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How Black Pepper Software solved Brexit in 2 weeks

Brexit. The word has the power to instantly spark debate on political issues... but regardless of whether you support leave or remain, we are all uncertain about the future. What does that uncertainty mean for you and your business? What can you do to prepare?

Learn how Black Pepper Software solved Brexit for XPO Logistics in just two weeks.

Let's travel back to April 2019. The UK was scheduled to leave the EU on 22 May 2019 and uncertainty was at an all time high. With the deadline swiftly approaching, XPO got in contact with us at Black Pepper Software and asked us to create a bespoke software web application to prepare for and mitigate what could be. As a logistics company, XPO's main concern was the extra restrictions that would be put in place post-Brexit in the case of a No Deal Brexit during customs clearance. Their solution was a web application designed for mobile, to be used by their drivers, allowing them quick access to the particular documents required during custom clearance. They also required an API that would allow for inserting documents into the system to be viewed by drivers.

With just two weeks to work on the application and just over a month until the deadline, how did we manage to deliver?

The chosen architecture of the application played a huge role. The web application was written in Java using the Spring Boot framework and server side rendered HTML using Thymeleaf. This tech stack was perfect for the job. Spring Boot's approach of creating an opinionated view of the Spring platform saved a huge amount of time and meant we were able to focus more on the domain, rather than configuration. The choice of server side rendering over a single page application framework e.g. React or Angular meant that if drivers found themselves in areas where an internet connection was scarce, the reduced size of the web page meant they could still access the application with ease and perform their job. As the web application only actually consisted of a small number of web pages which required very little JavaScript, the trade-off of extra control over the front-end a single page application provides verses the increased size of the web page did not feel worth it for us.

Delivering the project through Agile software development principles also vastly improved productivity. Through daily stand-ups, user story capturing and prioritisation and weekly showcases, we were able to keep constant communication and co-operation with XPO allowing us to easily respond to change and continuously deliver. Pair programming, test driven development and continuous delivery/ integration ensured that the quality of software was also of the high level that is to be expected from Black Pepper.

Only one question remains... Can Black Pepper Software solve Brexit for you?