Project Description

Our client is a provider of intelligent transport systems, specialising in industries such as Public Sector Transport Management, Private Hire & Taxi and Airport Transfer Services.

As part of their product range, our client has developed multiple taxi booking Android applications. When it was announced that the current version of a key API was to be turned off in favour of a newer version, our client needed to update these applications to ensure continued functionality for their customers. Zircon was brought in to assist with this process.

With only a month to make this update before the API change, to meet the tight timeframe, a Zircon engineer liaised with our client’s team to gain visibility and understanding of the applications. With this in place, they were then able to develop a suitable solution.

During the development of the requested update, it became clear that it, by itself, would not be enough to solve our client’s problem. In order to distribute the application update to the end customer, it would need to go through the Google Play Store. However, with the introduction of the new Android 10 (Android X) operating system, all new applications would need to be compatible with this OS. It also meant that old apps not compatible with Android 10 could not be updated.

Unfortunately for our client, this would require the update of several third party libraries. The applications depended on many of the libraries in order to function, several of which however, had long since been deprecated. In order to provide our client with a solution to their original problem, we were able to develop a build of the application that could utilise Android 10, but would also allow for compatibility with these libraries.

Although our solution fixed the original issue, it would not solve the longer term problem. Upon the arrival of the next Android update, anticipated to be in a years time, the client would find themselves faced with the same issue but would risk not having the option of the workaround. In order to demonstrate how much work it would take to fix these libraries, the Zircon team produced a technical roadmap to show how many libraries were affected and how long it would take to fix them. We followed this roadmap up with a consultation on how to best proceed with this challenge. In the face of such a large expense, rather than proceed with the original set of applications our client made the decision to have their inhouse team develop a new application.