CATS (Certification and Accreditation Tracking System) is a web application for people who need to get various certifications through DEQ. This includes erosion & sediment control, stormwater management, and responsible land disturber (RLD) certificates. The app allows users to pay for and take online courses, track recertification hours, and print their certificates.

I am the architect and lead developer on the CATS project. It consists of an ASP.NET MVC 5 web application backed by SQL Server, plus some additional supporting utilities.

This project is currently in development but should be feature complete by the end of the year. The most interesting aspect of the project has been the various other systems it needs to integrate with. This includes:

  • Legacy data: Many of these certifications had been administered by another state agency (DCR) for several years, and so we have developed a process to load the legacy data into our production systems. This also includes some cleanup tasks, such as deduping, string normalization, etc.
  • Pearson VUE: Some certification tests are administered at Pearson testing centers, and they make the test data available to us on an SFTP server. I wrote an ETL application that downloads the previous day's test data, parses and verifies it, and loads it into the CATS production database.
  • Articulate/SCORM: For the RLD certification, users will pay for the certification and then take an online course and quiz. The course is developed by our training staff using Articulate, and is SCORM-compatible. Rather than standing up a full LMS, I wrote a basic implementation of the SCORM API, enough to launch the course and retrieve the results.
  • Elavon: To accept payments, we need to integrate with the state-approved payment gateway vendor. We are using Elavon's hosted payment form to accept credit card info so it does not pass through our systems. I was able to build on some work done on another DEQ project that was set up to accept payments and process them in daily batches. For CATS, we will handle the payments in real time.

CATS is also the second DEQ project to use a new security framework that provides an integrated login and permission system for both internal and external users. Members of the public will not need to create separate accounts for separate applications as we continue to bring more publicly accessible apps online. Internal users can use their Active Directory credentials to access any of the apps. I helped to design the security framework and have continued to update it.