Porter Lee

Porter Lee uses Visual Studio with Delphi and FireMonkey to deliver BEAST, the leading police evidence management system in the United States.

“We moved from Visual Studio to Delphi XE2 with FireMonkey because of the ability to write an application once and deploy it to both Windows and Mac OS X.”

– Murugan Ramalingame, Porter Lee Lead Programmer

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ORGANIZATION

Porter Lee

APLICATIVOS

client server portion of the BEAST technology

TOOLS USED

Delphi, RAD Cloud DataSnap, FireMonkey

CHALLENGES

Creating applications for Mac OS X to reach more users

Building iPad apps for customer scanning devices

Supporting various databases including SQL Server & Oracle

SOLUTION

FireMonkey’s ability to write an application once and deploy to both Windows and Mac OS X

FireMonkey’s ability to create iPad apps

RAD Cloud DataSnap technology to easily connect to various databases

World-class features and the finest support in the industry have made Porter Lee’s Crime Fighter BEAST (Bar Coded Evidence Analysis Statistics and Tracking) the leading police evidence management system in the United States. The Crime Fighter BEAST is a full featured evidence handling solution with more than 10 years of evolutionary enhancements behind it.

In 1995, Porter Lee Corporation started development of a new generation of evidence management products for Police Agencies and Crime Labs. Mike Evans and Tim Smith, the founders, were contracted by the Northern Illinois Police Crime Lab (NIPCL) to develop software that could satisfy ASCLD (American Society of Crime Lab Directors). A large part of evidence handling at the Crime Lab occurs in the evidence receiving room. NIPCL supports 43 police departments in the northern area of Chicago. These departments range in size from 20 officers to over 500. Porter Lee’s current user community includes over 300 Police Departments and over 70 Forensic Crime Laboratories.

Fifteen years ago Porter Lee was using Delphi. When their customers required Web applications, Porter Lee moved to Visual Studio. With the release of Delphi XE2 and FireMonkey, the Porter Lee team decided to attend one of the World Tour events in Chicago to learn about the new features. “We were really impressed with all the technology and capabilities that Delphi and FireMonkey have to offer,” says Murugan Ramalingame, Porter Lee Lead Developer.

Porter Lee customers are asking more than ever for Mac OS X support. The ability to create applications for Mac OS X has become a vital part in Porter Lee’s business strategy. “We knew we had to be able to support Mac OS X and create iPad apps for our customers,” Ramalingame says. “We feel that Delphi with FireMonkey provided a lot of innovative features that we could take advantage of to satisfy our customers.”



Porter Lee decided to move the client server portion of the BEAST technology from Visual Studio to Delphi XE2 with FireMonkey. Porter Lee now has teams using both Delphi with FireMonkey and Visual Studio. “One of the reasons we decided to move to Delphi XE2 and FireMonkey was the ability to write an application once and deploy it to both Windows and Mac OS X,” Ramalingame says. “We are amazed with how easy it was to create native Mac OS X applications.”

Porter Lee customers are also asking for BEAST iPad apps. With FireMonkey and Delphi, Porter Lee can now create visually rich native business applications for Windows, Mac OS X. They can also create iPad apps. Delphi XE2 applications are compiled into simple and efficient executables that are easy to distribute and deploy across multiple platforms and devices. No bloated run times, plug-ins or language engines are needed to run.

Support for multiple databases including Oracle and SQL Server and Cloud Services was another factor in Porter Lee’s decision to use FireMonkey with Visual Studio. Delphi applications with FireMonkey easily connect to the most popular databases, Web and cloud services, internet protocols and mobile devices. Delphi XE2’s RAD Cloud DataSnap middleware technology allows Porter Lee to run their business logic and data access as services in their own private cloud or Amazon EC2, providing connectivity to a wide range of client environments, languages and platforms. Built-in component based native access to Microsoft SQL Server, Oracle, IBM DB2, MySQL, Sybase, Informix, InterBase and FireBird databases provides them with incredible business flexibility.

“We have save a lot of time in the past with Delphi’s fast prototyping capability and the ability to move from prototype to production quickly,” Ramalingame says. “Now with support for Mac OS X and ability to create iPad apps and RAD Cloud technology we can be more competitive than ever and grow our business much faster.”