Programming is both engineering and an art. It is engineering in that there are standards and methods
that must be followed to produce quality software. It is an art in that the presentation to the user
must be aesthetically pleasing, easy to use, and easy to modify.
Russ Thompson, principal and lead developer, has mastered the engineering and art of programming.
Mr. Thompson has over 30 years of information technology designing online systems that make work
easier for the user. The past five years have been dedicated to developing data management systems
on the World Wide Web. He has designed a credit card acceptance system, report viewing system,
volunteer management systems, and his primary product, CharityTrak Online™.
Every programmer has a development philosophy:
Keep It Simple Stupid (kiss)! Complex code, and complex user interfaces may look snazzy, but
they will bite you in the end. NO software from Five Gulf will win an award for glitz.
Make it friendly. Good software should be user friendly. There fine balance between making it
user friendly and making it to hard to use. Software needs to protect the user from themselves, but not
be cumbersome to get around.
50% development / 50% maintenance In a program's life cycle, only half the time and effort spent
on the system is during development. The rest of effort is spent updating the software after it
goes into changes after the system goes into production.
Document! Because changes are inevitable, documentation, both in the system and in external
documentation are critical for someone to modify the system
Make them want to use you not have to use you. Many consultants write code that is complex,
forcing the client to utilize the consultant for maintenance, because the code is too hard to
understand. The other philosophy is to develop easily to follow code so the client will want to
utilize us again because the quality of code is great.
There are two predominant web development platforms available today. Microsoft has their ASP
development system that runs under the Windows operating system. The other main platform is the
open source platform called LAMP. Five Gulf develops exclusively for the LAMP platform. LAMP
is an acronym for Linux, Apache, MySQL, and PHP. This platform is
open source, meaning anyone can use the software without a cash outlay. See the
Wikipedia article for details
CharityTrak Online: Social service charity client management system for social service charities to track their
clients. Owned and marketed by Five Gulf. See
http://demo.charitytrak.com for a working demonstration of the system.
VolunteerTrak Online: Volunteer management system. Owned and marketed by Five Gulf.
Credit Card Approval: Local credit union management organization uses Five Gulf to support their
credit card outreach. The credit unions send out an acceptance letter to their members who
are directed to a Five Gulf maintained web site to fill out the acceptance forms. The
organization has utilized the systems for multiple campaigns yearly over the past three years.
Online Report Viewing: Electrical supply company used Five Gulf's software to allow their
clients to view invoices and statements online.
Emergency Communications Management System: Five Gulf developed and hosts an emergency
communications management package for the Dallas County Health and Human Services Medical
Response Corp's communications group.
Dynamic HTML Generation: Five Gulf wrote a package allowing a local church to
store their sermons online and have the web site automatically generate the web page
with the sermon listing. This was done by reading the MP3 file, extracting the title and
date from the file, and displaying that information on the web page.