The Rates application development team was led by Jim Cleall-Harding with Dave Hearn as his senior analyst managing the analysts and Ray Smith managing the programmers. Applications were written in IBM’s high-level Programming Language 1 (PL/1).
Besides the 2 application databases: Rates and Schedules (Landlords), 2 core index databases were created: Persons and Properties. These index databases would provide a foundation for further applications.
Development started in 1970, working theoretically with draft IMS manauals as the software was not then available at the IBM datacentre, and it would be about a year before LOLA had it's own computer. Developing this first application had mumerous technical challenges:
- Memory Limitations
- Data Conversion Corruption and Time to run
- Transaction Recovery Limitations
- Testing an On-line System with few Terminals
- Miners' Strikes and Power Outages
More details are provided in the Rates System 1972, Notes by Alan Cooper.
Live Running Achieved
Nevertheless, despite all the challenges, the system went live, as planned, for Haringey in April that year, the start of the government’s fiscal year. Hackney and Tower Hamlets followed in October of that year and Hillingdon the following March.
Clerks moved from batch processing, taking days or sometimes a week, to a system that was near paperless and instantly accessible using screens.
Further the same information was available to the Housing department and the new system also kept track of work in-hand. At a management level, information was now available on work loads and the work of the clerical staff was more evenly spread throughout the week.
Further details: Rates System 1972, Notes by Alan Cooper, 2021-06-02 (3pp). View here [⇗]
Alan was a founder employee working as a Database Adminstrator in the Applications Support Team from 1970 to 1975.
London Boroughs On-line rating system by S Woods, Vol 77 No 7, 1973-July View here [⇗]
Experiences in Using IMS 2, A.J.O'Brien, PATRAC Conference, 1973-03-22. View here [⇗]
IMS-2 at LOLA, by K.W.S. LEWIS, NCC Conference, Bristol, November 1973 View here [⇗]