Software Application Development

zero to n, inc.

Tools used:

CanyonBlue Cittera.


zero to n, inc. is a web application framework company based in Fremont, California. It provides a solution that allows customers to develop applications or products using purely HTML and XML manipulation on the zero to n framework. The use of the solutions allows the customer to be oblivious of routine development, and allows for automated database design and creation.

zero to n, inc. worked with CanyonBlue to develop its product, zFrameworks, which allows organizations to effectively develop Web applications during the course of a meeting. The project lasted approximately 12 months and has now been deployed for five months by two customers. One customer site had a high user volume with low transaction volume, while the other customer had a small number of users but a very high transaction volume. In total, there were eight developers, four Quality Assurance staff, and six customers and project management staff.


zero to n, inc. needed to find a software development tool that would aid in the design of complex software applications, specifically its new application zFrameworks. Additionally, the tool would need to serve as a centralized knowledge repository and allow multiple team members in several locations to coordinate efforts effectively and in a timely manner throughout the development lifecycle.


CanyonBlue's Cittera was chosen due to its many innovative features, including the fact that it is the first UML tool to support true real-time collaboration - allowing multiple parties across various geographic locations to work together, simultaneously, on the same UML model.

Cittera is a tool that streamlines the development process and shares intellectual capital among the model, team member, and organization-wide levels. The application enables groups to work together on a project concurrently across geographic barriers, or across the room. Organizations can share skills and resources more efficiently. And, teams can work simultaneously, or monitor work being done by third parties half way around the world - all on the same model.

In addition, Cittera offers flexibility, power, and scalability. The software can be hosted on CanyonBlue's servers and run as an ASP tool over the Internet or hosted on the customer's own servers. Since Cittera supports both the Java and C++ programming languages, it can be easily deployed on a wide variety of computing platforms.

By utilizing the inherent features of CanyonBlue's Cittera, zero to n team members were able to collaborate in real-time and leverage the UML diagram as a centralized point of knowledge. Additionally, utilizing Cittera's in-built version control capabilities, stored audit trail and messaging features, and its entity based annotations, the entire development team - from business analysts to quality assurance personnel - were able to work in unison throughout the entire development lifecycle.

UML was used to design the application and produce documented artifacts for the development team to refer to throughout the application development lifecycle. Because UML is a standardized notation, it promoted a simple understanding of the scope of work throughout the team, reducing conceptual flaws within the application.

"Our system deals with issues of ontology and taxonomy in several of our customer's industries. The use of a specific standard in development led to a coherent communication mechanism between development teams in three sites on two continents," said Bijoy Singha, Chief Technical Officer for zero to n, inc. "We chose to utilize UML as it is an industry standard that allowed us to promote a singular understanding of the application requirements throughout a team that was located in multiple locations. Furthermore, the intuitive nature of the UML diagrams was utilized as an effective tool of communication between the end user community and the development teams."