CFE Laguna Verde Case Study

The Federal Electricity Commission (CFE) is a company created and owned by the Mexican government. It generates, distributes and markets electric power for almost 34.2 million customers. This figure represents almost 100 million people. The CFE incorporates more than a million new customers every year and is home to the only nuclear power plant in Mexico. CFE uses WebORB for Java to develop and power an application that automates and optimizes procedures and processes, so workers are more efficient at doing their jobs.

Business Situation

The CFE- Laguna Verde Nuclear Power Plant (LV) has been recognized worldwide, because of its performance, competitiveness, safety, reliability, environmentally friendly, innovations and continuous improvement. Using nuclear fusion technology, Laguna Verde generates close to 1300 MW. In order to achieve such goals, every department at LV must work at its most optimum best. LV's IT department is relied on heavily to develop software that:

  • provides real-time information about the status of two nuclear units;
  • manages internal processes to ensure quality of service and proper functioning of the CFE-LV assets.

Application Overview

LV has developed several projects using WebORB, but the one most documented is named SECONEX. This project was built with Adobe Flex on the front-end and WebORB for Java on the back-end. WebORB was used to integrate an IBM Informix database with a Flex client.

SECONEX manages the flow and control of order requests used primarily by the contracts and finance departments at LV. It automates and optimizes the performance of procedures and processes within LV to reduce paperwork and enable a more efficient and productive electronic workflow. SECONEX integrates with LV's corporate ERP application, as well as, MySAP for effective business process management.

Problem Definition

The LV IT team was using Flex with Cold Fusion and some Delphi residuals, but found that they couldn't use Flex to its fullest potential in this configuration. The goal was to integrate older technologies with newer technologies, but after some initial coding tests the team realized that they would have to write far more code using Flex with Cold Fusion than Flex with Java. This was something the team could not live with, given the large scope of the project. The team needed to conserve cost and time wherever possible.

The Solution

LV chose WebORB for Java over BlazeDS, because the product was so easy to install and begin developing with. The team was also impressed with WebORB's serialization and integration with Java. In fact, Software Engineer Jose Carlos Onofre Huerta stated, "I didn't expect development to be this fast. WebORB is a powerful tool that sure makes life easier." 

One thing the team did early on, which helped them choose WebORB was a code comparison test to see how many lines of code they could save using WebORB as opposed to Cold Fusion and BlazeDS (LCDS was not even a consideration due to cost). The results were significantly in favor of choosing WebORB.

Features & Benefits

The WebORB features used and benefits received include:

  • Developer Productivity Tools - the team used the Service Browser quite extensively. This allowed them to view and test their Java code in parallel with developing the user interface, without loosing any time. This saved them to complete both client and server-side projects at nearly the same time and saved the team about three weeks of development time for each project.
  • AMF Remoting - remoting is a fast binary protocol for moving data between client and server. Since Cold Fusion already supported remoting, the move to WebORB's remoting was quite easy.
  • Extensibility - WebORB's extensibility made it easy for LV to interface with the corporate ERP system and MySAP.

Solution Stack

  • WebORB for Java
  • Adobe Flex
  • JBOSS
  • IBM Informix