included both design documentation and automated unit tests. The documentation produced consisted of Application Process Flows, a System Context Diagram, UML class diagrams and activity diagrams, Use Case models and a Data Dictionary listing all Meteor attributes and legacy system attributes to which they map. The Java code produced was thoroughly commented in order to ease maintenance and reuse.

THE VALUE

A Meteor implementation consisting of active loans, defaulted loans, TAP awards, scholarships, demographic data and state grants was completed and online in under six months. The client was pleased that LTI could help them reach their main goals—fast implementation, no sacrifice to quality and that the system was built to allow their staff to maintain it without outside assistance. The knowledge and experience gained is being applied by LTI to assist the client in making contributions to the new Postsecondary Electronic Standards Council (PESC) and NCHELP Federal standards effort, as well as the Common Record: Student Aid Inquiry XML schema development workgroup.

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