The Dovetail Blog

Builders' holidays, a visit to IKEA and a Tender completed

The title would suggest we've had a very busy week this week, and you would be right. We've done it, however, with only half the work force.

John & Tomás have gone on holidays (not together ... we think), and Greg has bid farewell to Dovetail for some time off before returning to college. As a result, it's been quiet in the office.

Martin has been burning the midnight oil on a tender for a new line of business application (bespoke software) for a major player in the Utilities sector. It was submitted today, and he can now breathe a sigh of relief after a solid effort of writing (nobody likes writing THAT much).

Crayfish party in DovetailMossy and Trevor partying like it's 1999

Trevor visited IKEA Southampton earlier this week. He was attending a project kick off meeting to build on the success of the Swipe a Surprise pilot. He also brought back some hats and songbooks from an upcoming Crayfish party. Better not show them to Pinchy.

I have been continuing to work with Dawn, Tanya and Julie in GVS on an upcoming version of the Gift Voucher Solutions application.

Consulting, IKEA Kiosks, Ektron upgrade and Gift Vouchers

We've been working hard with a lot of our existing clients (CIS, IKEA, FSAI & Gift Voucher Solutions). The summer has kicked off and so have a lot of new projects.

Martin has been working with CIS over the past few weeks, he's been consulting on a technology strategy for their product platform (CISOnline). We plan to integrate cloud-based SAAS platforms with CISOnline which will result in a more efficient business process for CIS, allowing them to manage their ever-growing customer base.

A new Gift Voucher Solutions project has started, with John taking on his first end-to-end project here in Dovetail. He has been working closely with Dawn in GVS. They are doing a total overhaul of the existing system, with an emphasis on improving the Customer Experience (UX) and changing to a responsive design which will work much better on both mobile and desktop browsers.

UML Diagram for IKEA Family Kiosk Platform

Trevor and Tomás have been working on a new IKEA Project. This is Phase 2 of the IKEA FAMILY Kiosk project. After two years live with the current implementation, we have analysed, measured and learned. We are now applying this learning to "Phase 2". We are focusing on customer experience for the IKEA FAMILY member, trying to improve the customer journeys as they use the kiosks. We want to make these journeys more enjoyable, faster and clearer than before.

Greg was working separately on a small IKEA project which will be going live at the end of the month. Greg was also doing a lot of internal work, adding functionality to our customer support portal, and improving our internal reporting system "Hawkeye". Today is his last day, as he's taking some time off before heading back to college in September.

I have been floating around a bit, working with John on the User Experience design for Gift Voucher Solutions. I have also started an Ektron upgrade project for the Food Safety Authority of Ireland. We are upgrading their website Content Management System from version 8.0.2 to version 9.1.

This afternoon we'll be kicking off our summer office party and BBQ. It also doubles as a farewell to Greg and welcome drinks for John. We're fully stocked with beer and cider, so it should be a fun one.

Dovetail Beer delivery Craft beer delivery aided by Trev's sweet bike rack.

Create a cloned SQL Server Azure Database

Today, I wanted to create a clone of a SQL Server Azure database. I was looking at various ways of doing this, including exporting and re-importing the database, but thankfully, there is a much easier way.

I ran the following SQL command against the master database on the SQL Azure server:

AS COPY OF Old_Database

 For more details, check out the official documentation and this Idera blog post.

The 'new' John

Hello, I’m the ‘new’ John last name Doyle and I’m here to introduce myself. Over the past few weeks I’ve been settling in and getting to know some of the projects currently being undertaken here at Dovetail. I’ve also managed to somehow sneak a cheeky holiday to Malaga in those weeks but this was only for a few days.

As mentioned in a previous post I have come from City Wonders where I was working as a Web Developer for their Front End websites.

I have joined Dovetail as a Software developer and have already began working on my Microsoft Certified Professional Certificate. It has been a great few weeks at Dovetail and the entire office has been very welcoming and patient as I try to get up to speed on the projects and workflow.

Over the coming weeks I hope to post some more blog posts and maybe some more pictures like the one below.


Dublin Bikes are now closer

We like to think of Dovetail as a pro-bicycle company, and there are many card carrying subscribers to the Dublin Bikes scheme within the office. When the expansion of the Dublin bikes scheme was announced, we were eagerly anticpating a much shorter journey to our nearest bike station.

Last week, as part of this expansion, the station beside the Guinness Storehouse opened, which means that we now have a two minute walk to our nearest station. Hopefully, with the Guinness Storehouse station such a popular destination for tourists, this station will be stocked with spare bicycles thoughout the working day so we can make our cross city meetings on time.

Dublin Bikes at the Guinness Storehouse

Launch: Irish Champions Weekend

We recently won the tender to develop a new website for Horse Racing Ireland on their Ektron CMS platform.

Irish Champions Weekend creates one of the richest weekends on the international racing calendar with over €3 million prize money across 16 races including 10 Group Races (5 Group 1s) over two fantastic days at Leopardstown and the Curragh on Saturday and Sunday, September 13th and 14th. 

After a few weeks work with HRI Marketing and IT, we have put the site live and we're delighted with it. Ektron as a platform was a breeze to work with and the client can now update the website using a tool with which they are already familiar.

Irish Champions Weekend

We took advantage of SmartForms within Ektron to allow the customer granular control of the content and making available on the website in a structured way. The site is built with Foundation and works well across all devices (Desktop, Tablet & Mobile).

Irish Champions Weekend.

Another John, World Cup Fever & The Dovetail Office Olympics

After a little break from #birdseye posts, here is the usual roundup from Dovetail HQ in the Guinness Enterprise Centre.

Welcome to John Doyle, our newest Software Developer who has joined us from City Wonders. We hope you'll welcome as much as we have (we even gave him a computer, we're nice like that).

World Cup fever has truly hit in here. We started a pool, with each employee getting a few teams each. The levels of satisfaction of the picks from each employee are mixed to say the Least. I've got Holland and Argentina, so I'm still happy out and I don't even follow the footy-ball. We also started a little prediction league for each game, and I've been doing quite well, surprisingly. My new nickname is "The oracle". I think my lack of knowledge has helped me.

Inspired by all the summer sporting events, we've started a few little competitions on the office, which we are dubbing "The Dovetail Office Olympics". The popular game at the moment is the Sneezing Championship. Trevor won the June Sneezing Championship, stating wasabi as his secret formula for sneeze generation. Martin has really upped his game this month so who knows who will take the prize for July. Wasabi use has been banned for all future competitions.

June sneezing ChampionshipJune Sneezing Champship winner, Trevor Jobling, recieving his prize. 

Other sports include Guess the "percentage cocoa" competition, distance bin toss, rubber band precision shoot-out and paper plane construction.

Improving the experience for touch and mobile input

How to Simplify Input with Steppers. I've always been a fan of Luke Wroblewski. He simplifies UI and input problems, and demonstrates why they shouldn't have been complicated in the first place.

Improve touch UI with steppers

Our mobile apps and touch screen systems are pretty good as they are, but they will be given the LukeW treatment in their next iteration. As we all know, there is always room for improvement.

See the entire series of videos, they're short and well worth your time, regardless of your industry.

My little bite of the big apple

Last week I got back from a trip to New York. It was just for pleasure but I did arrange to visit FogBugz since they're good suppliers. Unfortunately our itinerary didn't allow it in the end - I'll just have to go back.

Naturally the Dovetail flag came along for the ride...

new york taxi

new york balcony

We also visited our namesake restaurant: Dovetail which was a delicious treat. Sorry for the poor quality photograph... it was a long and fun evening!

Dovetail restaurant

Dovetail is ISO9001:2008 certified

We're proud to announce that Dovetail has achieved ISO9001:2008 certification.


Our quality management system, which we have refined over the years, has been audited by Intertek and found to meet the requirements of the most widely recognised quality standard in the world.

This a great endorsement of the fact that we strive to constantly improve, and deliver solutions of the highest quality to our customers. It goes a long way to explaining our 100% customer satisfaction record!

You can see our cert over on this page.