SDWIS Prime Development Update

by Greg Fabian and Kristen Gastner

Web Application Development

As of March 1, the SDWIS Prime development team has completed ten two-week sprints with the SDWIS Prime web application. So far, the team has completed the baseline versions of the inventory and legal entity management modules. Both modules operate much like the prototype shared with the community. There are more changes in store for these areas of the system, and the development team is currently prioritizing the critical items that will be available in September of this year.

Starting with Sprint 9, the developers began designing the monitoring and sampling schedules module. This is the most complex part of the system, so it may take 2-4 sprints before the developers have a stable user interface for the EPA team to react to and then share with the User Acceptance Test (UAT) Team. In the meantime, the team is reviewing test incident reports filed by the UAT Team.

The first round of UAT testing ran from February 2 through February 10. The development team did something a bit different with this first round in that we did not offer any training before the test period started. The team did this to gauge SDWIS Prime’s ease of use. During the test phase, the development team added articles to the SDWIS Prime Help Center describing how the system works. The team plans to continue adding to the Help Center as the goal is to roll out user documentation in the Help Center, concurrent with system development. Also, the tool used to house the Help Center (Zendesk) has an application programming interface (API – similar to the SDWIS Prime ReST API) that the developers may be able to leverage to provide a context sensitive help facility so that users can access the documentation directly from SDWIS Prime instead of having to go to the Help Center. We’ll have to see how that works out and, if viable, when we can add it to SDWIS Prime.

Speaking of UAT, the development team is grateful to these primacy agencies for their participation:

  • Alaska
  • Connecticut
  • EPA Region 7
  • Florida
  • Indiana
  • Nevada
  • New Hampshire

First Community Release

The development team is also working on planning for the first community release of SDWIS Prime. The team’s goal is to have a community release before the Data Management Users Conference (DMUC) in May. However, as mentioned above, this first release may include only the inventory and legal entities modules since we will likely be very involved in user acceptance testing the monitoring and sampling scheduling features. It’s more likely that the second community release will include the monitoring and sampling schedules module, perhaps shortly after the DMUC.

Because the monitoring and sampling schedule module is so different from SDWIS State, we expect to hold several webinars to go over how the module works. Our current plan is to hold a pre-DMUC webinar to go through the module and then an actual demonstration during the DMUC.

Interfacing Applications Needs

Concurrent with the web application development, an effort is beginning around formalizing requirements and approaches to ensure that Primacy Agency interfacing application needs (“IA Needs”) are addressed as we look forward towards SDWIS Prime implementation.  The Interfacing Applications Workgroup (IAWG) has been revived and will be working with a dedicated business analyst from the Attain contractor team to build on past efforts, renew discussions, ensure requirements are captured, and set a timeline for development and testing.  The SDWIS Prime team is working to ensure that requirements are integrated and prioritized with the web application development effort so that as the web application is tested this year, primacy agencies will also begin to see ways in which data access will be possible for use within interfacing applications.

Business Rules Engine Integration

Also concurrent with the web application and IA needs work, this spring (throughout March, April, and May) the Rules Team will be “black box” testing the Business Rules Engine (BRE) for the Revised Total Coliform, Groundwater, and Lead and Copper drinking water rules (RTCR, GWR, and LCR). Representatives from Pennsylvania, Indiana, and Connecticut will work with the Rules Team to confirm that the BRE is making the correct decisions for RTCR, such as generating candidate monitoring and sampling schedules, candidate violations, and candidate return to compliance.  The team may need assistance from other Primacy Agencies as the other rules are tested.  The reason for this initial focus on these rules is to ensure that the September 2017 SDWIS Prime release for testing includes functionality for these rules.

We’re doing this in a “black box” mode because the monitoring and sampling user interface is still under development and not available for this test. By the end of September 2017, the development team should have enough of the web application built-out to where the BRE decisions for these initial three rules appear in the user interface. For example, you’ll be able to view and interact with candidate monitoring and sampling schedules for RTCR, GWR and Lead and Copper rule (LCR).

The Rules Team will continue with the remaining drinking water rules, conducting “black box” testing to verify the business logic and then turning the work over to the development team for integration into the SDWIS Prime user interface. As we work toward the March 2018 version 1.0 release, the system will be built up to handle all of the drinking water rules.

Fed Reporting

Another area that the development team is soon starting is defining and documenting the process for quarterly reporting to USEPA. There are a number of concepts that have been discussed and the team will be putting these together in a document for sharing with the Data Management Advisory Committee (DMAC) and the community. DMAC’s participation is critical as the new fed reporting process touches upon data quality, which is a perennial priority of DMAC. We don’t have a definite date for completing the documentation describing the new processes, but we do plan to discuss it at the upcoming DMUC.

* Black box = any complex piece of equipment, typically a unit in an electronic system, with contents that are mysterious to the user.