Columbus was built in Visual Studio .NET 2003 and was originally designed to be distributed to customers via CD. A new install was created every quarter with the current parts and prices. From its first release it became the most popular parts catalogue in the industry and was usually the first place Engine Re-conditioners would use to source their parts.
Many features where added over time including the ability to get current prices, stock availability and images using web gateway. It had many ways to help the user find the parts and buy stock.
The main screen allow the user to find parts using the make, model and/or engine of the car they needed parts for:
Once they selected an engine they are presented with the Engine screen that display’s all the parts and details for that particular engine:
The engine parts catalogue also provided engine kits which could also be purchased from the catalogue:
The Catalogue had other methods to find parts such as searching for the part itself:
And also the actual individual stock items:
Also some parts where broken up into specification lists and could be displayed and purchased from the different types of lists:
If items are purchased they get added to the shopping cart which can used to purchase the products either via the web gateway or printed and faxed to the supplier. The catalogue would even let the customer print out a Quote based on the information within the catalogue using the customers own Logo and margins on the stock:
All screens in Columbus had the option to print and print preview. I built a dynamic report that would gather the data from the forms and design the report based on the form design. This meant any new forms that where added didn’t require any extra effort to create a print option for:
I also added plenty of calculations to the engine parts catalogue that where used by the engine re-conditioners to carry out their work:
To keep up with the constant change of data and features an on-line update tool was created that would download new data and files for the catalogue. A simple scripting language was created to allow the flexibility to change what items are updated and how:
The system had many settings to allowing many different types of customers to use the product catalogue:
This system is still in use today and I believe still the best in the industry if you know any engine re conditioners then they should have had some experience with this software.