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Vaadin 6 to Vaadin 12 migration of a healthcare & business CRM

Unilabs - Healthcare

CRM for a healthcare business

ARA is a healthcare and business CRM application that diagnostics provider Unilabs Portugal has been developing since 2006. The system has been built on an extensive tech stack with Vaadin 6, and later Vaadin 12, as the primary tool for creating the UI. The system is serving two thousand end-users serving two million patients in more than 900 points of care.

Switching from desktop to web while improving the UI and UX

The biggest challenge, when starting ARA in 2010, was to shift the paradigm from Desktop to Web while also developing a customer-friendly application with a nice UI and great UX. Furthermore, resourcing was also a challenge. Because Unilabs is not a technology company and only has a small team of 2-5 full stack developers, mainly focusing on the back-end, they needed a fast, easy to implement and easily adaptable software.

Swing to Vaadin

Unilabs Portugal chose Vaadin as the main tool for creating the UI, as they were able to write everything in Java with an easily adaptable and secure software, where they did not have to concentrate on any front-end languages.

Unilabs Portugal started developing their desktop application, ARA, back in 2006. In 2010, they decided that it is time to move to the web and migrated to Vaadin 6 from Swing, after four years on desktop. For them, it was crucial not to have to touch JavaScript, CSS or HTML. In 2018, a decision was made to migrate directly from Vaadin 6 to Vaadin 10, which proved to be more difficult than expected as Vaadin 10 was still in beta and the documentation was yet being developed. However, with the help of Vaadin’s experts, the migration was a success. Unilabs Portugal later decided to move to Vaadin 12 and are now in the process of updating to Vaadin 14, as it is the newest long-term supported version.

In 2018, when Unilabs started their migration to Vaadin 10, they requested one expert to join the team for a week in Porto, Portugal, for the kick-off and application development guidelines definition. After that, they continued with Vaadin consulting services provided remotely from Turku, Finland.

Added functionality with less code

Today the application is a crucial part of Unilabs Portugal’s daily operations and the 900 points of care using it.

Two million customers per year, which is 20% of Portugal's population, are being served through ARA and the number will likely also grow over the years to come.